Welcome to Selmont Hall. The property totals 9 acres and is the new, permanent home of Daufuskie Marsh Tacky Society. Established in July 2017, this capital project has been made possible by a private partnership with the Selmont Family. The biggest accomplishment of the overall project to date is the ‘resurrection’ of the historically significant Simmons House. We began work on the house in spring of 2020 and should be finished by summer 2021.
The house of Agnes Simmons was estimated to be built in the 1920’s and was abandoned by the family for decades, slowly being reclaimed by nature and giving way to wood rot, termite damage and weather. Daves Rossell, Professor of Architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design, conducted an in-depth study of Gullah vernacular architecture throughout the Lowcountry and featured this home in his findings. He wrote in summary, that the Simmons House is one of the finest examples of Caribbean and Creole influenced Gullah homes still remaining upon the barrier islands and that it is a testament to the relative wealth that the native islanders of Daufuskie accumulated as a result of the once booming oystering industry. Then in the 1950’s, the Savannah River and surrounding estuaries were declared too polluted to support commercial harvesting of oysters and the beds were shut down. Almost overnight, thousands of native islanders lost their jobs. Consequently, most families deserted Daufuskie in search of work.
Every effort was made to reclaim and reuse materials from the property and to maintain the home’s existing foundation, foot print, floor plan, paint colors, hip roof pitch and character. The grounds surrounding the Simmons House feature a camellia tree said to be pre-Civil War, a fig tree, a mulberry tree, lemon trees, pecan trees, live oaks, wisteria, jasmine, bulb flowers, wild pollinator flowers and resurrection ferns. Future plans for the grounds include additional native seasonal gardens and walking trails with educational signage and literature for the public to enjoy.
Comprehensive development plans for the property collectively named Selmont Hall in addition to the native seasonal gardens walking trail will include a Marsh Tacky museum, social club space, retail shop, office space, overnight accommodations for staff, interns, clinicians and special guests, a riding arena and an 8 stall barn with living quarters.
The Simmons House before:
The Simmons House After:
You can have a helping hand in developing the permanent home of Daufuskie Marsh Tacky Society. Now is your chance to participate in preserving one of the last remaining historically significant Gullah cottages on the island so that it can have new life in perpetuity dedicated to preserving the critically endangered South Carolina State Heritage Horse. There are may ways to give and be involved, and your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Ask about our legacy naming opportunities!
This project is made possible in part by a grant from South Carolina Parks and Recreation.