Eldorado Plantation, SC

The Eldorado ruins are located in Santee Coastal Reserve in McClellanville. We reached the reserve on a cold Saturday in January 2022. We first drove around the Clubhouse and marveled at the beautiful live oak trees lining the grounds. The reserve, covering 24,000 acres was established by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR) in 1974. There is a campground, several hiking trails, miles of dirt roads for biking /hiking as well as hunting opportunities for deer, wild hogs, waterfowl.

We parked at the entrance to the 1.6-mile Eldorado trail and hiked the loop. I was disappointed to not find information about the ruins on site. My online research revealed that the 1797 plantation was designed and built by Rebecca Brewton Motte and her son in law Major General Thomas Pinckney Sr. (1750-1828) who was the governor of SC in 1787-1789. Thomas Pinkney Sr. entertained president James Monroe at Eldorado in 1819. The house survived the civil war only to burn completely in 1897 due to a chimney damage caused by the earthquake of 1886. In 1950 the property was purchased by the Santee Gun Club, then in 1974 by the Nature Conservancy who donated it to the SC DNR to establish the Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area.

References: SC DNR page, South Carolina Plantations, Wikipedia, Thomas Pinckney Sr., Trail map

Address: 220 Santee Gun Club Road McClellanville, SC 29458

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