Hawaii Plantation Tours

Go on a tour of some of the most prominent plantations in the exotic tropical island of Hawaii.

Discover the secrets, colorful history and products of Hawaii plantation farms.

Plantation Tours

“If you are looking for fun and interesting things to do on your Hawaii vacation, then you might consider visiting a plantation. Most of the Hawaii plantations have been around for a while, and when you visit the more historic ones, you can learn a lot about Hawaii history. The first sugar plantations in Hawaii were established in the 1830’s.” (Source: Destination360.com)
Here are some of them:

Dole Plantation

Dole Plantation should be in the list of places to visit if you are planning to go on a tour of Hawaii. This is where you will relish the total “Pineapple Experience.” The farm is situated along the thoroughfares from the state capital which is Honolulu to the famous community of Haleiwa. It is an ideal stop if you are traveling to or from Oahu.

Tourists can go on a tour to get a close look at the agricultural scenery and assortment of tropical produce. You can even witness how the fruit grows in the plantation’s pineapple gardens. Indeed, it can be an enlightening experience for visitors. Another trademark activity is the train tour dubbed as “Pineapple Express.” The old-fashioned train takes visitors on a thrilling 20-minute ride through farmlands and amazing panorama. It is also home to the Pineapple Garden Maze. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the biggest botanical maze in the whole world. The larger than life web goes through a 3.11 mile pathway.

The young James Dole came from Massachusetts to Honolulu where he bought 64 acres of land in the plains of Oahu in 1899. Dole tried several fruits and settled for pineapple in the end. This was just the start of his pineapple kingdom. Dole built two food canning factories in Honolulu and Wahiawa . The plantation-style abode eventually became a living museum.

Hawaii Plantation Village

This plantation village is a museum, garden and family destination. You can find Hawaii Plantation Village in the town of Waipahu which used to be a sugar plantation town. The outdoor museum shows off the lifestyle of laborers and day-to-day work in the island during the 1800s. Incidentally, the first group of Chinese workers arrived in 1852 and kept coming until after World War II. In 1947, the plantation ceased its operations. Workers from the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Japan, and Korea also worked at the sugarcane fields. The places flourished during the Plantation Era with approximately 400,000 laborers working in the estate.

There are refurbished camp homes, plantation merchandise store, sumo wrestling ring, and Japanese as well as Chinese temples in the village. You can also discover many historical objects which once belonged to some laborers. Guided excursions of the plantation have been scheduled from 10 am until the afternoon between Mondays and Saturdays.

You can reach Hawaii Plantation Village coming from Waikiki. You can take the H-1 highway beyond the airport and Pearl City going to Waipahu. Various attractions along the highway will certainly make your trip more enjoyable. One is Diamond Head Crater with the fairly rough trail, Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo, Oahu Golf Courses, and Pearl Harbor.

Kona Coffee Living History Farm

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

The 5.5 acre Kona Coffee Farm is located in Kona District right at the Daisaku Uchida Coffee Farm. It was developed at the turn of the 20th century. This so-called Living History Farm is also an open-air agro museum. It portrays the life and times of original Japanese immigrants from 1920 to 1945. The property was acquired by Daisaku Uchida. He migrated from Japan in September 27, 1906. Over 140,000 Japanese workers moved to Hawaii between 1868 and 1924 to work in sugar farms. Uchida started a family enterprise upon expiration of his contract.

Meanwhile, the pioneering coffee trader (Henry Nicholas Greenwell) was one of those who introduced Kona coffee to the rest of the world. Coffee plants were planted in Kona adjacent to the Kealakekua Church. These started to flourish and turned out as the most successful effort to raise coffee in the Island of Hawaii. Kona coffee was acknowledged during the World Fair in Vienna. It even garnered an accolade for excellence during the exposition. Awareness heightened due to the coffee’s superior quality.

The coffee farm tours take approximately two and a half hours through advanced bookings. The tour begins with the orientation at Greenwell Store Museum which is now the office of Kona Historical Society. It is around three miles south of the museum at the heart of the coffee belt. Visitors are shown around through the orchard where coffee is produced. There are plantings of papaya, avocado, citrus and macadamia nuts. After the stroll through the area, guests can visit the one-story farmhouse, coffee-processing mill, outhouses, rainwater tanks, and drying shed.

Hilo Coffee Mill

The Hilo Coffee Mill is the largest in East Hawaii. It is a one-stop shop and includes roasting, processing, retail, wholesale, dine-in (restaurant), and online sales. The mill is responsible for brewing up the resurgence of coffee in this part of Hawaii. The verdant rainforests of Puna, Hamakua and Ka`u are where some of the best coffees worldwide are cultivated. In fact, almost 6,000 acres of coffee trees were planted here during the latter part of the 19th century. After this period, sugar became a more gainful yield. The waning of sugar led to the rebirth of coffee farms.

Hilo started operations in February of 2001. It is positioned on 24 acres of mountainous terrain complete with viewing area. It was established mainly to assist small coffee farmers who wish to produce as well as process and market coffee worldwide.

Kauai Coffee Plantation

Kauai Coffee Company is the biggest coffee grower both in Hawaii and the United States. It has planted more than four million coffee trees on 3,100 acres. Kauai Coffee Company is a subsidiary of Massimo Zanetti Beverage (USA) and is one of largest coffee roasters in the country.

The authentic Hawaiian coffee estate grows, roasts, and packages the commodity. More so, it employs environmentally sustainable practices and concentrates on quality and consistency that customers look for.

Kauai Coffee used to be McBryde Sugar Company. It was among the first sugar growers in Hawaii during the 1800s. The makeover from the old enterprise to Kauai Coffee in 1987 is said to be the most significant and diversified agricultural project in Hawaii in the last 10 decades. However, the venture went through a serious stumbling block in 1992. This was when Hurricane Iniki ravaged the crop and caused $8.5 million in damages. Yet, it was able to make a remarkable comeback. In 1996, the harvest surpassed the total volume of coffee produced by the whole Kona region.

Kauai Coffee has channeled investments to coffee production and processing within the last 15 years. As a newcomer in the world market, it quickly gained the edge in coffee production through modern technology and accounts for ½ of coffee produced in the United States. It boasts of the most extensive drip irrigation coffee estate globally with 2,500 miles of drip tubes. The efficient configuration applies water and fertilizers directly to tree roots. Hence, spraying or dusting of stimulants is not used in the farm.

Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum

The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum is made up of six exhibition rooms together with open-air displays of plantation machineries.
The first is the Geography Room which gives details about the natural features and climate patterns of Maui. It illustrates how these factors shaped the progress of the sugar industry. Information is also provided regarding the irrigation system and set-up of deep wells in the plantation. The Water Room explains how water was fetched from windward hills of the island to the sun-drenched innermost cape. It underscores the resilience of workers who achieved this deed.

The Human Resources Room exhibits historical facts about pioneers who helped establish the modern sugar business in Maui. Visitors can see photographs, documents and relics to include labor contracts in Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian languages. The Plantation Room contains enthralling exhibits and images that reveal the richness of plantation life. There are household works of art, religious items and scale diagram of original camp houses. You can even request (by appointment) to see the maps of Maui Agricultural Company, Pioneer Mill Company and Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar plus the registry form for former camp inhabitants and their respective families. A video clip, “From Cane to Sugar” was produced by the award-winning film producer Edgy Lee to showcase the processing of cane to sugar.

The Field Work Room shows how farmhands worked. It also puts on view survey equipment, cane knives and lunch pails. Lastly, the Mill Room presents interactive demonstrations of the 1915 locomotive bell, sugar mill of Cuban make, and work-scale prototype of a cane crusher. Outdoor exhibits bring to view equipment used by plantation laborers like the trench digger (Cleveland J36 model) and Portuguese oven built during the twenties. There is also a huge cane hauler and tractors. One exhibit that you should not miss is “Claus Spreckles”, a historic locomotive that traversed the Kahului railways for 47 years. It conveyed passengers and transported sugar.

Mauna Loa Macadamia Plantation

More than 30 years in the past, Mauna Loa started honing the most desired nuts in Hawaii. This is the brittle Macadamia nut with a truly unique taste. With its perseverance, the Mauna Loa Macadamia Plantation was able to create a delicious selection of macadamia nuts which eventually extended to more than 12 flavors. The main office and processing plant are located near the mountain. It is south of Hilo (Puna District) in the big island of Hawaii.

The original Mauna Loa macadamia estate was created in 1946. After 10 years, the very first commercial crop was harvested. The visitors’ facility itself is a tourist destination. You can enjoy the self-guided tour of the processing hub that can be seen from the outside through a second-level walkway for safety and sanitation issues. Guests can purchase homemade macadamia ice cream from the big gift shop along with free samples of all flavor variations. Mauna Loa is situated at One Macadamia Road close to the town of Keaáu.
The company espouses sustainable practices. It is close to reaching absolute carbon neutral stage by cutting down its dependence on electricity generated through conventional methods. These involve specifically crude oil and coal products. The company has its steam generator at the principal production facility. It utilizes plant waste to produce electrical power in harvesting and packaging macadamia seeds.

Kahuku Farms

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

Kahuku Farms is the product of two farming families and bridges three generations in Hawaii. Offspring of the Matsuda and Fukuyama families relocated from Japan to Hawaii for the purpose of getting employed in sugar plantations way back in the 1900’s. Shinichi and Torie Matsuda grew bell peppers, papaya fruits, watermelon, and bananas in Kahuku during the Second World War. They were joined later on by another son, Melvin.

On the other hand, Masatsugu and Nora Fukuyama produced papaya, watermelon, eggplant, and cucumbers. A son (Clyde) came in 1965. Clyde and Melvin became very good pals and business partners. Both took to farming and even went to Australia where they stayed for one year to grow watermelons. This brought about the birth and merger of the Matsuda and Fukuyama Farms in 1986. The enterprise was responsible for creating the Kahuku Brand which concentrated on the production and distribution of fruits and vegetables from Hawaii. These were sold on a wholesale basis.

Their love for agriculture encouraged the long-time friends to diversify and share the wonders and bounties of farming with close friends and next of kin. The duo educated and shared their hands-on experiences to these people. Kahuku Farms was born out of this friendship and entrepreneurial venture. The farm became a vehicle for learning, enjoying and experiencing diversified agriculture.

Haunted Plantation Tours

Those with an interest in the supernatural and paranormal may enjoy going on haunted plantation tours. There are numerous haunted homes and plantations in the United States, and below you will find some of the most popular.

Myrtles Plantation

The agricultural estate is hyped as “One of America’s Most Haunted Homes.” There are allegedly 12 ghosts in this plantation. The talk is 10 murders were committed in this abode but records only point to the killing of a certain William Winter.

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Myrtles Plantation was constructed in 1796 by one General David Bradford. It was named Laurel Grove during that period. General Bradford was there alone for several years until President John Adams gave him clemency for participating in the Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion. His wife Elizabeth and their five children relocated to the estate from Pennsylvania. He died in 1808.

One of Bradford’s law students, Clark Woodruff married Bradford’s daughter, Sara Mathilda in 1817. The couple administered the farm for Elizabeth.

The Woodruffs had three kids. According to historical accounts, Sara and two of her children died in 1823. They were allegedly poisoned by a slave (Chloe) who was earlier caught snooping on the family. Chloe’s left ear was cut off and she was assigned to the kitchen which was a very low position. To regain the family’s trust, the slave placed oleander leaves in the cake. The toxic plant was supposed to cure the youngsters. This killed the two except for the third who was in bed and Clark who did not want cake. Chloe was hanged in the front yard, weighed down with blocks and thrown into the Mississippi River. However, there were claims that Sara and her two children died because of Yellow Fever. Notwithstanding the accuracy of Chloe’s tale, some locals allege that a black woman with green turban still haunts the farm.

Clark Woodruff sold the plantation along with the slaves in 1834 to Ruffin Gray Stirling and his wife Mary Cobb. The Stirlings remodeled the house extensively and renamed it The Myrtles. The couple had nine kids but five of them died young. Ruffin passed away in 1854 and left Myrtles to his wife. In 1865, Mary employed William Drew Winter to help manage the plantation as her attorney and agent. Winter married Sarah (Mary’s daughter). Sarah and William Winter lived there and had six children. The family sold the plantation in 1868 but bought it back after two years.

In 1871, William was shot and killed on the veranda of the house by one ES Webber. Sarah remained at the Myrtles until she died in 1878. Mary Cobb died in 1880. The plantation was inherited by one of her sons, Stephen. However, it was deep in debt so Stephen sold it in 1886 to Oran Brooks. Brooks sold it in 1889 until it was bought by Harrison Milton Williams in 1891.

During the early 20th century, the land around the main house was divided among heirs of Harrison. In 1950, it was purchased by Marjorie Munson who noticed strange things happening in Myrtles. The plantation was bought by James and Frances Kermeen Myers who operated it as a bed and breakfast. Frances wrote a book about Myrtles Plantation and named it as the most haunted house in the USA.

Oak Alley Plantation

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Oak Alley Plantation is located in the Mississippi River. The name came after a unique feature which is a passageway with canopy made from two rows of live oaks. The path extends from the house to Mississippi River. The hard wood is roughly 800m feet in length and planted during the early 18th century before the existing structure was erected.

The original name of Oak Alley is Bon Séjour Plantation where sugar cane was grown. Valcour Aime, acknowledged as the King of Sugar and one of the richest persons in the South, purchased this lot in 1830. After six years, Valcour swapped the property for a plantation owned by Jacques Roman, his brother-in-law. Roman built the mansion and finished it in 1839 making use of slave labor.
The famous slave at Oak Alley Plantation was a 38-year old Creole Negro named Antoine. He was a gardener and skilled grafter of pecan or edible nut trees. This master grafter produced a very thin pecan variety that could be broken using the bare hands. The “paper shell” hickory was later described as Centennial Variety and listed in the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. The pecan was awarded a prize.

When Jacques Roman died in 1848, the estate was handled by his wife, Marie Therese Josephine Celina. Unfortunately, she was not capable of managing the plantation and the estate became bankrupt due to her extreme spending. Her son, Henri took over in 1859 and struggled to turn around the family’s fortunes. The farm was not damaged by the Civil War. Nonetheless, it was no longer viable due to the end of slavery and economic displacement. Henri became debt-ridden so the plantation was auctioned by the family to John Armstrong for $32,800.
The succeeding owners were not capable of sustaining maintenance. Thus, the buildings were beyond repair during the 1920s. In 1925, Andrew Stewart bought the property and embarked on the home’s modernization. The Stewarts were the last owners to reside in Oak Alley. Andrew’s widow, Josephine left the historic estate to the Oak Alley Foundation when she died in 1972.

Last year, the foundation unraveled an educational exhibit, “Slavery at Oak Alley.” It is situated in six renovated slave quarters and covers the complete history of slavery at the plantation from the 1800s until emancipation.

The International Society for Paranormal Research sent a team to investigate Oak Alley in 1983. There were reported sightings of ghosts after the investigators employed psychics and used advanced thermal imaging camera equipment. Some of the spirits discovered in the plantation included a 14-year old girl, six-year old boy, women who managed the home, and some Confederate troops. A group of clairvoyants were even said to have seen a candle hurled across the manor’s dining room.

San Francisco Plantation

This elaborate manor is quite different from other plantation architecture and designs which are located alongside the Great River Road. San Francisco Plantation has a blend of architectural patterns and bears a resemblance to various structures. The estate was put up by a moneyed sugar planter in 1854. It lies beneath live oak trees which have been there for centuries. The mansion was adorned and furnished more than any plantation in the Southern part of the country. The house alone highlights remarkable hand-painted ceilings as well as some of the most superb antique art collections in the United States. There are old barns and sheds like the 1840 slave cabin as well as an 1830 school building.

There are stories that the 1856 structure is spooked by some of the former dwellers. One is a boy who cries at night and a girl who died after falling down the stairway. An old man was also reportedly seen on the roof and upper floor. The International Society for Paranormal Research also found out that this plantation is haunted. The ISPR team captured the phenomenon on camera and confirmed that the son (Charles Marmillion) of the original owner (Edmond) indeed haunts the plantation. Charles, who fought in the civil war tried to keep the plantation intact but died of lung illness in 1875. Another account states that one of the daughters of Edmond Marmillion died as an infant while the other fell from the stairs.

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

The Houmas was also called Burnside Plantation. It was built during the latter part of the 1700s while the main domicile was finished in 1840. The compound had eight buildings that sprawled on 10 acres of land. It was included in the National Register of Historic Places in September of 1980. Houmas was acquired by Daniel Clark of Louisiana who developed the property and erected one of first sugar mills along the river. In 1811, retired General Wade Hampton bought the entire estate including the slaves. He was one of the richest landowners and biggest slaveholder in the South.

Colonel John Smith Preston took over the property in 1825. In 1848, Colonel Preston’s young daughter fell seriously ill. The family transferred to Columbia in South Carolina where the girl died. The family did not go back to Houmas because of this tragedy. In 1900, Colonel William Miles and wife, Harriet, also lost their seven-year old daughter to sickness. She was buried in the family cemetery near the river. The great flood of 1927 washed away the graveyard and remains of those buried there. However, the spirits remain and people still see a girl wandering near the hall and stairway.

In 2003, an electrician working at Houmas House claims to have seen a girl of seven to 10 years going down the stairs. Two workers also saw a little girl dressed in blue with dark hair and blue eyes late in the evening. However, she vanished even before the two laborers were able to confront her. Even guests and tour guides witnessed this girl who disappears if someone tries to approach her.

Magnolia Plantation

Jean Baptiste LeComte II came to the place where Magnolia Plantation was built in the early 1800s. However, it was Jean’s son and his spouse, Julia, who transformed the estate into a farmland for massive production of cotton. The couple cultivated the forested area of 2,000 acres and grew cotton crop. The yield was profitable allowing them to develop an additional three plantations. From 1835 until 1850, several edifices were constructed. These were eight cabins made of bricks; blacksmith shop; general store; barn gin; and, slave hospital.

Magnolia Plantation was a steady source of cotton for more than 100 years. The farm technology was modern and consisted of cotton picker tractors as well as two cotton gin machines. One was steam-powered while the other was driven by mules. There was also an uncommon 11 x 30 feet wooden screw cotton press. The daughter Ursula and her husband Matthew managed the farm after their marriage in 1852.

The estate was full of black slaves. Many were tortured and punished for trying to escape. Leg stocks served as ghastly reminders of humiliation, starvation and public chastisement. A slave administrator was killed by the blacks for being too cruel and oppressive. During the American Civil War, these slave accommodations were used as confinement for Confederate soldiers. Some prisoners died due to suffocation and ill treatment.

Ghosts wander around the plantation, according to locals. Residents swear that to this very day, they can hear the blood-curdling screams of the murdered overseer. Likewise, an officer of the Union Army was allegedly poisoned and driven to insanity by some Confederate inmates. Witnesses reportedly saw the distorted face of a man near the window particularly during the full moon. Some of the soldiers were buried in shallow burial grounds. Apparitions can still be seen in this area.

Waverley Plantation in Mississippi

Waverly Plantation is located at Clay County in Mississippi and 10 miles east of the City of West Point. This antebellum residence was also owned by Colonel George Hampton Young from Georgia State. There was a time when Waverley plantation turned autonomous and produced its own supplies of meat, yard goods and energy. The mansion was beyond repair in 1913. However, it was renovated by the family of Robert Snow starting in 1962.

The property was abandoned for five decades following the death of William Young. Robert and Donna Snow worked hard to restore the plantation. When they first came, the thick vines hung around the four-storey domicile. The veranda flooring gave way while the marble footsteps were scattered around the spacious yard. The architectural magnificence of Waverly was brought back but the stigma of being haunted also emerged. The house itself is said to be troubled by agitated spirits.

One of the ghosts in Waverly Plantation is a young girl who was seen several times crying and shouting about her mother. Old citizens say that this youthful girl died in the 19th century because of an unknown medical condition. The other ghostly specters are a rider on a horse that come into sight occasionally as well as a soldier of the Confederate Army. Visitors swore that they heard boisterous sounds of music and laughter in the ballroom.

Alabama Plantations

Alabama plantations offer visitors a glimpse into the past, shedding light on the state’s history, culture and people.

These plantations in Alabama are not only about the historic agricultural estates but the families or individuals who owned and managed these farms. More importantly, studies regarding these plantation houses detail the black slaves who lived and labored here. On the lighter side, most of these farmsteads have become national historical landmarks. Up to now, tourists continue to visit the often renovated manors and farms.

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Out of hundreds of plantation houses in this state, there are several historic estates that merit a second look. Then, you will know the reason for these so-called historic consequences. Most of these plantations are listed as National Historic Landmarks that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

General Joseph Wheeler Plantation

This plantation has the moniker Pond Spring or General Joe Wheeler Home. It lies at the historic district of the Tennessee River Valley. This is at Wheeler in Alabama. The entire estate has a dozen noteworthy edifices which were put up from 1818 to 1880.

Pond Spring (1,760 acres in all) was developed by the family of John P. Hickman in 1818. They were among the first settlers of Lawrence County. After two years, Hickman had 12 family members and 56 slaves. In 1827, he sold the property to Benjamin Sherrod who brought along 300 slaves. Benjamin’s son (Felix) renovated the bigger dogtrot cabin which is now called the Sherrod House. The smaller house was used by the servants.

The son of Felix (Benjamin) inherited the plantation and married Daniella Jones from the Caledonia farm in 1859. However, Benjamin met an untimely death in 1863. Daniella got acquainted with Confederate Army General Joseph Wheeler who came from Augusta in Georgia. The two married after the end of the American Civil War and resided for four years in New Orleans. The couple returned to Pond Spring in 1870 and constructed a new residence close to the Sherrod Home.

Wheeler served multiple terms as Representative for Alabama starting in 1880 until retirement form the political world in 1900. Before this period, Wheeler even volunteered in 1898 for the Spanish-American War. The retired general was appointed by President William McKinley as Major General for a volunteer cavalry division and was given command of the unit including the Rough Riders of Theodore Roosevelt. The military officer also rendered service during the Philippine-American War a year later.

General Wheeler was made commander of the First Brigade under General Arthur MacArthur’s Second Division until January of 1900. The general was pulled out from the volunteer corps and commissioned once again as a brigadier general in the regular force. Wheeler finally retired in September 10, 1900 and lived in New York City until passing away in 1906.

Wheeler’s daughter, Annie returned to the plantation and lived there until 1955. The plantation was the property of the clan up to 1993 when it was donated to Alabama and put under the administration of the Historical Commission. Pond Spring is open to visitors from Wednesday to Sunday with designated visiting hours. It is closed from Monday to Tuesday and national holidays.

Oaks Plantation

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The Oaks Plantation is located in Colbert County. Sources say that the original log cabin was constructed in the 1700’s by a tribe of Native American Indians. There were plenty of oak trees on this terrain. It is also called the Abraham Ricks House, a planter who bought the 10,000-acre farm lot in 1808. Ricks and 30 other families moved to then Franklin County from Fairfax, North Carolina in 1822. The family stayed in the cabin for seven years while the plantation was being developed. About 300 slaves were employed in that estate.

The edifice was patterned after ancient Greek architecture. It consisted of huge hand-carved pillars that supported the covered entrance, stairway handrails, and engraved window covers. The house has numerous antique pieces that still exist up to this time. Construction of this abode was finished in 1832. The wealthy landowner also owned the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad. It was the first rail system in the Southern United States. It served as the primary mode of transport when sandbanks in the Tennessee River hampered traffic in the waterway. Since Ricks was a devout Christian, the man helped the slaves to worship and grow spiritually without meddling. The landlord was buried near the Lagrange Mountain in Alabama.

Right now, the Oaks Plantation maintains the exquisite flooring made of pine wood, splendid chandeliers and classic fireplaces that you can see in the different rooms. It can accommodate at least 200 people inside for different events. For instance, the black covered entrance leads to landscaped terrain where you can easily set up chairs, gazebos, pergolas, and other embellishments. There are spacious glass dressing rooms for parties and other special events.

Barton Hall

This plantation is also referred to as Cunningham Plantation. This pre-Civil war domicile was constructed for Armistead Barton during the 1840s close to Cherokee, Alabama. This white man fathered kids by a black woman (named Patsy) who worked as a kitchen helper for Armistead. This lady became free after the death of the landowner in 1847 through a probate grant.

The National Park Service has an interesting description for Barton Hall. “It is an unusually sophisticated Greek-revival style plantation house with small Doric entrance and limestone-paved rear courtyard. The interior contains a stairway that ascends in a series of double flights and bridge-like landings to an observatory on the rooftop that offers views of the plantation.” Barton Hall was proclaimed a National Historic Landmark in 1973.

Thornhill Plantation

This plantation is located in Watsonia, Greene County (Alabama). It was built in 1833 by US Colonel James Innes Thornton of Virginia. The manor house was designed by Allen Glover who was also responsible for planning Rosemount and Bluff Hall. This is a colonial type of residence perched atop a lofty hill and sheltered by regal trees. The dwelling overlooks an expansive stretch of abundant land. Slave laborers built this edifice sawing and carving fine lumber by hand.

The 2,600 acre property is surrounded by a formidable stone wall made of cedar and chestnut banisters. It was intended to shield the deer park. One of the favorite sports in this place was hunting. Situated in Thornhill Plantation is the Free Hope Church where the slaves used to worship. Colonel Thornton’s children attended the Saint Mark Episcopal Church which was four miles away. These kids were educated in a school that stood on the hillside and used as weaving/spinning facility for soldiers’ uniforms during the War Between the States.
This plantation was acquired through the Homestead Act.

“The Homestead Acts were several United States federal laws that gave an applicant ownership of land, typically called a “homestead”, at little or no cost. In the United States, this originally consisted of grants totaling 160 acres (65 hectares, or one-quarter section) of un-appropriated federal land within the boundaries of the public land states. An extension of the Homestead Principle in law, the United States Homestead Acts were initially proposed as an expression of the “Free Soil” policy of Northerners who wanted individual farmers to own and operate their own farms, as opposed to Southern slave-owners who could use groups of slaves to economic advantage. The first of the acts, the Homestead Act of 1862, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government (including freed slaves and women), was 21 years or older, or the head of a family, could file an application to claim a federal land grant. There was also a residency requirement.” (Source: Wikipedia)

This refers to160 acres of land where the house was built with the balance forestalled and a small portion of the area bought in the southern tip from Allen Grover. Thus, the plantation became a four-sided lot.

Colonel Thornton was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia in the 1800s. James had an elder brother by the name of Harry. The siblings studied law under the tutelage of an uncle, Judge Harry Innes of Richmond, Virginia. The Colonel became Alabama’s first Secretary of State and held this position for 13 successive years.

Forks of Cypress Plantation House

Forks of Cypress was situated at Florence in Lauderdale County. The plantation abode was designed by popular architect William Nichols who migrated from England to the United States. It was intended for the couple James Jackson, Sr. and Sally Moore McCullough. Nichols is known for early Neo-Classical architecture commonly found in American buildings in the South specifically state houses in Alabama, Mississippi and North Carolina. The construction was finished in 1830. The unique name came from the Big Cypress and Little Cypress Creeks that surrounded the property and came together in the vicinity of the main house.

Jackson was one of the pioneering settlers and planters in Alabama. The man was born in Ballabay, County Monoghan, Ireland and moved to Philadelphia in Pennsylvannia in 1799. Jackson joined relatives in Tennessee and become involved in the surveying business. During the 1814 land sale, the Irishman was part of the Cypress Creek Land Company and purchased huge lots in Lauderdale County. Jackson was one of the originators of Florence. The plantation owner became active in state politics beginning 1822 and served in the Alabama Legislature. In 1839, Jackson assumed presidency of the Alabama Senate but died the following year at the “Fork.”

Some of the ancestors of writer Alex Haley were slaves on Forks of Cypress plantation, and this served as a setting for his books, Queen: The Story of an American Family. The plantation was owned by Hugh Scott in 1935, and he, in turn, sold it to Rufus Dowdy in the 1940s who restored the house and grounds.

The agricultural estate was used by invading troops as a camp during the Civil War. This was the time when it was owned by the widow of James. The whole house was razed to the ground in June 6, 1966 after it was struck by lightning. Columns from the house and the family cemetery remain to date. It was placed under the National Register of Historic Places on October 10, 1977.

A mock-up of the main home was erected in 1983 right at the town of Florence in N. Seminary Street. It is five miles away from the actual location. Another replica was also put up in 2005 near the Natchez Trace Parkway in the County of Western Lauderdale. The building remains a private home which is not open to the public.

The Alabama Plantation

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According to archives, the hub of the Alabama plantation was a cluster of edifices arranged intentionally to sustain production and processing of products such as cotton. Of course, there is no plantation that remains a hundred percent intact today. But, there has been a lot of effort to preserve these agricultural estates.

There are several of these plantations such as “Preuit Oaks and Johnson’s Woods, both in Colbert County; Thornhill in Greene County; Spring Hill, also known as the John Fletcher Comer plantation, in Barbour County; Orange Vale in Talladega County; the Lewis Alexander plantation in Macon County, and the Webb plantation.” (Source: EncyclopediaofAlabama.org)

The matter of slavery is very touchy. Slavery has turned to tenancy. A lot of the old affiliations between landlords and workers persisted. “Yet gone were the comfortable profits that had sustained an expanding if exploitative economic system and built the columned houses of popular imagination. Eclipsed and challenged by the state’s nascent industrialization and growing economic diversification, the planter way of life—if not its aristocratic mystique—slowly waned.” (Source: EncyclopediaofAlabama.org)
What do all these mean?

The Alabama plantations include the General Joseph Wheeler Plantation; Oaks Plantation; Barton Hall; Thornhill Plantation; and, Forks of Cypress Plantation House.

These have a sense of history and moral values as well.

Useful Information About River Road Plantations

There are quite a few plantations by the side of the Mississippi that you can still visit to this day.

History will show that the Great River Road consists of state and community thoroughfares that follow Mississippi River’s flow through 10 of the country’s 50 states. These include Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. The Road goes further north to Canada and traverses Manitoba (Lake Itasca) and Ontario (Bemidji). It is not merely a sequence of highways but utilized for historical and tourism purposes. Road development started in 1938 with an independent commission for each state. All the 10 agencies collaborated with the Mississippi River Parkway Commission.

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Famous humorist-author Samuel Langhorne Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain wrote that during the late 19th century, there were numerous plantations by the side of the mighty Mississippi. African-Americans lived and toiled in these farms by the side of the river. These plantations used to be vital economic hubs and crops grown by the slaves were sources of income for the owners. The River Road remained essentially in one piece up to the 1920s although some large dwelling places were abandoned during the previous century. Massive dredging of the Mississippi waterway and industrial development also altered the character of the River Road.

There are several plantations that became very prominent during this time and should prove to be interesting for many people.

Destrehan Plantation

Destrehan Plantation is considered one of the oldest domiciles in the State of Louisiana. Construction of the agricultural estate started way back 1787 and finished only after three years. An emancipated Afro-American carpenter (Charles Pacquet) with six other serfs built the elevated home patterned after the West Indies Creole design. The orders came from a landlord named Robert Antoine Robin De Logny. This plantation was named after De Logny’s celebrated son-in law. Jean Noel Destrehan was the scion of Jean Baptiste Destrehan de Tours who was Royal Treasurer of Louisiana during the French colonization. Jean was married to Robert’s daughter, Marie Claude.
The house, barn and tool shed were constructed as part of the indigo homestead. Pacquet was compensated with one cow, a calf, hundred bushels of rice and corn, and $100 cash. The work contract between the two remains filed at the parish courthouse of Hahnville, Louisiana. Destrehan Plantation extends more than 6,000 acres to the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain. You can still visualize the scenario over two centuries ago. Family members hosted posh dinners in the main abode. Steam-powered vessels came from New Orleans carrying visitors and other merchandise while caretakers attended to beautiful landscapes. The slaves lived and labored at the back of the main residence.

A large oil firm used the house as a facility in the 20the century. This was the period when Louisiana transitioned from an agricultural estate to an industrial site. Destrehan Plantation is made up of a two-story building with open balconies on three flanks. The middle portion, which is the oldest, consists of brick pilasters on the ground and wooden posts at the upper level. A row of pillars surrounded the main unit in the past. You can find Destrehan Plantation at River Road, ½ mile east of the bridge. It holds a yearly Fall Celebration every November. There are also guided tours daily except during national holidays. Destrehan Plantation was registered in the National Register of Historic Places for architectural excellence and relationship with important events and personalities in the history of this State.

San Francisco Plantation

This cultivated area is the most unique and genuinely renovated in the River Road area. San Francisco Plantation earned renown for extravagant and elaborate paintings as well as some of the premium antique collections in the United States. The home was erected in 1865 and encouraged noted author Frances Parkinson Keyes to write the Steamboat Gothic. Paddle wheel steamboats ruled the Mississippi during the 19th century and until the early years of the 20th century. These quaint looking vessels controlled commerce and traversed the same route for more than 100 years.

The attraction has been described as “The Most Opulent Plantation House in North America.” It was refurbished in 1973 to bring back the stylishness of the 1860 epoch. In fact, archaeologists were commissioned to verify authenticity, specifically the hand painted ceilings along with artificial timber and marble finishes. San Francisco Plantation is visited by tourists from different parts of the globe. It was developed by the Marmillion Family in 1856 as a primary sugar plantation in Louisiana. The historic landmark went through a $1.3 million dollar restoration that began on May 4, 2014.

The famous agricultural estate was initially conserved through the initiatives of Mr. and Mrs. Clark Thompson. However, it is currently owned by the San Francisco Plantation Foundation which was primarily responsible for restoring the place to its old splendor.
San Francisco Plantation House has also been classified as a National Historic Landmark. It is situated along Highway 44 near the River Road. Providentially, the house did not sustain damages during the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. The notable farm is open for sightseeing with minimal fees from 10:00am to 4:30pm (March through October) and (November through February) except on major holidays
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Evergreen Plantation

One of the original German immigrants came to the West Bank of the Mississippi River in 1792. Pierre Clidamone Becnel, grandson of one of these settlers, put up a small log cabin in this neighborhood. A mansion was erected shortly after that. At Evergreen Plantation, there were two belfries used by the French as shelter for pigeons, kitchen, guesthouses and cabins for young boys. Evergreen also contained two rows of 22 cabins which were built for servants. The small buildings were not so sturdy so many of the structures did not last long.

These helpers supplied manual labor to maintain the plantations which flourished along the waterway. This was ahead of and after the period of deliverance. The conventional lifestyles of these people contributed immensely to the strong and diverse civilization of Louisiana. You can find 37 edifices in Evergreen Plantation. 22 of these are so-called slave huts. It joins historical sites like Gettysburg and Mount Vernon for attaining the greatest historic title in the country. Evergreen was accorded remarkable milestone eminence due to its status as agricultural property. The tour of this “Big House” includes the main building including the other add-ons and quarters for servants.

Evergreen Plantation has been known mainly because of its significance. Likewise, it is one of the 26 featured sites in the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. The house is open for tours daily except on Sundays.

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley used to be the habitat of a well-known gardener named Antoine way back in 1846. This worker grew a variety of pecans or edible nuts that people can crack with their bare hands. As a background, Oak Alley Plantation is situated in Vacherie, Louisiana by the side of the Mississippi River. The name supposedly comes from a pathway or sheltered trail of two rows of live oak trees. These were approximately 800 feet or 240 meters long and planted during the first part of the 18th century. Trees were planted before the house was constructed. The passageway stretches from the manor up to the Mississippi River.

During the period that Oak Alley was put together, the sugar industry in the River Road region was already thriving. There was already a string of pompous plantation homes that bordered the banks of the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, many of these have been demolished by the passage of time, natural elements, modernization, and technology. Nonetheless, Oak Alley Plantation survived as a testament to the golden age of the old South. Oak Alley Plantation is still full of greatness and history up to this very day.

Laura Plantation

Sugarcane is said to be the livelihood of plantations. Laura Plantation covered roughly 12,000 acres of land filled with these juicy canes. In 1850, the sugar farm had almost 200 workers who harvested the sugar cane manually. Laura Plantation is considered a restored Creole farmhouse which also had the name of Duparc Plantation in the past. It has earned prominence for the 19th-century Creole pattern of massive and elevated homes with outbuildings which included six slave quarters.

In fact, it is the only plantation in Louisiana with complete structures. This place at Saint James Parish is part of the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail as well. A professor of Romance Languages and Folklores in Tulane University in the name of Alcee Fortier collected Br’er Rabbit tales (Louisiana Creole versions) from this plantation during the 1870s. The folks and other relatives of American singer and songwriter Fats Domino also lived in this farmstead. Present-day visitors have found remains of the sugar cane industry at Laura Plantation. These included metal pots and other kitchen utensils where crops were grown along the river banks.

St. Joseph Plantation

St. Joseph Plantation comprises one of the few sugar cane plantations in the River Parishes that have remained in one piece. Aside from the Manor Home, there are plenty of edifices for visitors to discover. These comprise early slave cottages, separated kitchens, blacksmith shops, carpenter’s sheds, and schoolhouses. A few buildings have been moved to their current location from another part of the property. Yet, majority still remains in the original place where these were constructed. The plantation is nestled in a sprawling 2,500 acre lot which included another “sister” farm, Felicity.

Legacy of River Road Plantations

The publication, Examiner.com published an article entitled Exploring Louisiana’s Antebellum Legacy on the Mississippi River Road in July 26, 2010.

An excerpt of the article reads as follows:

“The battlefields, plantations, colleges and cemeteries that line the seventy mile stretch of Louisiana’s legendary Mississippi “River Road” provide a unique glimpse into both the pre-war and post-war life of nineteenth century slaves, students, soldiers and sugar planters. The architecture ranges from simple Cajun and Acadian cabins, to haunted Spanish Style plantation homes – The Myrtles – and Greek Revival Style Mansions with classic architectural columns and imposing balustrades. The common historical denominator has been – and remains – the mighty 2,350 mile long Mississippi River whose ebb and flow has mirrored the dramatic changes in the political, economic and social fortunes of the State of Louisiana since its acquisition from France in 1803.”

The iconic Mississippi River is 2,530 miles in length rising in Minnesota and pours out into the Gulf of Mexico. This tributary has played a decisive role in shaping the history not only of Louisiana but the entire United States as well. Meanwhile, 70 miles of the State’s River Road used to be home to thousands of black Americans and over 400 plantations.

What is the significance of the River Road Plantations?

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the significance can best be described by the following:

“Along the banks of the Mississippi River, from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, a way of life is disappearing. On a 70-mile stretch of historic River Road, superb 18th- and 19th-century plantation houses, slave quarters, Creole cottages and archaeological sites, until now survivors of time, are inexorably deteriorating. But in the mid-90s, visitors to River Road, a popular biking, hiking and scenic driving trail and one of Louisiana’s most popular tourist destinations, found the historic environment endangered. Vacant historic properties are being vandalized or demolished because their owners lack resources and are, at times, indifferent. While industry has become increasingly sensitive to preservation issues, industrial development has already taken an environmental and visual toll. Levee construction has further altered the historic integrity of the region. Comprehensive planning and action are urgently needed to safeguard the future of this area.”

Indeed, if you look closely at the historic and cultural importance of these River Road Plantations, you will see that these epitomize the emergence of the wealthy American people on one side and the plight of the unfortunate Black Americans who were instrumental in building, developing and nurturing these agricultural farms. Time will pass but the memories left by the River Road Plantations will be etched forever in the minds of millions of people.

New Orleans Plantations

You can find the most charming and popular plantation homes of the United States at New Orleans Plantations in Louisiana.

Each one of the plantations in New Orleans, Louisiana is inimitable and boasts of interesting tales that motivate tourists to visit these places over and over again. When you talk of New Orleans, one place to talk about is the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. Another is the New Orleans Plantations which is made up of several estates.

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From New Orleans, you can drive further to South Louisiana which has become very popular for delightful antebellum structural design as well as numerous plantation homes. These estates were built several centuries ago.

Houmas House Plantation

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens used to be known as Burnside Plantation. It was developed during the late 18th century. The main house was finished in 1840. The plantation was named after the native Houma tribe which originally inhabited this portion of Louisiana. Eight edifices rest on 10 acres of this sprawling agricultural estate.

Houmas has been christened “Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road” and called by numerous people as the “Sugar Palace.”At some point in the 19th century, Houmas House was the biggest sugar producer in the entire United States. Alexander Latil constructed the plantation house patterned after the French colonial abode in 1775. In 1803, it became a sugar farm after the United States Government acquired the land through the historic Louisiana Purchase.

Soon after, Daniel Clark (first delegate from the New Orleans Territory to the American House of Representatives) bought the property and erected the first sugar mill alongside the river. Former General Wade Hampton purchased the holdings including the slaves from Clark. This man emerged as one of the richest property-owners and biggest keeper of slaves in the Southern US. An Irishman by the name of John Burnside acquired the farm for $1 million in 1857. The estate prospered although it was Colonel William Miles who succeeded in producing sugar at a very productive rate of 20 million pounds each year.

The great flood spared the Houmas House but the 1930’s Depression devastated the mansion until it was bought by Dr. George Crozat in 1940. Crozat was responsible for the transformation of this manor. The whole manor and grounds were renovated to mirror the luxurious lifestyle of wealthy sugar tycoons who resided at this mansion. 16 rooms of the house are filled with artwork and antique household fixtures. Meanwhile, visitors can walk around parts of verdant gardens which total 38 acres in all. Latil’s Landing, acclaimed as among America’s top 20 restaurants, is a favorite place of diners along with Café Burnside (popular for its Southern menu). Houma House also has an 8,000 square-foot gift shop.

Madewood Plantation

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Madewood is a former sugar estate which was named a National Historic Landmark in Napoleonville, Louisiana. It is said to be one of the most regal plantations and pre-Civil War residences that demonstrate the stylishness of that period in American history. It is snuggled in the middle of moss covered oak trees on numerous acres of hushed lands. The land is a historic place with local museums that showcase American culture.

The “Big House” now operates as bed and breakfast for tourists who can also use the authentic antique pieces. It is a perfect photography venue because of the impressive building architecture and superb landscape. At the same time, there is an old-fashioned family burial ground because estates during that time had their own graveyards. The cemetery is cordoned by a very old rusting iron fence and creaking steel gate. The tombs are quite old that you can hardly read the inscriptions.

Madewood Manor was constructed sometime between 1800 and 1848 for Colonel Thomas Pugh. The Greek revival design was made by Architect Henry Howard. It sits on a sugar estate that was as large as 10,000 acres. The Colonel was William Hill Pugh’s half-brother, owner of Woodlawn Plantation and Alexander Franklin Pugh who owned part of New Hope, Bellevue, Boatner, and Augustin estates. The area was used by Union forces during the American Civil War as a hospital. Madewood House was bought by Harold Marshall in 1964 and went through massive refurbishment until 1978. This property was passed on to Marshall’s sons. However, the modern Madewood plantation is open to the public every day. It has been transformed into a hub for cultural occasions and center for yearly arts events.

Indeed, Madewood is one of the “Great Plantations of the South” and the core of booming sugar production during the yesteryears. What distinguishes this farm from hundreds of other plantations in Louisiana is the plain fact that it was able to withstand the test of time. Yet, it has to cope with constant issues so that it will always function and be relevant. In fact, residents say that Madewood cropped up due to an ecological twist of destiny. For hundreds of years, the Mississippi River deposited fertile soil on both sides of the embankment during the flooding in spring. However, the river altered its course and left behind the stilted Bayou Lafourche. The marshland was a very abundant place.

In the early years of the 19th century, farmers produced varieties of sugar cane that were resistant to ice during winter. Aside from this, novel technology was brought in. Of course, manual labor was provided by American blacks. Some 63 sugar plantation homes were put up between the Mississippi River and Madewood. Unfortunately, the glory days were only momentary. The mill shut down operations during the late 19th century although farmers still continued to plant and harvest sugar cane. The yield was transported in trucks several miles away to other sugar mills for processing. When the Marshall clan acquired this sugarcane estate, it was already the time for the creation of a new invention.

Nottoway Plantation

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Nottoway maintains a vantage point over the Great Mississippi River. The plantation is the definitive blend of Southern saga and warmth. It is considered a perfect venue for wedding receptions, leisure tours, fine dining, corporate affairs, and social retreats. This landmark mansion has eight bed and breakfast rooms with baths and exquisite furniture amenities. Designs include Italian and Greek with 15-foot high ceilings and doors that stand at 11 feet. Nottoway house is made up of the following:

  • Three floors
  • 64 rooms inside the house
  • Six interior stairways
  • Three contemporary baths
  • 22 colossal square columns
  • 200 windows and 165 doors

The crescent white ballroom has been adorned with Corinthian pilasters and hand-cast porticos. There have been recent additions such as the full-service restaurant; a couple of well-designed ballrooms for banquet dinners and meetings; five star hotel and cottage accommodations; outdoor swimming pools; indoor tennis courts; golf; and, health spa.

Cotton grower John Hampden Randolph ventured into sugar production in 1844 due to the prospects that it offered. Randolph mortgaged the Louisiana home as well as the 46 slaves for construction funds. This paved the way for the building of the first sugar mill operated by steam at Iberville Parish. Randolph became a successful sugar baron and purchased property for a so-called white fortress in 1855. Once again, it was the distinguished architect from New Orleans (Henry Howard) who designed the magnificent mansion. The building of Nottoway was finished after four years. It was home to the Randolph family until 1980 when it became a popular public facility.

Guests take pleasure in guided tours of the lush mansion and view the documentary of Randolph narrating the Nottoway story to his grandson. The museum displays relics such as historical documents and photographs that date back to the American Civil War. As of 2008, a total of $14 million has been invested in the reconstruction of the main mansion. Also included in the transformation were cabins designed in Arcadian style along with corporate suites, luxurious guestrooms, and honeymoon suite. The citadel’s ground level was converted into the upscale Mansion Restaurant with complete luxury amenities.

Ormond Plantation

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Ormond Plantation House is situated at Saint Charles Parish in Louisiana. The manor is patterned after a French and West Indies Creole farm house in the Mississippi. It was constructed with the use of bricks laid between vertical support studs made of cypress wood. The Ormond agricultural estate has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is currently owned by the Carmouche family. The parcel of land where the farm stands was given to a French national (Pierre d’ Tregpanier) who served during the American Revolution. The Spanish Governor from Louisiana rewarded the Frenchman with a big lot that extended from Mississippi up to Lake Pontchartrain. Pierre built a home on this land in 1789 which became the Ormond Plantation.

This plantation lies at the center of the German Coast of Louisiana. It started out as a farm for the tropical indigo plant just like other farms in this pace. Indigo was eventually replaced by a more profitable variety of sugar cane called ‘white gold” and the plantation flourished. Colonel Richard Butler of the United States Army purchased Ormond from the wife of Pierre d’ Tregpanier in 1805. The name Ormond came from Butler’s family abode (Castle Ormonde) in Ireland.

Ormond encountered hardships after the Civil War just like the other neighboring estates. It was auctioned off in 1874 and 1875 respectively. Senator Basile LaPlace Jr. finally procured the plantation in December 1, 1898. Unfortunately, the Senator was murdered by mysterious assailants believed to be members of the local Ku Klux Klan in 1899. The property was inherited by the widow of LaPlace and eventually by the mother. It was passed on to the Schexnayder family in 1900 which owned the place until 1926.

The Inter Credit Corporation eventually inherited Ormond from this family. The house began to fall apart but the ceiling, walls and covered entrance were repaired by the Browns who owned the Velvet Dairy enterprise in New Orleans. The Browns added modern facilities which included electricity, indoor plumbing systems and gas. Under the ownership of the Carmouches, it can be used for special tours, wedding receptions, luncheons, and different private events all year round.

Poche Plantation

Poche Plantation is now a combination of the RV Park and Resort and the historic bed & breakfast. Two families lived in this plantation within a span of 70 years. These were the clans of Judge Felix Pierre Poché as well as Judge Henry and Adele Himel. Judge Poché built the manor in 1867 on a 160-acre sugarcane farm many years before. In 1892, the judge relocated to New Orleans so the plantation served as a summer vacation place until it was sold to Judge Henry Himel.

Judge Poché was a successful lawyer and justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court as well as co-founder of the American Bar Association. Poche was noted for achievements in courtrooms and battlefields during the Civil War in Louisiana. In 2006, Poché Plantation provided shelter for more than 300 evacuees affected by Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing flood. The property is now surrounded by white picket fences customized with columns having reverse caps. Today’s Poché Plantation is a popular camping site with bed and breakfast accommodations for city dwellers who want to relax and spend their weekend in Louisiana.

Saint James Parish hosts arts and crafts shows every year at the Poche Plantation which is known as the Southern Louisiana event. It is a non-profit show (for charity) which benefits the entire parish. Vendors are invited to exhibit as well as sell artwork and trade crafts. The regular event continues to entice visitors from Baton Rouge State Capitol and New Orleans. The Economic Development Board is one of the event organizers.

These historic sugarcane plantations in New Orleans have turned out to be local landmarks as well as popular tourist attractions. Perhaps, this is what has made the state of Louisiana and the port city of New Orleans well known in the United States. The plantations are also reminders of the hardships of farmers who were mainly responsible for the productivity of these agricultural estates for many decades.

Florida Plantation Tours

There are various plantations to visit in Florida that will provide visitors with a glimpse or two of the life and culture of years past.

Plantations in Florida were important economic centers and became a great part of history. These plantations were the sources of cash crops which slaves grew before. Taking Florida plantation tours will give you insight about the lives of the workers and the culture that they had during the time that these plantations were operational. With rich stories of the past, Florida Plantation Tours will give you an extraordinary vacation.

Florida Plantation Tours

U.S. Parks Service Plantation

Operated by the National Parks Service, the Kingsley Plantation offers several tours. The estate is part of the 46,000 acre Timucuan Preserve on Fort George Island. It was originally owned by Zephaniah Kingsley back in 1814. It was under his ownership for 20 years and it still retains much of its historic structures. Self-guided tours include going to slaves’ quarters where you can see restored tabby-material, or shell, cabins, barn, garden and kitchen structures. The oldest plantation home in the state, constructed in 1798, can be seen in the main house tour. Admission to this plantation is free of charge.

Florida State Park Plantation Tour

This former sugar plantation on the Manatee River is a Doric Revivalist Vernacular architectural-style home. The Gamble Plantation Historic State Park was the home of Major Robert Gamble, with the mansion as the centerpiece of the whole plantation tour. Tickets to the tour are available online or at the venue.

Island Plantations

Amelia Island takes pride in its modern resort at the Villas for overnight stays. It was constructed beginning 1971 and is known to native inhabitants as “Napyca” and to the French as “Isla de Mer” and “Isla de Santa Maria” for the Spanish when they took control of it in 1573. The island was renamed in 1763 after the daughter of the original governor of Georgia, James Oglethorpe. Both the Fernandina Beach and the Fort Clinch State Park can be found on the island. Modern tours being offered include the state park, historic business district, homes of the Victorian era, railroad depot constructed back in 1899, and the state’s oldest and continually operating saloon.

Seasonal and Special-Interest Tours

Florida plantations are host to many special event tours all year round. The Haile-Chestnut family reunion, for example, is held every year in the Kanapaha Plantation in Gainesville. A centerpiece for the plantation tours, the homestead named for the Haile family is a historical landmark. The Fernandina Beach found on the Amelia Island Plantation is the venue for the monthly “Artrageous Artwalk” free tour that features more than a dozen art galleries and numerous art enthusiasts.

Fort George Island can also be toured by Kayak. The tour takes you through waterways where you can encounter various species of beautiful birds and sea creatures including manatees, eagle rays as well as dolphins. You will visit St. Marys, Georgia, the ruins of Dungeness, and the ruins of Stafford Plantation known as “The Chimneys” on this tour.

South Carolina Plantation Tours

Those who want to learn more about South Carolina’s rich history should make it a plan to visit the numerous plantations found within.

As one of the oldest cities in South Carolina and in the United States of America, Charleston is packed with history and culture. Plantation tours in Charleston offer the opportunity to learn more about the city’s stories of the past as well as the great wealth brought on by the magnificent establishments located in it.

South Carolina Plantation Tours

Drayton Hall

One of the best preserved manor homes in Charleston, Drayton Hall offers a stellar scene that takes you back to history. Explore one of the best examples of Palladian Architecture in the United States, with a grand pillared façade, symmetrical layout, and detailed interiors. It stands in glory amidst the landscape, not offering a single bad view from anywhere around the estate. Drayton Hall has seen and survived the American Revolution, the Civil War, numerous major earthquakes, hurricanes and urban development, which makes it all the more interesting to go to.

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Famous for having, as many say, the best gardens along the Ashley, Magnolia features picturesque sites and landscapes. It is one of the oldest plantations in the state, and much of the garden’s features have already been restored. The Biblical Garden, with plants that are mentioned in the Bible, the Cypress Lake, indoor tropical garden, seven bridges and maze are all great attractions in Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Because the manor home at Magnolia burned down in the civil war, Magnolia Gardens was reopened to be a tourist attraction. Hence, it is known to be one of the first man made tourist attractions in America.

Boone Hall

Boone Hall still stands as a working plantation to this day, making it one of the oldest working plantations in America. The crops are still grown and are still sustaining people after over 300 years. The atmospheric scene depicted by the Boone Hall makes it the most photographed plantation in America. Until now, it is known for its famous crops and products such as strawberry, fresh seafood, salsa, rice, homemade jams and jellies, marinades and a lot more. Boone Hall grips its visitors with its rich history and captivating environment.

Middleton Place

Middleton Place is regarded as the crowning glory of Ashley River. It is a haven for guests who are looking for a place to relax and enjoy a carriage ride around the estate. With perfectly manicured gardens, interesting exhibits and a guided tour of the house museum, Middleton Place is full of history. The main feature, however, is the Inn made up of a set of houses which may be more modernly constructed but features interior furnishings that are spectacular. It is the perfect romantic retreat as it is located in a very quiet section of the estate. The biggest feature of the inn is the huge bath tub that can double as a swimming pool in each of the houses. Staying in the inn will also allow you to experience Middleton Place more and to be conveniently near the historic landmark.

Mississippi Plantation Tours

Mississippi plantations offer scenic, romantic and charming environments and landscapes for you to take in and enjoy with your family or spouse.

With some of the most fertile ground on earth, plantations in Mississippi are sprawling lands that hold breathtaking views. Antebellum mansions and magnificent homes can be found in the many plantations in Mississippi and are open for tours that offer the chance to experience these historical sites.

Mississippi Plantation Tours

Brandon Hall Plantation

Completed in 1856, the mansion that was once the centerpiece of a large cotton plantation on the Natchez Trace has become a bed-and-breakfast inn that is a haven for many history buffs and travelers alike. Guests who opt to stay overnight will get a full Southern breakfast each morning as well as a guided tour of the plantation home. For guests who prefer not to spend a night’s accommodation but visit the Brandon Hall, the Brandon Hall and 28 other antebellum mansions open their doors for public tours during its annual two-week pilgrimage in the fall.

Linden Plantation and Gardens

This plantation was originally designed to be the family home of John Wesley Vick and his new bride, Ann Marie Brabston back in 1827. The home was then passed on to the hands of Anne Marie’s brother, James, and his wife Roche, when Ann Marie died in childbirth. Roche started the magnificent gardens that surround the plantation home which is now a bed and breakfast. The gardens and the home can be toured by groups. Advanced arrangements are required.

Monmouth Plantation

The Monmouth Plantation, built in 1818, was once a magnificent antebellum mansion that survived the Civil War. However, through time, the mansion started declining and was reduced to a dilapidated estate that only vaguely resembled its former beauty. Fortunately, a California developer named Ronald Riches, together with his wife, Lani, visited Natchez and fell in love with the mansion, or what was left of it. They purchased Monmouth in the late 1970s and personally saw to the restoration of the mansion to its former glory. Today, Monmouth Plantation operates as a small luxury hotel and is open to the public for self-guided tours either in the late afternoon or early evening hours daily. Guests of the hotel are given a guided historical tour.

Rosemont Plantation

Less grand but not the least of the Mississippi plantation homes, Rosemont Plantation was the centerpiece of a plantation owned and established by the parents of Jefferson Davis in 1810. Jefferson Davis, later a president of the Confederate States of America, grew up in this land. Through the years, the main house is still largely original, featuring furnishings and memorabilia belonging to the Davis family. The house and its gardens are open for tours from Tuesday through Saturday for the most of the year. It is open seven days a week during the Natchez Pilgrimage that takes place every fall.

Georgia Plantation Tours

History buffs will find going on a tour of Georgia plantations to be both fascinating and enjoyable.

Georgia is the home of many historical sites and famous plantations. Before embarking on a tour, get to know the sites you would want to visit.

Georgia Plantation Tours

Pebble Hill Plantation

Located in the extreme south of Georgia, Pebble Hill Plantation is a very large estate that was a working plantation in the antebellum era. It was a hunting retreat for the wealthy back in the 19th century. Today, Pebble Hill Plantation is being maintained as much as it was in the 20th century. Self-guided tours are allowed and welcome; however, if you want to explore inside the main house, you must be a part of a guided tour.

Callaway Plantation

Located near the small town of Washington, the Callaway Plantation is a living history museum with its buildings that were built in the 1700s. The main house and four other homes on the plantation are open for tours. The property is still used to grow crops in some fields and the main house still has no electricity or modern plumbing to take you back to how Old South plantations looked and felt like.

Jarrell Plantation Historic Site

This plantation is different from the rest as it is a simple middle-class plantation, unlike the other expansive estates. It is maintained by the state park system and is open to the public for plantation tours. This property was preserved from the Civil War since it was tucked into the hills, a distance away from main towns, roads and rail lines. It now stands as a hidden treasure, with tours only available on certain days of the week so it is recommended that you call ahead before visiting. The only accommodation for miles around, called Jarrell 1920 House, is the privately operated bed-and-breakfast run by the descendants of the Jarrell family.

Melon Bluff and Dunham Farms

Formerly known as the Palmyra Plantation, the estate now stands as a nature preserve and vacation retreat in the coastal region of Georgia. Since the 18th century, the land has been in the same family and has been passed on from generation to generation. Melon Bluff is a wonderful nature preserve that boasts in its prime wildlife viewing spots and long miles of nature trails. Dunham Farms, located just next door, is a place where guests can stay in the inn that used to be Palmyra’s Barn. The staff offers historical and eco tours that include kayaking, birding expeditions, and the Plantation Heritage Walk, a one-hour guided tour through the grounds that speak of history and rich stories of the past.

Stately Oaks Plantation

If you are familiar with Gone With the Wind’s fictional “Tara”, Stately Oaks Plantation is the closest existing land resembling it. Margaret Mitchell, the writer of the said novel made into a film, spent her summer vacations as a child in this estate and it is believed that this land was her main inspiration for Tara. Tours for the public are provided by docents in period costumes.

Louisiana Plantation Tours

There are numerous plantations in Louisiana that you and your family can visit. These places are rich in history and culture and will make for the perfect getaway.

Visiting sites that show culture and history can be the perfect getaway for vacations with family and friends. It can prove to be both educational and fun, and sometimes, it can even be an interesting adventure with the things you will see and encounter when you’re there.
Louisiana boasts in its famous Plantation Country, including the state capital of Baton Rouge and cosmopolitan New Orleans, going along the historic River Road located on the banks of the great Mississippi River. The Deep South offers you the chance to step back in time to see and experience Creole and African cultures, amazing properties, great wealth and violent deaths of the Civil War era.

Louisiana Plantation Tours

Famous Plantations in Louisiana

One of the most recognized plantations in Louisiana is Oak Alley. This is largely because of the film industry, since Oak Alley has been featured in multiple movies such as “Interview with the Vampire”, “Midnight Bayou” and other small productions. This plantation located in Vacherie, near New Orleans, is also the site of numerous special events and re-enactments because of its scenic beauty. Established in 1836, Oak Alley is full of history. This plantation is open to the public daily and offers guided tours everyday as well.

A teenager named Alcee Fortier frequented the Laura Plantation which was also located in Vacherie. He was very fascinated by Creole culture and kept a diary of all the folktales he heard in the slave cabins. Consequently, the setting of those stories can be seen on a guided tour to this plantation which is available daily.

Established in 1787, the Destrehan Plantation is the oldest known plantation in the Lower River Valley. It is owned by the River Road Historical Society and is located southwest of New Orleans, near Houma. It is also open to the public daily.

This particular plantation is very popular albeit not for the common reasons. The Myrtles Plantation, built in 1796, is famous because it is considered one of the most haunted locations in the United States. As such, it has been featured in different channels such as The Travel Channel, the History Channel and the National Geographic Explorer. The story behind the haunting starts with a man named Clark Woodruff, the second owner of The Myrtles Plantation, who was very fond of a slave girl whose name was Chloe. When his interest in her waned, she formed a plan to make the family ill for her to nurse them back to health. When Clark was away, she accidentally killed Clark’s wife, Sara, and their two daughters because she misjudged the amount of poisonous oleander she mixed into the family birthday cake. Chloe told the other slaves of her crime and they hung her and dumped her body in the river. Once Clark returned, he planted the crape myrtle trees in memory of his family and moved to New Orleans. Now, experts are debating whether Chloe existed but there are at least 12 deaths connected to the house.

Most properties in the Louisiana Plantation Tours are reported to be haunted; however; many do not advertise this fact. If you are interested in ghosts, you can ask the tour guides about their supernatural experiences and visit on Friday or Saturday nights.

Exploring Louisiana Plantations

It is very easy to drive to The River Road to visit the plantations on your own. Take your family with you and drive to bed-and-breakfast accommodations offered virtually on every community en route. This will give you a chance to set your own pace when visiting and explore sites that are less crowded and less expensive.