It’s not every day that Edisto Island is mentioned in pop culture, but thanks to Bravo’s new reality show “Southern Charm” the island is getting a little screen time.
The show is about Charleston’s elite young residents and focuses on their filthy-rich lifestyles and moments of debauchery. Depending on who you talk to, the show is either the epitome of a guilty pleasure or the worst thing on the planet. For this blog’s purposes, the only part that matters is that one of the characters, Thomas Ravenel, owns Brookland Plantation on Edisto Island.
The Early Days
Like all of the old homes and plantations on the island, Brookland Plantation has quite the story behind it.
The original plantation house was built in the mid-1700s and was given as a wedding gift to Joseph Jenkins and his wife. Jenkins’ father owned the plantation at that time and had a home constructed upon the land so that it would be a suitable gift for his son and his bride. The weather-worn graves of Joseph Jenkins, his wife, and their infant son can still be scene on the grounds of the plantation.
During the early days of Brookland’s history, back in the mid-1700s, indigo crops flourished on the property. Around the time of the Civil War, the indigo crops were replaced with sea island cotton, which brought incredible wealth to the island.
In addition to the crops, a variety of structures have been constructed on the property over the years. The first main home on the grounds – the one built as a wedding gift – was lost in a fire. The current house on the property was built sometime between the years 1800 and 1807.
Over the decades, the plantation was sold a handful of times. During that time, it served as a private residence, home for wayward boys, and working plantation.
In 1958, the property was purchased by Rev. Ralph Wentling, who turned it into the Brookland Home for Boys. A decade later, the school for boys moved upstate, but remnants of the structure that served as the school can still be seen on the grounds.
After the school relocated, Brookland Plantation became a private residence again and fell into disrepair over time. In 2001, it was sold to a group of investors who restored the home. A few years later, Ravenel, a Charleston resident, purchased all 16.7 acres of the plantation and made it into his home away from home.
Live the Life of Rhett Butler (in weekly increments)
While most people will never get the chance to visit a private plantation, let alone stay in a home located on one, Brookland Plantation is available for weekly rentals and events.
The home features three bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, and sleeps eight. It features two kitchens, a basement-level recreation/television room, two docks that provide access to area creeks and the Atlantic Ocean, and acres of beautiful land that only Edisto can provide.
Rates vary, but Brookland Plantation can be rented through vrbo.com.
As for the reality show on Bravo, check it out to see scenes of Charleston, Brookland Plantation, and Edisto’s marshland. If you watch the show on mute (wink, wink), you’ll be sure to take in every element of southern charm the natural beauty that Edisto and Charleston have to offer.