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Cottage Chic: 1936

Circa 1936. "Georgetown. Georgetown County, South Carolina. Small houses, Series 2, Mansfield's Quarters." What this place lacks in granite countertops, it makes up for in cozy. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.

Circa 1936. "Georgetown. Georgetown County, South Carolina. Small houses, Series 2, Mansfield's Quarters." What this place lacks in granite countertops, it makes up for in cozy. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.


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No grass, please!

I have a friend in SC who manages to maintain some sort of scraggly, coarse grass on his plot of sandy soil. It is too harsh to walk barefoot on, but you do not want to do that because the little bit of grass he has just gives the nasty fire ants a place to hide their evil colonies!

Sparse on details

I don't think I've ever seen a house of this style with absolutely NO mouldings whatsoever. From a distance, it looks like it does, but up close, you see that everything was built from square stock. I've often seen pared-down versions, but even these tend to have at least a "fake" crown made with just slanted boards.

The house looks pretty early, too. I'd say late 1700s, early 1800s. The overall nearly symmetrical layout, 6 over 6 windows, and gable returns, have a Georgian influence, while the robust porch columns seem to be a "poor man's" attempt to capture a bit of the Greek Revival look that was quite popular at that time.

Even though it's apparent that the house was built on a budget, it still manages to look quite nice, though it had seen better days before 1936.

Mansfield Plantation

Here's a short video speaking to the vision of the present owners who operate Mansfield Plantation. It is quite touching and worth the time to watch. The dreams of a man whose ancestors owned the plantation unites with the dreams of a man whose family's ancestors were once slaves on the plantation.

Lots of Rot

If you look at the siding and the soffits there is a lot of rot in that house and the shingles have seen better days as well. Definitely from the poorer side of town.

Georgetown Native

I was born in Georgetown, SC in the mid 1950's. The homes even up until the mid 60's where my grandparents lived had brushed dirt yards. It was really quite common.

The picture above may very well be quarters located on the Mansfield Plantation. It is located just north of Georgetown on the south side of the Black River. It is one of many of the rice plantations that line the inter-coastal waterway and rivers in the area. It is now a Bed and Breakfast. I believe they even have a web site with quite a few photos of the grounds.

If you zoom in on the Black River using Google Earth you can still see the rice beds and flood ditches for the fields.

My grandfather used to take me coon hunting in those fields during the late evenings. He'd let the hounds tree them and use his double barrel to bring them home.

I vividly remember him skinning and tanning the hides and selling them for $5 each. My grandmother would cook no more then 2 raccoons a year. It was quite a chore as I recall.

Screen doors

Yes, Solo, they still make plain (and fancy) wooden screen doors. I just bought one for my house the other day at Home Depot and they have the same basic thing at Lowe's. Not expensive at all. I intend to paint it glossy black, hang it and have a "low tech" coil spring for the closer just like the one at grandma's house back in the 50's. Can't wait to hear it slam - a noise from the past to wake the dead and to remember them.

Granite countertops are SO last year

I'm sure they have Silestone quartz or hammered copper.

Yard theory

I'm in North Carolina, but I've been told by a centenarian or two around here that in their day, a well-kept front yard in town was swept bare of loose dirt, rocks, and weeds, leaving just "clean dirt." That would be sprinkled with water to keep the dust down and prevent it from floating in through the open windows. My guess based on location is that we are looking at a clean dirt front yard here.

An older woman told me once that having grass in your yard pretty much invited the bugs, snakes, and mice right in the front door. The dirt yard makes sense based on the climate and openness of Southern houses.

Re: Ground cover

I believe it's plain old dirt. I grew up in South Carolina and none of the old houses I lived in had grass lawns. The soil was too sandy to support grass.

Renov? Rehab? Teardown?

I am guessing that the kitchen and baths are a total gut. And do they even make screen doors any more?

Someone cares

Looks like the porch steps are relatively new. The porch railings look to have been removed, so maybe they're next on the 1000+ page punch list.

Ground cover

I can’t quite tell what I’m looking at when I try to figure out what is growing in the “lawn” zone of the property as well as in the strip between the road and sidewalk. There are trees and the odd bush or shrub here and there, but as for the general ground cover, are we looking at brown or green?

Re open windows and billowing curtains on second floor: adds spooky to cozy.

The furnishings

I've got to get to the time machine, so I can go back and buy those rockers, and the porch swing. And the chains and the hooks, too.


I can see the Wicked Witch's feet sticking out from under the house.

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