Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site
Hello! I’m Nate Johnson, manager of Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site. Funny enough, I was not sure I
wanted to be a park ranger until I started the job. But in those first moments where I performed basic
parts of the job, I knew instantly I was where I belonged. It was interacting with visitors—conversing,
sharing thoughts and ideas, asking and answering questions—that most attracted me to being a ranger. That
is still the case today.
To me, one of the most special places in the park is a tenant house site along the Nature Loop Trail. Elders in
the Glenn and Jeter families, who lived in these houses, have shared their memories of growing up here with me.
Their experiences from almost 100 years ago are rooted in the land. It’s very evocative.
As a first-time visitor, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect while you’re here. Look across the landscape
and try to imagine all the people who walked this land and all the human dramas that unfolded here. Signs
throughout the park can help you imagine, and our ranger staff is friendly, knowledgeable and happy to assist.
**Our Ultimate Outsider stamp is located at the park kiosk near the parking area.
Debates swirled around slavery and divided the nation during William Henry Gist’s term as governor of South Carolina (1858-1860). These debates reached a turning point with anti-slavery presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln’s election, causing Governor Gist to declare: “The only alternative left, in my judgment, is the secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.”
Today, Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site is a place to learn about important themes and key events in South Carolina’s history: the cotton boom and its collapse, secession and Civil War, slavery and sharecropping, emancipation and the fight for civil rights and Reconstruction and its violent overthrow.
The site provides visitors with opportunities to discover these significant stories through the perspectives of people who lived at Rose Hill, including William Henry Gist and his family, enslaved people, freedpeople and tenant farmers.
Things to do at Rose Hill include touring one of the best preserved plantation homes of the South, walking the historic landscaped grounds and exploring an original brick kitchen. The site also includes short hiking trails through the forest and to the Tyger River.
Programs and special events are held at Rose Hill year-round. Find something that interests you! Don’t miss the other historic plantations South Carolina has to offer!
BY THE NUMBERS
historic mansion – home of “Secession Governor” William Henry Gist and his family during the 1800s
the year William Henry Gist became Governor of South Carolina
the approximate number of years that Rose Hill was an active cotton plantation, both during and after slavery
magnolia trees in the gardens at the front of the mansion and are thought to be nearly 200 years old and won the 2017 South Carolina Heritage Tree Award
miles of hiking trails
the year when the South Carolina State Park Service acquired the property
historic buildings that stand on the site today
acres – the historic site protects 44 of the nearly 2000 acres this plantation once totaled