Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites



A visit with us includes a number of different choices for our visitors. Begin your tour with a stop at our visitors center. Here, you will find a giftshop, museum and theatre that will orient you toward the site.

Next, you might walk the grounds to the plantation house and its outbuildings for a tour or instead, you may choose a nature walk that includes overlooks of the former ricefields and marshlands.

Map of Hofwyl Plantation

 

Diagram of Plantation

 

Diagram of Museum


Mouse over exhibit for a description
Click on the number for more information.

Visiting the museum offers students many opportunities for deeper understanding of this historic site, it's historic use and its's people. With the inclusion of a diagram of museum exhibits, a sequential description of each and an activity for students to find answers to questions during their tour, we hope to ensure the best learning opportunity for our visitors.

 

In the Field Saving Harvesting Rice Field to Market High Tide Ebb Tide Hofwyl Dairy Photograph of Hofwyl Rice mill timbers Reflections of Heritage Dent family memorabilia Panel describing Hofwyl Plantations historic and geographical setting. Aristocracy of Rice Black Seed-White Rice A Huge Hydraulic Machine Model: Tidal System

 

 

1. Panel describing Hofwyl Plantations historic and geographical setting.

2. "Aristocracy of Rice" includes a map of the Altamaha and Glynn County region, portraits of two prominent area planters, Cooper and Butler, as well as descriptive quotes regarding the rice culture of the coastal region of Georgia.
3. "Black Seed-White Rice" is a collection of photographs of rice cultivation in nearby areasincluding Sapelo and St. Catherines Island and its ties to west coast African skills. Special tasks are highlighted such as that of "driver" and "trunkminder."
4. "A Huge Hydraulic Machine" features a model of floodgate/trunk construction illustrating the use of tides and mechanical devices to grow rice in the coastal delta areas of Georgia.
5. "In the Field Saving" depicts differing methods of sowing rice seed in Georgia and South Carolina. The former used the "covered method," while the latter preferred the method known as "claying." A quote by Thomas Spalding of Sapelo in 1845 ties the land, dykes and water to the prosperity of the region.
6. "Harvesting Rice" presents further details of rice production focusing on the harvesting process. This sequence included cutting, tying into sheaves, loading and transporting upon flats to millhouse or yard for curing in small stacks or ricks.
7. "Field to Market" depicts the process of winnowing (separating grain from chaff) and threshing (separating seed from plant). Threshing, usually achieved by use of flailing sticks and winnowing with baskets or at a winnowing house, leaves a double-hulled grain. These grains are moved to a rice mill where huge mortar and pestle or grinding stones remove the hull leaving only white grains. The process may be completed by hand using wooden mortar and pestles. This latter method was used for home use of the rice.
8. "High Tide" completes the story of rice culture as the peak of Hofwyl-Broadfield prosperity. Outlining the family history of the site beginning with the purchase of land in 1806 by William Brailsford of Charleston. Marriage to the Troup and later, Dent families, traces the ownership through five generations. By use of text and graphics, the exhibit delineates the rise and fall of the Plantation's prosperity throughout the 19th century. While the end of slavery and fierce hurricanes doomed the rice culture, it is noteworthy that prior to the Civil War, the estate already listed $80,000 in debt. In 1856 the property was divided into three tracts presenting "West New Hope" to Ophelia Troup Dent who renamed the property "Hofwyl."
9. "Ebb Tide" follows the land's use throughout its last years of rice cultivation with photos of the site and its owners. The combined forces of hurricanes, emancipation, debt and finally, competition with southwest rice production led to the abandonment of that crop in 1915. The last owners, Miriam, Gratz and Ophelia Dent, were able to free the land from debt, at least holding on to the family home and land.

10. "Model: Tidal System" is a large geographical model displaying the lands of the former plantation in relationship to the Altamaha River and surrounding marshes. Buildings and fields as well as major trunks and dikes are laid out to display the interrelationship of the river and land with rice cultivation.
11. This photograph of the Hofwyl today includes the words of the last owner, Miss Ophelia Dent, predicting the return of rice cultivation to the area.
12. "Hofwyl Dairy" exhibits facts and implements of the dairy farm operated by the Dents from 1915 until 1942 as a small family business. Producing from 100-150 bottles of milk per day, only a few workers and the family worked this farm to provide for the maintenance of themselves and the property.
13. Rice mill timbers from the nearby Butler Island are displayed on the wall.
14. Dent family memorabilia are displayed in a large case. Among other items, a photograph of the Cohen home in Savannah and a guest book signed by visitors to Hofwyl are shown.
 
15. "Reflections of Heritage" is made up of a large exhibit of selected family silver pieces that include examples of various decorative techniques and work by leading European and American silversmiths. This display is housed in a special secured vault.


 
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