1846 – Florence, SC

Added to OHD on 5/30/17   -   Last OHD Update: 4/12/20   -   55 Comments
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National Register

1132 Francis Marion Rd, Florence, SC 29506

  • $150,000
  • 5 Bed
  • 2 Bath
  • 4000 Sq Ft
  • 2.94 Ac.
The historic Red Doe Plantation house was built in 1846 and comes with 2.94 acres. The grounds consists of several outbuildings and many traditional southern plantings. The home has the original heart pine flooring, moldings, doors and mantel pieces which are all still in place. The property requires total renovation and is located about 1.5 miles south of Francis Marion University. Could be used as a residence or for commercial use such as event venue or B&B. Some restrictions apply.
Contact Information
James F. Lyles, United Brokerage Services,

State: | Region: | Associated Styles or Type:
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55 Comments on 1846 – Florence, SC

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  1. Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments

    1901 Folk Victorian
    Chestatee, GA

    Thanks Noelle (and everyone else) for sharing!

  2. MaryBeth says: 64 comments

    Needs some work I guess. Could be a beauty

  3. anna stehling says: 17 comments

    Wow what a old beautiful house.I wish they had shown the old down stairs kitchen.

  4. Cheryl kay says: 23 comments

    Anyone know how long place has been empty? Or what that little building is in third to last pic? It has a porch almost like it’s a cabin.

  5. Rick H. Veal says: 46 comments

    Wow … a lot of work, but she could be a real Southern Belle once again!

  6. CharlestonJohn says: 1100 comments

    I thought you might be posting this one. You’d have to think there’s plenty of interest given the history, reasonable pricing, apparent decent condition, and good location. Just a mile south of Francis Marion University and maybe 10 minutes to Florence, there is plenty of employment and things to do nearby. Myrtle Beach is a day trip and the I-95/ I-20 interchange is 20 minutes away.

    As for the house, this is one of the best examples I have seen of the “Lowcountry” house form used for a plantation “big house.” This form is still quite popular today in the Carolinas and Georgia below the fall line with examples still being built. These floor plans are inverted with the main level formal rooms being on the second floor. The front steps lead up a story to the the veranda and the front entrance door. The first floor raised basement level houses the working rooms of the house and sometimes informal living space. The reason for this are to elevate the living areas to find “good air” in the stifling summer heat and humidity. In areas prone to flooding, the raised basement areas typically aren’t normally occupied space.

    Slideshow pics of what $105k in grant money bought three years ago…

    Link on the SC Plantations website – good resource for most of the notable and/or extant plantation houses in SC…

  7. Flowerlady says: 80 comments

    Why did the preservation group give up on it? Could have been a wonderful tourist site.

  8. Cypress is a very unique wood, it will NEVER EVER ROT unless you paint it. When you close the pores of the wood it will start to rot from the inside out just as these columns have done. It surprises me that this knowledge of cypress is not known to most preservationist (or this person in particular). It is expressly why you do not see paint on old cypress houses, especially in high humidity climates as the south. Poor old place……..ten years from now she will have the same old problem of rotting columns and cypress is probably one of the most expensive wood species in the south. People……..stop painting cypress! Cypress needs to breathe. That said, she is outstandingly beautiful and the very essence of southern charm. As a norm southern houses didn’t use plaster walls after realizing that they “sweat” in the high humidity, another reason why a southern person would not have used wallpaper in there homes, they had a painter stencil or paint scenes on their walls. There must be a ton of lime in that plaster which is probably a blessing or the house would have been eaten up by termites. Cher baby……..

    • julie says: 50 comments


      • John Shiflet says: 5363 comments

        SD Sullivan,
        Interesting information you’ve shared about Cypress. I have noted during visits to Louisiana that some of the 200 year old Creole/”Cajun” cottages were clad in Cypress but left unpainted during their many decades. As you noted, the wood seems impervious to rot and insects. In my limited experience with Cypress I have seen many painted examples, especially clapboards. In this 1891 Roberts Millwork catalog from New Orleans, (Internet Archive) https://archive.org/stream/IllustratedCatalogOfMouldingsArchitecturalOrnamentalWoodWork/MouldingsDesigns0001#page/n3/mode/2up their millwork products were also offered in Cypress so it seems at least some suppliers believed back then it was OK to paint them. (with period lead oxide/linseed oil paints) I do know that Cypress is a very soft wood and absorbs paint well. My experience with “Southern” houses has been that they did have plaster walls, especially in grander homes and it seems that the cost of construction had more to do with plastering the walls rather than cladding them in wood planks (or beaded board) You are right in that stenciling was common in the 19th century in Southern homes but so were wallpapers pasted over muslin cloth tacked onto wood planks (Shiplap) with a zillion tacks. I have seen a fair number of old wallpaper delaminations but it was difficult to ascertain if that was due to high humidity or from advanced age. As far as rot on columns and porch parts generally, their extreme and constant exposure to the elements almost guarantees they will not last many years no matter how well painted or how durable a species of wood they were made out of. Victorian porches, which were usually made out of choice, old growth, woods, still lasted only about 40 years before some of the elements required replacement. That perhaps helps to explain why so many mid-19th century porches had new Classical/Colonial Revival replacement porches changed out around the turn of the last century. I’ll have to read up more about Cypress and how painting it might not be a wise decision. It’s commercially available in very limited quantities where it grows and is harvested.

      • Sdsullivan54 says: 12 comments

        Cypress grows in the swamp, when it is harvested, in the old days, it was left in the water sometimes for decades. The columns are showing signs of decay because you should never paint cypress if you use if on the exterior most especially. The wood is so beautiful I can’t imagine anyone painting it; they make other sealants for wood. Painting cypress houses is a 20th century fad, not so much that people couldn’t afford paint. People who owned this BIG old houses could afford paint, believe me…..most plantations that survived the Civil War didn’t necessarily survive the “carpet baggers” (Northerns, no insult, just history) that raised the taxes on this old places so they could buy them dirt cheap, it was only a few families that survived that. Then being from a northern climate, habits are what they are……here enters paint and wallpaper. I agree with you Mr Shiflet (I used Mr. as a very high respect not insult, if I ever purchased an old house, I would beg, borrow and steal just to have your advise, sorry I digress) that wallpaper was used but it wasn’t over plaster, it was over wood boards, again, just fashion, plantation owns had artist paint the walls to look like wallpaper. So much more expensive….showed off their wealth, far more durable in this climate and lasted a LOT longer. It doesn’t take much imagination to guess why southerns didn’t explain this to what they considered “outsiders”. They were probably hoping to still be alive to watch that house rot and fall in on top of them, again just history. I’m was born and raised (mostly) in Louisiana, cypress is well known to natives of the south. I’m no spring chicken and I have family that will not speak English, we love love love tourists, yeah Cher, Bon Ton roulette, come pass a good time and spend your money here. Just saying……habits don’t always make a practice a good practice. The most dangerous phrase a person can say down here is “We do it this way because that is the way it’s been done for years”. How many years is the question……..

        I would love to have this beautiful old place, asking price is too high for the amount of work involved even if you are highly skilled and talented. Boy…….I wouldn’t mind trying even if it killed me and broke me financially, it would be a beautiful place to live out your life and die and be buried in the family cemetery. South Carolina is just a tad bit far to drive to visit grand babies but it is a nice dream. Wish it was in North Louisiana or North Mississippi, closer and a little bit cooler!

        • I am trying to maintain our old family farmhouse up in Marlboro County, not too far from Florence. The back of the house dates to the late 1700’s. A breezeway and large front addition was added in 1820 by my ancestor, Jesse Bethea. It has many similarities to this place, like floors and ceilings. The trim around windows and doors is not as fancy. I had the siding replaced last year. It had the original cypress siding after 200 years! However, it was in very bad shape. It had been repeatedly painted and the paint did not last more than 5 years regardless of the quality or quantity used. The wood had curled and rotted and the house was not well insulated. It is true that swamp cypress resists termites, but we found extensive wood bee damage. When we pulled off the siding, we were looking at studs and the back side lathe of the plaster walls. Some kind of nasty insulation had been blown in at some point, which we pulled out. I installed “pink panther” insulation, OSB board, felt, primed cement fiber siding and finally painted it with a moisture resistant paint from Sherwin Williams. You may want to scream at me, but I needed something that would stand up to the insects, heat, humidity, and generally horrible weather there and I could not afford cedar siding (which I have on my house in Oregon). The swamp cypress was called ‘fire starter wood’ by the contractors and it went into a big burn pile. Folks stopped by and hauled a good bit of it away for hog killing that was underway in Oct/Nov. I have a picture of the house from about 1850 and it was painted then so I imagine it was painted from the start. The plaster walls have never seen wallpaper. It was a big farmhouse and the wood was milled off of the property so nothing fancy.
          I would like to show you a picture but this site does not let me. I have enjoyed reading the comments. Cheers.

  9. Anne says: 210 comments

    This is a wonderful, beautiful old raised plantation house. I have been checking on this structure regularly for over two years, even kept it from burning to the ground after Mathew knocked the live electrical feed off the side of the house! Hot wires laying on the ground, exposed! So called the electric company and they came and disconnected it, so thankfully it is still with us!
    The house is and “L” shape with an exterior back staircase which is out side of the main house and leads up to a truly wonderful, wide back veranda. There are doors leading from the back veranda into the kitchen, and a door to the entry hall as well as each room has a door leading onto the second story veranda. There is no internal staircase between the upper and lower floors. It is not a large house. Basically two large rooms on each side upstairs. Facing the front on the left side is a parlor, then a small hallway (where there was a bath at one time) on left of the fireplace leads to the back main bedroom. There is no functioning bath upstairs, as it was removed at one point. Facing the right side from the front, is a dining room and behind the kitchen, which has had what appears to be a stove fire at some point as there is smoke damage in that room. There is a lovely, wide center entrance hall, with the rear having a door onto the back veranda. The down stairs, being the servants quarters, has a concrete floor, which I belive was place over the original brick floors. There are nice fireplaces both upstairs and down. This last winter has not been kind to her with Mathew doing much of the damage to,the exterior paint(what was left) and there was some vandalism as well. More windows broken out and doors torn off. Most of the original door harware, incuding nice strap hinges is intact. The shutters for most of the exterior windows have been removed and are stored downstairs. The moldings are intact, as well as the wainscotting upstairs. The small structure in the back was an old office, and the last small structure with the windows was a green or summer house kitchen.
    There is and old barn, part of which has collapsed. A lot of the old wood from other downed structures on,the property is still on the property which is a huge plus.
    This structure is certainly able to be saved, at this time the interior plaster is mostly intact and can be renovated with some elbow gease. The upstairs is in good shape as the roof was replaced as well as all the front pillars and a couple of the rear ones in 2015. Some structural work was done on the back of the house to stabilize it as well at the same time. The back staircase is in need of work. The downstairs needs considerable renovating. There is no HVAC and will need wiring and plumbing and baths, not sure there is even a working or permittable septic. So it will be a LARGE labor of love but in the end will be simply a beautiful place to call home. I hope someone who truly loves this style of architecture purchases it and gives it back it’s life!

    • Sunflower & Poppy says: 50 comments

      How great that you are able to check up on it periodically — thank you for caring so much to save it and sharing this valuable information with us! From what I can see it really is so beautiful and such a fantastic setting too. It looks as though (from the Streetview) it has some nice old trees — I was wondering if perhaps there is still any remnants on the ground of a garden at all? As a garden historian I’m always a bit curious about this aspect. Sometimes archaeology can turn up fascinating information regarding the history and the everyday life of the former occupants!

  10. SeanSean says: 160 comments
    1928 Spanish Revival
    Long Beach, CA

    Thanks for the great eyewitness information Anne!

    As someone who appreciates the beauty of age and decay… I absolutely LOVE the interiors! It would be interesting to try to save the interiors as they are (fixing weak floors, walls, electrical, plumbing, etc.) and then making sure the exterior is weather-proof and not prone to more decay and damage.

    Once finished, I’d fill it with rich eccentric furnishings to give it a Bohemian flair.

    Ahhhhh… I needed that daydream after a long day at work! LOL!

  11. Lindsay G says: 578 comments

    Some of those photographs look like straight up paintings! I think there’s true beauty in the deterioration of this magnificent home. I’d keep everything the way it is (granted it would have to be safe to walk around in) just so I could photograph every square inch of it.

    I’m also in love with that cast iron fence in the front! What a beautiful crumbling piece of art! ??

  12. Pookha says: 138 comments

    So, a house named after a horse. I see a lot of $$$ attached to this, but it could be a darling again. I’d probably opt for the eccentric auntie restoration.

  13. Srah says: 1 comments

    Oh, makes me want to buy a lottery ticket!

  14. says: 41 comments

    Absolutely fabulous. The perfect Southern home. Love her!

  15. StevenFStevenF says: 863 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1969 Regency
    Nashville, TN

    For such an old house, she looks pretty square. I don’t see a lot of sagging that you see in homes built 50 years later. I really like the graceful proportions of the rooms/windows and woodwork.

  16. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Hi Sean and All, actually the house is in remarkably good condition, even if it looks derelict. The upper floors are completely sound, althought the area where they ripped out the bath has some holes, and did I mention, OH THOSE 200+ year old Plus Heart Pine floors!!!, Which are in almost immaculate shape and have the most beautiful deep patina, they are truly spectacular to see, wide plank as well. It is sound to walk around in for sure. The floor joists and beams are huge, so the upper floor supports are very sturdy. the back Veranda has some “iffy” areas as well as those back stairs which definitely need attention. The lower floor, being on the ground is solid as well. The outer Office building is really rough, but could be fixed and would make a charming studio, office or just a guest bedroom.
    I encourage one and all to serriously think about purchasing this wonderful, beautiful structure.It is really a rare gem and just something abput its proportions are breathtakingly beautiful!

  17. JimHJimH says: 4950 comments
    OHD Supporter

    A video from 2007 with older photos and more interior views (and a gang of paranormal goons):

    The photos from before 1940 seem to show an unpainted exterior, before it was called Red Doe and then painted white.

    • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 11893 comments

      1901 Folk Victorian
      Chestatee, GA

      I liked the unpainted exterior better, looks more “aged”. Can’t wait for the next owners to restore, it’s going to be amazing (hopefully)!

      • RosewaterRosewater says: 6048 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1875 Italianate cottage
        Noblesville, IN

        Yeah, the weathered looks wins for sure! I’d say the new owner should have naming right’s. Something more appropriate would certainly suit this fine old place better than some 1940’s horse. How about “Purple Squirrel”? 😉

  18. kalani says: 46 comments

    This is a beauty! I love it- and could see photo shoots in here as is! Then do some strategic renovations and live here for life! As a Northerner- I never knew about Cypress (not to paint). What would you do to cypress columns? Whitewash??

  19. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Jim, a lot of the Old plantations were left un painted, before the War(WWII) and even after. Especially if they were abandoned by the families as so many were. Many families did’nt have the money or access to paint in order to paint the exteriors. It is not nescessarily a good thing to not paint them, as mildew, mold and algea grow on them and can cause dry rot. Termites also do get to them. They will eat the drier portions, not the parts which still retain sap, which many do for hundreds of years. Most of these old gals which have been fully and lovingly restored are now painted with a good high grade of exterior oil based paint, which helps preserve the boards from the high moisture content (humidity) and gobs of rain we experience here in SC.

  20. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Just another note on the gardens. Yes, there are some wonderfull old Rododendrons, azaleas and trees. Sadly the older oaks have been damaged by a couple of hurricanes, but are still standing and needless,to say need pruning badly! So yes, there are totally not just remnants, but living beautiful plants and foliage which are,crying to be taken care of. the grpunds at one time were,spectacular, and could be restored by loving hands.There is a lot of crushed oyster shells on old walkways as well.
    As you can tell, I truly love this old gal!

  21. Janice Bradley says: 1 comments

    Here is a link that shows a lot more of the house if anyone is interested.

  22. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Kahlani, the new columns which were replaced in 2015, only had a primer coat in them, and the moistute has already invaded the wood, so some of the vertical join seams have begun to separate a bit, easily attended to, and in no way does it effect the integrety of the columns or structure. But this is an example if why it needs painting. If those columns been painted after being set, with a good oil based paint over that primer, that seperation would not have occured. The whole structure needs painting badly, and soon. Hope this helps answer your question.

  23. Jenny says: 147 comments

    This house haunts me — it is so beautiful. Just a perfect low country house.

  24. Cynthia Castleberry says: 16 comments

    This is a beautiful old home. It needs help but would be well worth the effort.

  25. Cynthia Wadsworth says: 16 comments

    If the floors are heart pine I would think the walls, etc. would be also. Heart pine does not rot and termites are rare IMHO.

  26. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Hello Cynthia, you are correct structure is heart pine, outer siding boards as well. However, heart pine can and does get dry rot, unfortunately. It also gets termites in dry areas of the boards. I can testify to both owning an 1860’s farmhouse which has same construction. I have a good friend who owns an 1810 Antebellum home and we both have had both dry rot and termites,,, 🙁

    • Cynthia Castleberry says: 16 comments

      Hello Anne, and I live in an old Greek Revival built circa 1846. No termites so far and one small area of dry rot in a beam. I am amazed at how it holds up. The one problem floor was the kitchen which had 6 layers of other floor on top of the original heart pine. It was a classic case of not being able to breathe and required replacing some of the boards. Again, they don’t build them like this anymore. That is why this house would be stunning. I am sure there would be some problems but overall I bet it is solid.

  27. Karen says: 956 comments

    I wonder how much land was originally part of the plantation. This house would go on my list of lottery houses!

  28. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Hi Charleston John, yes Im familiar with the ones you listed. Many of those were large land holdings big enough to become hunting properties. There are many, many more which were and are still held in the families or descendents of the original builders. There are some going to rot and ruin, as Red Doe has, and others lovingly maintained. There are quite a few of these scattered around the Midlands, and a bunch here in and around the Camden area. The reconstruction era was a diffucult one for the planter families, so many were sold durring that time.

  29. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Most of the land now is Francis Marion University. I believe they also owned it (Red Doe) at one time.

  30. Alice says: 64 comments

    So much potential here–the proportions in the rooms are gorgeous. I’ve never seen a home with this type of exterior. I know this didn’t happen, but it is almost like someone with a 1 story house was determined to recreate Tara and did it with the basement instead of a second story!

  31. Teri W says: 136 comments

    This is the restoration dream of a lifetime for the right person. I hope that person finds this, and that they blog about the restoration because you know we’d love to follow the journey! I hope in a couple years we get to look at this house and grounds in a beautifully restored condition.

  32. zilla says: 40 comments

    Apparently, the house was just recently given to the Palmetto Trust: See http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/south-carolina/abandoned-plantation-sc/

  33. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Zilla, that article talks about another property given to Palmetto Trust.
    Mike Beddenbaugh told me he was attempting to purchase it for an interested buyer but they have zero funds.

  34. Karen, loss of land prior to civil war could be one of several reasons…..gambling debts, poor management by descendants, husband dies prior to war that would mean widow would need to liquidate in order to pay husbands’ debts. Most creditors didn’t believe that a woman could manage an estate and most women had no interest in such, it was not “lady like” nor proper AND that was more important than money…….you could always marry money darling but you could never get your reputation back which would mean your children, grandchildren, ect. Could not marry well either. Class was very very important, a carryover from the old country. Tradition and religion were two things that never changed not even in the slightest. An expression we would use would be simply to say they were “cradle born”, to the Fench, that would mean something that will never change not even with time or money.

  35. As of today Palmetto Trust doe not list property on its wedsite……..bummer.

  36. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Shea, if you need more info or assistance after you view, you can contact me, annenduff@gmail.com
    There is also another beauty for sale up in Liberty Hill with a spiral staircase and more land for $150,000.
    Good luck, this Old Gal needs someone to love her back to life.

  37. Noelle says: 46 comments

    It’s off market on Trulia and Zillow and Pending on Realtor. It’s sold already?? I hope they sold it to someone who won’t ruin it completely.

  38. Anne Hamilton says: 210 comments

    Noell, says still active on realtors webpage, but who knows? Maybe webpage not updated, and what a “contingency” could be on this property is anyone’s guess!
    I think it has a lot of easements & restrictions on it, so that may take care of anyone messing it up.

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