This is one of my favorite sights in [node:55965 link Charleston, for its uplifting, well-explored subject matter as well as its tastefully maintained house and grounds. Though “Constitution Charlie’s” old Snee Farm is down to only 28 acres from its original magnificent 700, the Charles Pinckney National Historic Site (1240 Long Point Rd., 843/881-5516, www.nps.gov/chpi , daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m., free) that encompasses it is still an important repository of local and national history.
Sometimes called “the forgotten Founder,” Charles Pinckney was not only a hero of the American Revolution and a notable early abolitionist, but one of the main authors of the U.S. Constitution. His great aunt Eliza Lucas Pinckney was the first woman agriculturalist in America, responsible for opening up the indigo trade. Her son Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was one of the signers of the Constitution.
The current main house, doubling as the visitors center, dates from 1828, 11 years after Pinckney sold Snee Farm to pay off debts. That said, it’s still a great example of Lowcountry architecture, replacing Pinckney’s original home, where President George Washington slept and had breakfast under a nearby oak tree in 1791 while touring the south. Another highlight at this National Parks Service-administered site is the half-mile, self-guided walk around the site, some of it on boardwalks over the marsh.
No matter what anyone tells you, no one is buried underneath the tombstone in the grove of oak trees bearing the name of Constitution Charlie’s father, Colonel Charles Pinckney. The marker incorrectly states the elder Pinckney’s age, so it was put here only as a monument. A memorial to the colonel is in the churchyard of the 1840s-era Christ Church about a mile down Long Point Road.