Ever wanted to be a bonafide plantation owner? Now is your chance. The economic crisis has forced many South Carolina plantation owners to place their properties on the market in recent years. Hard as it may be to believe, tucked away at the end of many dirt roads in the Palmetto State are estates still standing that trace their roots back to the seventeenth century. Yes, that is the 1600s. Sherman’s men did their best to destroy as many of these estates as possible. The collapse of the slave system during the Civil War did the rest. Still, enough held on to serve as hunting lodges, paper mills, wildlife refuges, and retreats for wealthy Northerners during the Gilded Age and after. Such was the case with Hobcaw, the plantation owned by industrialist Bernard Baruch pictured at right. During Reconstruction such land was selling for as little as 3 cents an acre. Today, a plantation will set you back $3 to $20 million. Aspiring Rhett Butlers should be aware that annual maintenance averages an additional $500,000.

(image/Hobcaw Plantation, Georgetown County, S.C./LOC)