The History of the Hutchinson House on Edisto Island

The Edisto Island Open Land Trust (EIOLT) has created a traveling exhibit titled “The Hutchinson Family Story: From Enslavement to Emancipation to Entrepreneur on Edisto” that can easily be displayed in venues like libraries, museums, schools, and at local festivals and events. The exhibit is currently on display at the Hollywood/St.Paul’s Library Branch for the month of October 2022, and it will move to the Johns Island Library for November 2022. SC Humanities supported this exhibit with a Planning Grant and a Major Grant.

The Hutchinson House, constructed around 1885, is one of the oldest surviving houses built by African Americans during the Reconstructon Era on Edisto Island. In a time when many freed people struggled to thrive economically, the Hutchinson family prospered as farmers who operated one of the African-American-owned cotton gins on the island. James Hutchinson was born into slaverly and became a leader of the local freedmen during Reconstruction. The historic house is in the process of being restored by the EIOLT.

The traveling exhibit tells the story of this important family and their property. The exhibit consists of four pop-up panels and a video. To reserve the traveling exhibit for display, please contact John Girault at

There will be public programs on Wednesday, October 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hollywood/St.Paul’s Library Branch and on Saturday, November 12 at 11:00 a.m. at the Johns Island Library Branch. Staff of the Edisto Island Open Land Trust will share more information about the Hutchinson family and the current efforts to restore the property.

The mission of the Edisto Island Open Land Trust is to preserve the rural quality of life on Edisto by protecting lands, waterways, scenic vistas, and heritage through conservation and education. More info is available here:

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 21-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

Image Courtesy of the Edisto Island Open Land Trust