Hidden in South Carolina: The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Written by
Jason Barnette
Posted on
July 10th, 2014
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Called the “Forgotten Founder”, this national historic site is almost a forgotten part of the Charleston Lowcountry. Tucked away in a small corner of nearby Mt. Pleasant, the historic site is centered around Charles Pinckney’s coastal plantation. But who exactly was Charles Pinckney, and what can you do at this historic site?

In short Charles Pinckney was the 37th governor of South Carolina, a United States Senator and Representative, and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Despite his long and distinguished public service record you don’t hear his name all that often. In fact hardly ever at all. It also doesn’t help that the national historic site is across the street from the much more popular Boone Hall Plantation, ensuring people are always looking the wrong way (I passed the entrance twice because I was distracted by the Boone Hall entrance).

The porch has a few rocking chairs and yes, you are allowed to sit back and enjoy the peacfullness here.

The plantation farmhouse is the primary building of the historic site functioning as the visitor center and museum. Inside are several exhibits, artifacts, and loads of information about life on the plantation and history of Pinckney. A few films play throughout the day ranging from about ten minutes long to nearly a half an hour, depending on your level of interest and how much you want to avoid the summer heat and humidity.

The open grounds of the historic site feature an easy 1/2-mile hiking trail from the plantation house past some archaeological remains and through a small wooded area. It’s a nice and leisure hike especially in the fall and spring months.

This massive oak tree was along part of the 1/2-mile trail at the historic site.

It’s a small park, there isn’t much to do, and it’s nearly forgotten on the northern end of Mt. Pleasant about thirty minutes from downtown Charleston. But it’s still an important piece of national and state history. And it gives you a chance to earn another stamp in your National Parks Passport.

At the very least stop by one day when you’re visiting Boone Hall Plantation and chat with the friendly rangers. They’re always eager and willing to answer questions and sometimes they’ll walk you through the exhibits inside the museum.

Interesting note: if you’re in downtown Charleston or heading toward Fort Sumter across the harbor look out for this small abandoned island fort. This is Castle Pinckney, named after the Forgotten Founder, and it’s been abandoned since near it’s original construction in 1810.

1254 Long Point Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC | 843-881-5516 | www.nps.gov/chpi/index.htm | Admission is Free

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