Possibly built in 1679, the Otranto Plantation home on Basilica Avenue in Hanahan, SC, is available for $899,000. However, there’s some discrepancy about the home’s origin, as some records say it was built in the 1790s.
“It was fun getting ready for the listing, just trying to learn all the people that have owned it and their significance in American history, and then of course the local history,” says listing agent Stephanie Davis. “It isn’t your typical three-bedroom, two-bath home. It has a rich American history.”
The home was originally on 1,730 acres of land granted to Edward and Arthur Middleton in 1678.
“I guess that was an incentive to kind of get the fire started over here and get some people settled and get things rolling to create the country that we have now,” Davis adds.
The Middleton name is important in nearby Charleston, SC. A descendant of the original land grantees, also named Arthur Middleton, was in the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. Charleston’s Middleton Place, which includes America’s oldest landscaped gardens, is named for the family.
“A lot of their family was involved in government and shaping the future of the country,” Davis explains.
The home has had dozens of owners, including Dr. Alexander Garden, a botanist for whom the gardenia flower was named. Garden was also the first person to introduce the smallpox vaccine to Charleston in the late 1700s.
The 2,602-square-foot home has three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.
“It’s a little bit like walking back in time,” Davis says. “I’d say my favorite thing about it is probably the floors. It has the heart of pine wood floors, wide planks, kind of a dark cherry finish.”
It’s unclear if the floors are original since there was a fire in the 1930s. Some reports say the damage was contained to the second floor, while others say the house was destroyed. (Photographs of the house taken before the fire aided the restoration.)
The National Register of Historic Places listed the home in 1978.
“One of the things noted is the architecture and the low profile that it has,” Davis explains. “It’s abnormal for this area as far as architecture styles, and I think that that’s helped it to survive all the catastrophic storms that have hit this area, like Hurricane Hugo in 1989. It’s got really strong bones and kind of a wide stance, indestructible.”
Near the main house are a large pool, pool house, and a detached cookhouse.
It is “a really cute, little house, cream-colored with green shutters. That was the kitchen where all the meals were prepared for the main house,” Davis explains.
The property sits on Goose Creek Reservoir in the middle of the Otranto Plantation neighborhood and comes with a dock. Historical records are unclear if the neighborhood sits on the original land granted to the Middletons, Davis notes.
Davis says the current owner fell in love with the property and the large oak trees surrounding it. She has replaced the roof and HVAC system and added solar panels.
“It has been restored really well, but there’s certainly room for improvement,” Davis says. “You know updating kitchens and bathrooms is always a topic of discussion with houses. With this one, the last real update, as far as cosmetics inside, might be [the 1990s].”
Davis warns the highest bidder might not get the home.
“One of the main goals of the owner right now is to find someone who doesn’t plan to tear it down and put up three more houses or condos. [She wants] someone who’s going to treasure it as much as she does and values the history and what it is.”
That perfect buyer might not even live in the home.
“People who come through the house have all kinds of dreams and ideas and thoughts for this house, ranging from Airbnb to wedding venues, to corporate meeting space,” Davis says. “I haven’t really met too many buyers who are considering it as a residence.”