One of the oldest homes still standing on Edisto Island was built by a king, withstood numerous hurricanes, and now faces a promising future. And it’s likely that many people have never even heard of it.
That home is the Hutchinson House, which is now in the care of the Edisto Island Open Land Trust (EIOLT), so that it can continue to stand for years to come.
To understand the significance of the Hutchinson House, it’s important to know the history of this home.
When former slaves gained their freedom after the Civil War, there was a group of individuals known as the black kings of Edisto. With their freedom, these “kings” prospered on the island and even owned their own businesses. It was a time of great success and provided many individuals with the first chance to own homes and businesses that catered to others in their community.
Henry Hutchinson, the man who built the historic house, was the son of one of these kings.
He built the house in the late 19th century next to the island’s cotton gin and made sure it had views of the fields and marsh for his wife. The Hutchinson House stayed in the family for a century, although much of that time it stood empty due to economic uncertainty and the trials that plagued the south after the Civil War.
Eventually, after generations had gone by, the descendants of Henry Hutchinson put the house and the acreage it sits upon on the market.
Anytime historic comes go up for sale on the island, there is a real risk that some of the history and natural landscape of the area will be lost to developers and commercialization. However, there is a diligent group on the island committed to preserving Edisto’s beauty, land, history and way of life.
When it went up for sale by the descendants of Henry Hutchinson, preservationists committed to maintaining the beauty, history and untouched nature of Edisto purchased the historic home.
Now owned by the EIOLT, efforts are in place to restore the home, which is in a severe state of disrepair. In January, students from the American College of the Building Arts will begin evaluating and researching the home.
To support the Hutchinson House and other endeavors by the EIOLT, take part in one of the many fundraising activities throughout the year.
Beautiful image by Ammodramus – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23813046