South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Otranto Plantation Indigo Vats, Berkeley County (S.C. Sec. Rd. 503, Goose Creek vicinity)
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The Otranto Plantation Indigo Vats are the only such structures know to be in existence in the state. The processing of indigo, for use as a dye primarily for textiles, became the state’s second largest industry in the last half of the eighteenth century. Extracting indigo occurred in a series of vats in which fermentation and settlement processes were accomplished. The indigo dyestuff vats at an industrial plant site consist of a pair of attached brick vats placed end-to-end; one vat is elevated slightly above the other. Each vat measures approximately 14 feet square and has a stuccoed interior. The upper vat, know as the "steeper vat", was used for the fermentation of indigo plants. The liquor produced by this process was drawn from the "steeper vat" through a small portal into the “beater vat” below. The liquor was agitated in this vat and allowed to settle. Water was drawn off exposing a sludge which was strained, molded into cakes, and dried. The Otranto Plantation Indigo Vats were relocated to their present site in 1979 in an effort to save them from demolition as part of the construction of a private housing development. The Verona Chemical Company, now Mobay Corporation, being a major dye manufacturing company, recognized the historical significance of the vats, purchased them, and in a technically complicated and expensive effort, relocated them to their plant site near Goose Creek. Listed in the National Register December 21, 1989.

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