Prior to its ownership by Henry Ford, the land was made up of three separate plantations – Dublin, established in 1747; Silk Hope, established in 1750; and Cherry Hill, established in 1770. The plantations contributed to the greater Savannah economy through the production of rice and cotton, where both crops thrived during the decades following the Revolutionary War. Following the Civil War, however, life on the plantations slowed after land was destroyed in the wake of Union armies.
The land was brought back to life during the 1920’s when Henry Ford arrived to unite the three plantations and establish his own. In 1936 he built the home that is now known as the Main House, and he converted the rice mill into his own personal laboratory. The Ford Plantation’s establishment played a vital role in the growth of the town of Richmond Hill. Ford built new schools, providing educational tools, and recruiting teachers. He also built clinics and recruited health care professionals. Finally, Ford forbade hunting, allowing the animals indigenous to the area to thrive. Editor’s Note: one of these nasty beasts was captured on Jen’s parents’ property in 2008.
After Ford’s death, ownership of his plantation changed hands numerous times until 1998, when it was purchased and converted into the 400-family community it is today.
To learn more about the Ford Plantation, click here.