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5 Historic Gullah Homes to Visit

Love historic homes, travel and southern design? You should explore these 5 Historic Gullah homes for your next road trip. Full of rich history and classic southern architecture, these coastal homes are a great way to learn more about the rich African American history of the Lowcountry.

5 Historic Gullah Homes to Visit

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King Tisdell Cottage

Savannah, GA


Savannah’s King-Tisdell Cottage is dedicated to the preservation of African American history and culture. The cottage is named for Eugene and Sarah King, and Mrs. King’s second husband, Robert Tisdell, former owners of the cottage. It contains many interesting artifacts and is furnished with period pieces typical of a coastal black residence of the 1890s. The works of African-American sculptor Ulysses Davis (1913-1990) are featured here and at the Beach Institute.

Originally built on another site in 1896 by W. W Aimar, this handsomely restored Victorian center-hall cottage is significant for the intricate gingerbread ornamentation on the porch and dormer in the wheel and spindle pattern. The residence was scheduled for demolition in 1970, but a joint effort of the City of Savannah and the Historic Savannah Foundation saved the property, and it was moved to the current location.

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Seashore Farmer’s Lodge

James Island, SC


The Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767 (circa 1915) is significant as an illustration of the importance of fraternal orders in the cultural life of the lowcountry African American community in the early twentieth century. Lodges such as Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767 were, along with the church, the heart of the community. Communication and cooperation with other lodges in the area and annual lodge parades and gatherings helped cement ties with the wider African American community. The Lodge provided, as its creed mandated, support for its members and celebration of life with music and recreation. If a member “defaulted” at the end of a growing season or had other problems with a crop, the Lodge would help buy seeds for the coming year. The Lodge provided health and life insurance and current information on farming. If a member or a member’s family was ill the Lodge members would “nurture” them; they gave money if possible and provided assistance with the home and children. The Seashore Farmers’ Lodge also provided assistance, recreation and education for the community; they raised money for the local Sunday school, and hosted Vacation Bible School for the area children. The Lodge members were small farmers, bound together by familial and community ties. Members were mostly family members of original Lodge members and were mostly residents of Sol Legare, though some were from “over the pond.” Members brought their children into the Lodge. The Lodge rituals were typical of secret societies. In 1915, the members of the Lodge built a two-story building on land belonging to Henry Wallace, a member. The building has a lateral gable roof of raised-seam tin with exposed rafters, wood clapboarding, concrete piers, and windows with wooden full-panel shutters as simple openings. Listed in the National Register October 3, 2007.

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Hutchinson House

Edisto Island, SC


The Hutchinson House is the oldest identified house on Edisto Island, South Carolina associated with the black community after the American Civil War. It was the residence of Henry Hutchinson, a mulatto who, according to a local tradition, built and operated the first cotton gin owned by a black on the island from about 1900 to 1920.

Following the Civil War, Jim Hutchinson worked to assemble groups of freed blacks who would collectively purchase land on Edisto Island. Each contributor then received a fractional interest in the lands acquired. Jim Hutchinson’s children built their own houses on his portion; one of the children was Henry Hutchinson. Henry Hutchinson’s house is the only one remaining.[2] Henry Hutchinson is said to have built the house at the time of his marriage to Rosa Swinton in 1885, and resided here until his death in about 1940.

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Robert Smalls House

Beaufort, SC


The Robert Smalls House is a historic house at 511 Prince Street in Beaufort, South Carolina. Built in 1843 and altered several times, the house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974 for its association with Robert Smalls.

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Frances Jones House

Daufuskie Island, SC


One of the most historic homes on the island, this place started out as a one room dwelling built immediately after the Civil War and was home to the Mikel Family. The Mikel’s granddaughter was Frances Jones, the last full time resident of the house and one of the most important Gullah elders the island ever produced. You will be staying with renowned Gullah chef, cookbooks author and Daufuskie Island six generations born native and a student of Ms Frances and Pat Conroy, Sallie Ann Robinson.

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Gantt Cottage

Beaufort, SC


Located at the Penn Center, the Gantt Cottage was a landmark during the Civil Rights Movement, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference often met at the Penn Center. The center served as a rare retreat where members of both races could meet peacefully without being threatened or harmed.

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Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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