Horses and Historically Inspired Architecture at Pepper Plantation

Pepper Plantation is a beautiful community in rural Mount Pleasant. Situated off Highway 17 along the breathtaking Wando River, Pepper Plantation offers the perfect balance of country amenities and convenient commuting.  The subdivision lies near Ten Mile and Awendaw, adjacent to several golf courses and boat landings, and boasting creek, river, and horse pasture views.  Pepper Plantation is also a premier wedding venue for those couples seeking to incorporate some Lowcountry character and dockside views into their special day.

The lands that later became Pepper Plantation were situated in Christ Church Parish, the colonial Anglican parish name for the Mount Pleasant area, and as the name suggests, the high ground between the Wando River and its creeks above, and Copahee Sound and the barrier islands below, were historical plantations where enslaved people of African descent grew rice and cotton (still today, rural Mount Pleasant retains its rich Gullah culture as a result.) Pepper Plantation and neighboring Whitesides Plantation sat alongside Georgetown Road or the King’s Highway, today U.S. 17.

Pepper Plantation area on the 1925 Charleston Atlas, surveyed by Robert Mills.
Future Pepper Plantation area on an 1862 map. Library of Congress.

A plat from 1925 shows the “Pepper Tract, formerly known as M. Barton tract,” as several hundred acres containing high ground and marshes along Alston Creek and Wando River.  Some of the timber land was leased to local paper mill companies.  In 1995, Henry W. Lockwood and Edward B. Lockwood purchased the 428 acres, and their heirs retained the parcel until the twenty first century.

A 1925 plat of the Pepper Tract.

The land remained mostly undeveloped until 2002, when a development company purchased 437 acres and applied for permission to create a new equestrian community comprising large lots.

Pepper Plantation on a 1919 USGS topographic map. Earlier plantation buildings or residences can be seen along the Wando River marshes.

Pepper’s main thoroughfares recall the area’s history and horse culture: Old Rosebud, War Admiral and Thunder Gulch streets are named for famous thoroughbred racehorses (who lived 1911-1922, 1934-1959 and 1992-2018, respectively) while Derby Park and Pritchard Green also call racetracks to mind. And because the area is unincorporated Charleston County, the area is still zoned mostly agricultural to owners can have small stables on their larger lots.  For example, Cobb Architects designed a vast Lowcountry cottage for a Pepper Plantation lot, replete with a board and batten stable outbuilding with sliding barn doors and a large screen porch.  Their site describes the house as, “located in an equestrian community, this Lowcountry cottage sits on a rural two acre property surrounded by pastures and riding trails. The casual style of the home, along with the barn structure, gravel drives and native landscaping fit well in the setting. Inside, shiplap walls and ceilings, brick, and reclaimed wood floors and beams reinforce the farmhouse feel of the home. A screened outdoor living space flanks the pool and frames views to a pond and pastures beyond.”

An aerial view of 3541 War Admiral from a recent listing photo.

Vacant lots start around $400,000 while the median sales price for stately, architect-design houses on large three-acre lots is currently around $2 million.  Pepper Hill has its own architectural review board, ensuring that all new construction utilizes high quality materials and local architectural traditions.  Thanks to the large lots and ample trees in Pepper Plantation, each house site feels like its own rural enclave.  Most residences have large lawns, multi-car garages in tastefully designed ancillary buildings or bays, and back decks. Each is a unique blend of neotraditional features including multi-pitched rooflines, door windows, and southern architectural features like shutters and neoclassical adorned porches.

Though no longer on the market, 1472 Old Rosebud offers a taste of the traditional architectural character in Pepper Plantation, with its inviting front porch, traditional paneled shutters, and dormers looking out onto a front yard with mature trees.

Pepper Plantation is near Gadsdenville and Paradise Island boat landings, giving easy access to both the Wando River and Copahee Sound (which leads to the Atlantic Ocean after meandering past Dewees Island and Capers Island Heritage Preserve).  Charleston National and Bulls Bay Golf Clubs are just a few minute drive, as is prestigious Wando High School.

The view from Paradise Island boat landing.

Even for a place as beautiful as Mount Pleasant/Awendaw, Pepper Plantation is unique for its views and equestrian amenities that include stables, a horse track, and riding trails.  The Pavilion at Pepper Plantation is a favorite venue for weddings and Lowcountry events.  The Pavilion Club boasts a dock, lakeside lawn, and barn-style event hall.  SGA NarmourWright designed the Pavilion building to reflect Lowcountry traditions, with a massive chimney and spacious porches.

The Pavilion Club main building, from their facebook page.

The Pavilion at Pepper Plantation is the perfect spot for a Lowcountry wedding, which endless photo opportunities and beautiful views.  Their booking site, http://pepperpavilion.com notes, “this award-winning, barn inspired pavilion is an ideal venue for your special event. The Pavilion is perfectly designed for hosting outdoor weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, corporate events or any other social gathering. Its deep lowcountry-style porches, exposed wooden beams, massive fireplaces, fire pits and a beautiful waterfront gazebo help to create a unique backdrop for a truly Southern Affair!”  Reach out to https://katiejeanevents.com , a leader in Lowcountry weddings, to plan your special day at Pepper Plantation.

Pepper Plantation is perfect for residents who want to experience the things that make the Lowcountry such a popular place to live- waterfront access, grand trees, southern architectural charm- with the added bonus of the equestrian trails and Pepper Pavilion.  Throw in nearby golf courses, Laurel Island County Park, Capers Island Heritage Preserve, and the never ending natural splendor of the nearby barrier islands, and you’ll never want to leave this spectacular coastal community.

The Pavilion Dock, from their website.

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Author: Christina Butler

Owner of Butler Preservation L.C., Professor of Historic Preservation at American College of the Building Arts, author of Lowcountry At High Tide (USC Press, 2020).