The historic Rose Hill Mansion has long held a treasured place in Southern history.
It’s easy to imagine you’re traveling through the Lowcountry as it used to be. Picture yourseld on a journey many visitors have taken before, some by carriage, to this fine Gothic Revival home. Originally slated to be built in the late 1850s by planter and physician, Dr. John Kirk and his wife Caroline, the plantation was a wedding present from Caroline’s father, James Kirk.
Work was halted by the Civil War. The interior was not completed until 1946, when new owners John and Betsy Gould Sturgeon finished it in grand style. In 1980, the Welton family purchased the land and the house was later listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
But in 1987, a terrible fire devastated the house. It sat in a state of ruin until purchased and restored by Robert and Robin White.
Known as “The Dream,“ the Rose Hill Mansion was bought by Robert for his future bride Robin on her birthday in April 1996. One year later, on her birthday, they were married in the conservatory. After a painstaking, decade-long restoration, the home is now shared with the public each day, via guided history tours.
Robin’s bridal portrait, painted by Robert as a gift on her second wedding anniversary, hangs in the lady’s parlor. In the gentlemen’s room, the mantelpiece is German/Austrian, 16th century. An old library table displays relics found on the property, amid hunting mounts and antique rifles.
The grand entry’s original open stringer spiral staircase is period grandeur; the 1858 elongated rosewood piano the same age as the home.
See the portrait of James Brown Kirk (original founder of Bluffton) and Dr. John Kirk, painted by granddaughter Emily, at the request of her mother, Caroline. The Kirk family returned these portraits, as well as other family heirlooms as restorations by the Whites began.
The Rose Hill Mansion is also available for weddings and corporate event rentals, as well as private scheduled group tours and luncheons. The carriage house, connected to the mansion, can additionally be rented nightly or by the week.
The Rose Hill Mansion is a private home located within the gated community of Rose Hill Plantation and reservations to join the daily history tours are required. For more information, contact Rose Hill Mansion at 843-757-6046.
Photos courtesy of Rose Hill Mansion.