Between the Waters is a virtual tour of Hobcaw Barony. This is a functioning prototype that provides examples of content and interactivity that will be expanded in a future edition.
The home page consists of a map of Hobcaw Barony. Mouse over the map to reveal clickable "hot spots" that open detailed information on landmarks, objects and people.
The site has four focus sites: Friendfield Village, Hobcaw House, the Rice Field, and Clam Bank Landing. Immersive 3D modules allow a user to explore these locations in greater detail. To navigate:
For "Street View" style interfaces use the mouse scroll wheel or track pad to navigate forward and backward through the scenes.
For panoramic interfaces use mouse/left click or the track pad to view a room or landscape in 360 degrees. Click on the red hot spots to open information panels in the panoramas.
Winyah Bay is a coastal estuary created by the convergence of five rivers: the Waccamaw, the Little Pee Dee, the Great Pee Dee, the Black and the Sampit. Surrounding Hobcaw Barony on its southern and eastern shores, Winyah Bay is bordered by thousands of acres of former rice fields. Within the bay are numerous marsh islands, home to alligators, migrating shorebirds, eagles and osprey. Three of these islands, North, South and most of Cat Island, comprise the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center, which was willed to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in 1976 by the late Tom Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox.
The figure of a man reading a newspaper on "Krock Island" represents Arthur Krock (1886-1974). He was a reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal when he first met Bernard Baruch in Paris in 1919, where Baruch was a delegate to the Paris Peace Conference. Introduced by Herbert Bayard Swope, the editor of The New York World, Krock and Baruch became close friends and Krock was a frequent guest on hunting trips at Hobcaw. Baruch urged Adolph Ochs to hire Krock at The New York Times, where he went on to become the paper's principal political writer and analyst and the first journalist to win four Pulitzer awards.
Junior was Bernard Mannes Baruch Jr., Bernard and Annie Griffen Baruch's middle child and only son, born in 1903. In addition to Belle and Junior the Baruchs had a third child, Renee, born in 1906. Junior was a member of the New York Stock Exchange from 1928 to 1936. Commissioned in the Naval Reserve in 1937 he served in World War II, in Naval Intelligence, where he rose to the rank of commander. Renee Baruch married Robert Samstag in 1935 and lived on a country estate in Pound Ridge, New York. None of the Baruch siblings had children.
The man depicted here appears to be rowing from Georgetown to Hobcaw. This signifies Hobcaw's relative inaccessibility; until 1937 when the Georgetown bridge was constructed, Hobcaw could only be reached by water. In fact, in the days when plantation houses were first built along Winyah Bay, not only was there no bridge, but also few passable roads. In those days, people living on the Waccamaw Neck used the rivers as "roads" and docks as reception areas for visitors. The boat seen here is probably a bateau, a shallow-draft, flat-bottomed boat introduced to North America by French explorers and used extensively by Waccamaw Neck residents during the Baruch era.
Native Americans enjoyed an abundance of turkeys for thousands of years before European settlers arrived in America, but by the early 20th century overhunting and habitat destruction had severely diminished the wild turkey population. In the last few decades efforts to reestablish the birds have been very successful and today they once again number in the millions. Belle Baruch contributed to this endeavor by buying wild turkeys to augment Hobcaw's population and making them off-limits to hunters. Hobcaw's wild turkey population is now estimated to be at around 1,000.
In his biography, Baruch writes that, at his mother's urging, he "always sought to improve conditions [in the South] and somehow to help improve the Negro's lot." He goes on to explain that most of Hobcaw's black residents were illiterate when he bought the property. In order to provide an education for their children he established the Strawberry Schoolhouse. His oldest daughter, Belle Baruch, took special interest in the school and designated herself as unofficial truant officer of Hobcaw. Bernard Baruch's memoirs relate that Belle once went so far as to wade into a swamp after two boys who were skipping class.
In 1936, after much prodding, Bernard Baruch sold part of Hobcaw Barony, including Alderly and Bellefield plantations, to his daughter Belle. The property included the remains of a 19th century house which the superstitious among Hobcaw's residents were convinced was haunted by the ghost of its former owner. Belle was characteristically dismissive of these concerns and immediately started plans to build a new house on the Bellefield grounds. The house was decorated to reflect her love of hunting and was more casual and comfortable than the formal, elegant Hobcaw House. Belle lived at Bellefield until her death in 1964.
Belle Baruch was 13 when she killed her first deer, the only one bagged that day by a group of hunters otherwise composed of adult men. Shooting that deer deeply affected Belle and she never killed another; as an adult she rarely allowed guests at Hobcaw to hunt deer on the property. Late in life, Belle Baruch and her partner Ella Severin adopted an abandoned fawn, which they named Deary-Deer. Staffers remember that Deary-Deer roamed the grounds and even the Bellefield house freely.
Horses figured prominently in life at Hobcaw Barony, particularly for Belle Baruch. She rode competitively from an early age and by 1928 she had begun to compete in international show jumping. At these competitions she quickly gained attention, not only for her skill and courage, but because she was often the only American and the only female competitor. Over the next decade, she won more than 300 awards in international equestrian competitions, including first place in the prestigious Paris Horse Show in 1931, where she was the only rider to achieve a perfect score. In her forties, Belle traded flying over hurdles on horseback for the similarly thrilling sensation of piloting small aircraft.
It was on Debordieu Beach that Belle Baruch worked as a volunteer coastal observer for U.S. Naval Intelligence during WWII. She and her assistant Lois Massey scanned the shore for German submarines and U-boats from the "grass shack" a thatched shelter used for fishing, picnics, and overnight camping. Several times, while on a night patrol under a state-imposed blackout, they saw suspicious activity and drove to Georgetown by the light of the moon and stars to report it. A section of Debordieu Beach belonged to Arcadia Plantation, purchased in 1906 by Baltimore pharmacist and Bromo-Seltzer inventor, Dr. Issac Emerson. The portion of Arcadia east of Highway 17 has since been sold for private development.
The drawing of a turret represents Civil War-era fortifications located south of the King's Highway at Frasers Point. 1800 feet of earthen banks running from northwest to southeast were built to fortify this location in an effort to guard the mouth of Winyah Bay and secure the bay and rivers inland. Light artillery troops occupied the site in late 1864 but were soon removed, along with all Confederate troops and goods on the Waccamaw Neck, in the face of the Union advance.
Georgetown, founded in 1729, is a historic port city across Winyah Bay from Hobcaw Barony. Some historians believe that American history began here in 1526 with the earliest settlement in North America, a Spanish colony on the Waccamaw Neck called San Miguel de Gualdape. In the 19th century Georgetown was a prosperous port, exporting more rice than any port in the world. When Bernard Baruch was at Hobcaw, where he prohibited telephones, he placed calls to New York or Washington from a public phone in Georgetown. Hard of hearing, Baruch spoke loudly, and locals often eavesdropped in hopes of picking up stock tips.
These buildings may represent rice planters' summer homes. While the Waccamaw Neck climate was well-suited to growing rice, it was hostile to human health during the long months of heat and humidity. In Down by the Riverside historian Charles Joyner cites travelers' diaries which describe the flooded rice fields as producing a "noxious and intolerable" "effluvium." This "effluvium," also known as miasma, was believed to be the cause of malaria, leading many planters to relocate to summer homes near the beach, where, unlike their slaves, they enjoyed a breezier, healthier climate.
One of Bernard Baruch's favorite practical jokes was to send his visitors snipe hunting, which he referred to as "initiation in the Hobcaw Snipe Club." The initiates would be sent to a hunting stand with a bag and lantern, where they were instructed to whistle loudly to attract "snipes." Before long, realizing they had been duped, they descended from the stand to the great amusement of their colleagues. According to Baruch's memoirs, the roster of the Hobcaw Snipe Club included many men distinguished in "finance, industry, law, letters and statecraft."
One of several African-American cemeteries on Hobcaw, Marietta Cemetery, also called Friendfield, is still in use. Minnie Kennedy's brother, Edwin, is buried there, along with his cousin, Arthur Kennedy, with whom he drowned in a 1929 boating accident. As Minnie tells the story, after the accident Edwin's body could not be found. That night Edwin appeared to his other sister, Nettie, in a dream, telling her that his body was in a river bend near Fraser's Point. The next day searchers looked along the riverbank in the area Nettie dreamed about and found Edwin's body caught in the branches of a fallen tree.
North Inlet is an ocean-dominated estuary featuring exceptionally high water quality and extensive salt marshes surrounded by a small, forested, relatively undeveloped watershed. For more than forty years the North Inlet, along with Winyah Bay, has been recognized on state and national levels as a site of particular interest for comparative ecological studies. It is part of the North Inlet – Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, administered by the University of South Carolina's Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, which also operates the Baruch Field Laboratory on the Hobcaw property.
Forests of different kinds cover much of Hobcaw Barony. Some are longleaf pine, a fire-dependent evergreen which once covered more than 90 million acres of the coastal plain, from Virginia to Texas. Today, these open, park-like forests occupy less than 4 percent of their original range. Over the decades they have been cleared for farming and development, or replaced by plantations of faster-growing pines, such as the loblolly. At Hobcaw, the Belle W. Baruch Foundation manages the longleaf pine forest with periodic burns, and Clemson University scientists at the Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science study the environmental impact of changing land-use patterns, coastal natural resource conservation, forestry, water quality and watershed management.
Today Barnyard Village, located near the Friendfield rice fields, consists of the remains of three houses and the ruins of the Friendfield Rice Mill. Though the heyday of the rice culture came to an end after Emancipation, the Donaldson family grew rice on their composite parcel of plantations beginning in 1875 when they bought the property from the Alstons. The Donaldsons were still operating the mill in 1902 when it was destroyed by fire.
Robert J. Donaldson, owner of many of the plantations that today comprise Hobcaw Barony, rented prime duck hunting land to the Annandale Gun Club, one of the earliest duck hunting clubs in Georgetown County, located here. In 1896 President Grover Cleveland was a guest of the club. When his guide, the expert local hunter Sawney Caines, led Cleveland into the marsh, the 250-plus pound president sank to his knees in the deep mud. Caines was able to pull him out but Cleveland's boots stayed behind in the marsh. Bernard Baruch first visited the area in 1904, also a guest of Donaldson, to experience the legendary "hundred duck days" for himself.
The drawing of a king marching down a road – holding an orb and scepter with two people carrying his train and another bowing before him – is Kent's means of identifying the King's Highway, though it may also be a subtle dig at the "barony" of Bernard Baruch. The King's Highway had been the main road along the Waccamaw Neck since white settlement and may have been used earlier by Native Americans. During the colonial period the King's Highway ran from Boston to Charleston, South Carolina, linking all thirteen colonies. A well-maintained sandy road, the portion that runs through Hobcaw Barony is still in use.