Thursday, December 9, 2010

Poplar Grove Plantation

Grace's class went on a field trip today to Poplar Grove Plantation right outside of Wilmington, NC.  We've been by it a million times but never been so when I found out that's where they were going, I definitely wanted to go.  It  is one of the oldest existing peanut plantations in North Carolina and was in the same family for over 6 generations.  The Foys originally purchased the land in 1795 and kept it until the mid 1970’s.  It opened as a museum in 1980 and today the mansion is on the National Register of Historic Homes.  Poplar Grove Plantation preserves the homestead of a successful farming family, the outbuildings and crafts typical of an 1800s era working community. 

 In 1795, James Foy, Jr. purchased 628 acres of land from Frances Clayton.  James built his home close to the water so he could use the water to transport his goods to Wilmington.  The arduous trip into town took about twelve hours round trip.  James’ son, Joseph Mumford Foy, began building the current Manor House in 1849.  The manor house was designed by Joseph, an amateur architect, in the Greek Revival Style.  It has 4,284 square feet, 12 fireplaces, 2 pairs of corbelled interior chimneys and 12 rooms.

We were able to tour the big house and tenant farmer's cabin, visit the craft shops and learn about basket making and weaving, and see the blacksmith's shop.
Grace with some of her friends from class
Back of the house

The cornice moldings and medallions in the hall and front and back parlors are made from plaster and horsehair, much easier to construct than carved wood moldings.  The rooms ceiling heights vary from 8 feet in the basement, 12 feet on the main floor and 10 feet upstairs. Carbide acetylene gas lamps provided illumination.

The kitchen was located separate from the main house in case of fires.
The Tenant House

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