Day 183: Tour the historic grounds of Pebble Hill Plantation

3 Jul

The grounds of Pebble Hill Plantation, with expansive green lawns, rainbow-colored gardens, grazing horses, neatly manicured shrubs and low-slung Spanish moss, are so beautiful you can easily forget it was once a plantation that owned slaves. The curators of Pebble Hill, which is now a large museum, like to gloss over that part of Pebble Hill’s history. It was built sometime in the mid-1800s and, given what we know about Southern farms, surely had slaves. After the Civil War, and a series of different owners, Pebble Hill employed many of the descendants of the former slaves. (I know this not so much from the Pebble Hill museum, but from the Jack Hadley African American History Museum in Thomasville.) One reason the slave bit is not mentioned very often at Pebble Hill is because it is restored closer to the early 20th century version of Pebble Hill, which includes a lovely white-column mansion that you can tour for $15. The owner at that time was Kate Ireland, and then her daughter Pansy, who died in 1978. Both are described as horse and dog lovers, hence the abundant references to those animals throughout the house and lawns. The house is lovely to tour, with loads of interesting details about life of the well-to-do in the early 20th century. A tour of the grounds, which costs $5, is equally enchanting, and includes a peek at some of the vintage vehicles Pansy (or more likely, her driver) drove around town. It is said that a good many successful, famous people were guests at Pebble Hill, including former President Jimmy Carter. Pebble Hill has become a popular spot for weddings, which is completely understandable given the breathtaking views of magnolias and dripping Spanish moss. There is something about Pebble Hill that appeals to all of our fantasies about Southern charm and hospitality. It is definitely worth a visit and you will learn a great deal about not just that plantation, but a good snapshot of the area’s history. I only wish they had a bit more information about what the plantation was like during the slave years.

Address: 1251 U.S. Highway 319

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