By Robert Salvo
It may not feel like it today, but there will be some silver linings in the storm clouds of Covid-19. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, one of them will be the much needed revitalization of small-town America. After all, if broadband and Zoom meetings can free you from the cubicle and, thus, from city life — why not relocate someplace with charm, history and the human scale? And when there are great properties out there like 204 Porcher Ave. in Eutawville, South Carolina … why not consider the move?
First, the history. Located just an hour from downtown Charleston, just northeast of Holly Hill, the tiny town of Eutawville (population ~350) was founded as a summer village for plantation owners to escape the malarial banks of the nearby Santee River. The Revolutionary War battle of Eutaw Springs was fought nearby; Gen. Greene’s assault on the British position is usually marked as a tactical defeat for the patriots, but a strategic victory — afterwards the British holed up in Charleston, never again attempting to project power into the interior of the state.
In 1850, a German family named Koopman occupied the site at the intersection of Porcher and Gailliard streets, building the Eutawville Hotel; though that original structure burnt down in 1888, it was soon replaced and continued as a hotel, then as a boarding house, through the 1940s. After the Santee was dammed, forming Lake Marion and forever changing the rhythm of life in Eutawville, proprietress “Miss Carrie” Mack closed the boarding house — opting instead to teach piano in the space.
The building is still referred to as the “Eutawville Hotel” by some sources, but others call it the “Jasmine House” — a name that might ring a bell for some long-time residents of the Lowcountry and Midstate. Long after Miss Carrie’s passing, the family of Holly Hill Chevrolet dealer Sam Kirby bought the building and turned it into the Jasmine House Restaurant. It was a hit for diners living between Charleston and Columbia and not all that far away from I-95 for those North-South travellers looking for authentic Southern dishes and warm hospitality, too.
Those gracious spaces that once welcomed diners to ribeye steaks and pan-fried chicken have since converted to the slower pace of family life; the Jasmine House is on offer through Holly Hamilton of Daniel Ravenel/Sotheby’s International Real Estate and offers a perfect way to enjoy small-town life in an iconic space. With white cement plank clapboard siding, breeze-catching double piazzas, decorative shingles on the gables and, yes, a white picket fence, it is the archetype of Southern charm.
That’s not to say it’s stuck in the past, though. A classic-yet-contemporary wet bar is tucked in behind the front entry hall. A large swimming pool, with slide, gazebo and well-equipped grilling area will have you outside, enjoying the .7 acre lot even on warm summer days. A spacious kitchen with granite-topped counters and a professional grade appliances may have you thinking about reopening the restaurant.
Elsewhere inside, the nearly 4,400-sq. ft. home has five spacious bedrooms and five full baths. Take your pick from the garden tub or the showers that appear to have been lifted from a five-star resort. As befits a former hotel, each space has its own charming and unique touches — half wall wainscoting, high ceilings, beadboard, a claw-footed tub, even a rough-brick basement rigged for a widescreen TV and looking like a room from the latest home style magazines. You may have all that and the lake is just a mile down the road. If you’re ready to get away from the hustle and bustle, this listing offers all the style and luxury of urban life, with small-town Southern beauty to spare.