Brief History of Rose Hill


  • This fine Gothic Revival home has served as a backdrop to the many faces and lives that tell the fascinating history of this Lowcountry area of South Carolina.
  • Rose Hill Plantation, once part of Devil's Elbow Barony, was granted to Sir John Colleton by King Charles II in 1718.
  • Construction on the Rose Hill house was started in the late 1850s by planter and physician, Dr. John Kirk and his wife Caroline.
  • The work was halted by the Civil War as John and Caroline sought refuge in Grahamville, South Carolina. Although the house was occupied after the war, the economy made it impossible to complete the interior. Letters written between 1803 and 1868 reveal the pathos and tragedy of the Kirk family history.
  • In 1946, John and Betsy Gould Sturgeon purchased the house and employed prominent architect Willis Irvin to direct the completion of the house in a highly sophisticated manner.
  • In 1955, Vogue Magazine published a feature story on the house, with photos of the furnished interior.
  • In 1980, the Rose Hill Plantation Development Co. (the Welton family) purchased the land for development of a planned residential community. In 1983, the Rose Hill Plantation house was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, thanks to the efforts of Iva Welton. The house was opened to the public for tours, and an extensive rehabilitation of the house was completed in 1986.

  • In 1987, a major fire caused devastating damage to the entire house.  The copper roof melted and caved in and the entire 2nd floor and attic were gutted.

  • After the fire of 1987,  the copper roof was replaced and the porch's posts were redesigned to the Kirk's original wood & Gothic look.  Inside, only the central domed hall & spiral staircase had been restored & painted.  The rest of the house remained charred, in an unfinished state.

  • On April 12,1996, Rose Hill Plantation House was purchased by the Middleton White Foundation and has been restored as a private home.


  • The house is currently open for TOURS, WEDDINGS, GROUP EVENTS and Private Gatherings.  For more information, please see other sections of this website or contact: Robin White, Proprietor - 843-757-6046 or robinwhite@hargray.com.



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Rose Hill Mansion