Saturday, February 15, 2014

Friday 2/14/14 White Hall hunt club

Ridgeland; SC

     Dirt roads, gates, fences and no trespassing signs are like a magnet to me.  Perhaps one day this curiosity will get me in trouble, but I have found if one carries a camera and a clip-board most folks assume you have a reason to be there - or have enough of a doubt that they are willing to talk.  Conversation can be quickly turned to local history and soon you find yourself an invited guest with budding friendships. 

     Who wouldn't wonder what lies behind the gate show above?  Well, it is a private hunting camp established in 1910.  The property – an extensive tract of land was purchased by the chairman of Standard Oil, and has served as a gathering and hunting ground for his family and descendants since.  Log books record guests and significant events since.

     And as you can see, I had a rather enthusiastic greeting from a few of the residents.

     Most of the structures here were built and furnished prior to World War I.  Numerous generations of horses and dogs have been bred and raised here, and grounds-keepers have come and gone.  There are stories about some trees that were logged that still had live civil war ordinance in them that exploded while running the logs through a saw-mill, and finding cannon balls on the property is not that uncommon.   


     The cabins themselves are finely appointed, with spacious bathrooms, large living rooms and smallish kitchens.  There is a full cafeteria right next door though, so not much cooking is done in the cabins. 

     Among centuries old live oaks on the main property stands the finest specimen of a magnolia tree I have ever seen.  The cabins were built from logs milled on the property. 

     I counted thirty odd hound dogs and at least two dozen horses.  I am told that each year quail are purchased and released for the various parties that come here to hunt, and many fields are planted with the quail's favorite plants in an attempt to keep them hanging around for the next hunting party.

    Tomorrow I am meeting with one of the grounds-keepers who is going to take me back to the earthworks constructed here during the civil war.  And I am looking forward to being in Beaufort Monday when it won’t take a twelve mile journey through dirt roads to reach internet !!

Have a great Saturday !!


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