Auldbrass Plantation – designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (near Yemassee in Beaufort County, SC)


Auldbrass Plantation, sign at the main entrance
Auldbrass Plantation
East of Yemassee on River Road in Beaufort County, South Carolina

On 2 November 2013, I went on a self-guided walking tour of Auldbrass Plantation in Beaufort County, South Carolina that was coordinated by the Beaufort County Open Land Trust.    Auldbrass Plantation, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is only open to the public every two years – so the next opportunity to visit Auldbrass will be in November 2015.  It was such a treat to wander this amazing place – and to learn a bit about it’s history.  It was only a few years ago that I learned that there was a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed plantation in South Carolina, and what a thrill to find that it was just a short detour off Highway 17.

From the South Carolina Department of Archives and History:

“(Auldbrass Plantation) Old Brass was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright during the period between 1940 and 1951.  Wright’s design incorporated aspects of traditional plantation architecture with innovative structure and details.  His design, inspired by nature, reflects the natural environment of the South Carolina lowcountry characterized by cypress trees and live oaks draped with Spanish moss.  The main house is a long structure which appears to be an extension of the native landscape.  The structure is based on hexagonal modules which are joined to create various interpenetrating planes.  The slanting exterior walls of native cypress lumber are laid diagnonally and held by brass screws.  The slant of the walls at an 80-degree angle reflects the slant of the oak trees.  Located beneath the roofline are windows which feature an abstract design thought to have been inspired by Indian arrowheads.  A lantern roof is located above the main roof of the structure.  It features the arrowhead motif along its clerestory.  A the exterior corners there are abstract wooden sculptured versions of Spanish moss.  Extending from the ends of the structure, as well as encircling it, are concrete terraces which feature a hexagonal  pattern.  Included in Wright’s design for Old Brass are outbuildings that create a working plantation:  gatehouse, manager’s quarters, kennels, stables, and two caretakers houses.  All these outbuildings feature the diagonally-laid cypress walls at the 80-degree incline.  A guest house and storage building are also on the property, although not designed by Wright.  Listed in the National Register June 3, 1976.”

I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves, and below you’ll find links to more information about this remarkable place – and yes, mark the next time it’s open on your calendar now and remember to get your tickets on the morning of the day they become available – you won’t regret it.  (Side note:  I’ll be updating this post over the next week or so with additional information and photographs).

Auldbrass Wasn’t Rebuilt in a Day – New York Times

Auldbrass – Wikipedia

Old Brass (Auldbrass) – National Register of Historic Places Inventory — Nomination Form

Old Brass, Beaufort County – South Carolina Department of Archives and History

Auldbrass Plantations – South Carolina Plantations

Auldbrass Plantation (main home) – Library of Congress

Auldbrass Plantation (stables, etc) – Library of Congress – Auldbrass Plantation:  Beaufort, South Carolina

Auldbrass:  Frank Lloyd Wright’s Southern Plantation by David G. De Long

A Journey to Auldbrass