Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hampton Plantation State Park

The Rutledge family home is only open for tours
The grounds at Hampton are well-maintained
Old plat of the rice fields of Hampton Plantation
The Avenue that Archibald Rutledge planted circa 1937
Situated along Wambaw Creek in the Santee Delta, Hampton Plantation is preserved now as a state park. Best known as the former home of Archibald Rutledge, the mansion is open to the public for tours on certain days of the week. The grounds of Hampton offer a look into mature pines and live oaks, the kind that have marked a homesite for a long, long time. The history of Hampton involved the rise and fall of rice culture, and later the sporting tales of Archibald Rutledge, which would forever label the Santee Delta as a mecca for wildlife adventures. The road leading to Hampton offers a stark reminder of the dangers of wildfire - since a large swath of privately-owned acreage was blackened over 6 months ago. The pine trees have now been clearcut to salvage their timber value, which also ensures that insects will not invade the already stressed ecosystem. The open acreage has been re-planted in native longleaf pine trees which will restore a natural beauty that visitors will enjoy on their way to Hampton Plantation. Archibald Rutledge was also an avid gardener and he gathered native plants and trees from his property and transplanted them into the yard. Dogwoods and Holly trees line the driveway, offering a look at the softer side of the Bard who wrote this poem entitled "The Garden I Made."

Whenver I think of life's light that must fade, the gleams and the glow that must pass in the shade, when hopes that I had now but leave me afraid, with joy I remember the gardens I made.
The redbuds and dogwoods I planted will grow, the flaming azaleas will blossom I know, the chaliced syringa's wild beauty will snow, when I shall be one with the long, long ago.
The glimmering gardens, the wildflowers wan, the red rose, the lilly as white as a swan, the garden I made will keep blossoming on when life with its fevers is faded and gone.

For a past blog entry about coastal state parks click here.

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