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

Otranto Plantation, Berkeley County (18 Basilica Ave., Hanahan vicinity)
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Hall Dormer
Servant's House

Architecturally, the house at Otranto is unlike any other surviving plantation house in the South Carolina lowcountry. The house is a one-and-one-half-story building, built low to the ground, a modified rectangle in shape, with an attached colonnaded piazza or porch on three sides. Exterior walls and columns are stuccoed brick. The gable ends have a low parapet with a course of brick as the cornice. Its construction date is undocumented, but it has been speculated that the house was constructed in the early Colonial period, because it is similar to early houses in Charleston. Mention of the house is made in a 1778 deed in which Dr. Alexander Garden conveyed the property to trustees for his wife and son. Construction of the house around 1790 is attributed to Dr. Garden, who bought the plantation in 1771. Garden was one of the most important scientific figures of colonial South Carolina. He was a leader in the fields of medicine, botany, and natural science, and the Gardenia was named for him. The plantation is first called Otranto, a literary name attributed to Horace Walpole’s gothic novel The Castle of Otranto published in 1764, in a deed of 1785. In 1934 a fire occurred, damaging a portion of the exterior and destroying the interior of the structure. The home was meticulously restored based upon photographs of Otranto Plantation before the fire. The yard contains a small frame servants’ house of undetermined age. Listed in the National Register February 17, 1978.

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