Plantations Used for Filming Movies

By Rebecca High

One of America's famous and most grandiose claims to historical architecture is the antebellum plantation, that stately sprawling property so innate to the South's panorama. Throughout the years, many movies, music videos and television shows have been shot at plantation locations, but you may also be surprised to learn that some plantation scenes were filmed completely in a studio. Many well-known movies were filmed on American plantations.

South Carolina Plantations

Darby Farm in Chester County hosted many battle scenes from “The Patriot" as well as some from "Valley Forge." Many reenactors also lived temporarily at Darby Farm, in between shooting.

Historic Brattonsville served as the location for the Continental Encampment and the plantation in Camden used in the film. It was also used for parts of Charlotte Selton's (Joely Richardson) plantation. Mansfield Plantation in Georgetown County served as the location for exterior shots of Charlotte Selton's plantation.

Botany Bay Plantation on Edisto Island is what you see in scenes of the slave beach camp in “The Patriot.” Frank Calhoun's (Sam Shepard) homestead from “The Notebook” is also located on Edisto Island.

Middleton Place Plantation in Dorchester County is where the Britisher's ball scene was shot at in “The Patriot.”

Cypress Gardens was used for the location of the Old Spanish Mission Black Swamp Militia's secret island headquarters. This is also where filming wrapped up for "The Patriot." The lake scene from "The Notebook" with imported swans was filmed here.

The nursing home scenes from “The Notebook” were shot at Rice Hope (Black River) Plantation. Although there where rumors that a kit house from the Sears Roebuck Company was the house, these rumors are untrue. Boone Hall Plantation was used for scenes of the Hamilton's summer house. The house that Noah rebuilt in the film is located at Martin's Point Plantation on Wadmalaw Island.

Davant Plantation was featured in “Something to Talk About” starring Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid, and chosen over Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The story goes that within an hour of touring the plantation, director Lasse Hallström had decided to film at Davant.

North Carolina Plantations

Orton Plantation built in 1735 and located beside the Cape Fear River between Wilmington and Southport. It is featured in Frank Capra’s “Firestarter,” as well as “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” “Hounddog,” “A Walk to Remember,” and “Lolita.” Television credits include “One Tree Hill,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “Matlock.”

Louisiana Plantations

Oak Alley is located at 3645 Louisiana State Highway 18 in Vacherie. Built in 1839, the restored antebellum plantation hosts tours and weddings. For filmmakers, Oak Alley is ideal because of the oak-lined avenue leading up to the mansion. "Interview with the Vampire," adapted from a novel by Anne Rice, used Oak Alley Plantation as the home of the two main vampires. In addition, the TV miniseries, “The Long Hot Summer,” was partially filmed at Oak Alley Plantation.

Houmas House Plantation located at 40136 La. 942 in Burnside, is known as the "Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte" mansion, because of the famous Bette Davis blockbuster filmed there in 1964. In 2009, “Revenge of the Bridesmaids” and “Love Marriage Wedding” were also filmed there.

Felicity Plantation in Saint James Parish hosted "The Skeleton Key" starring Kate Hudson. It is located near the Mississippi River, but the filmmakers hand-created the swamps featured in the movie, they’re not natural.

Rosedown Plantation is one of the latest antebellum plantation to be in the spotlight. Located at 12501 La. Hwy. 10 in West Feliciana Parish, Rosedown is owned by the Office of State Parks and is listed as a historic landmark being built in 1834 by the Turnbull family. Some scenes from the graphic novel adaptation, "Jonah Hex," were also shot here.

Ashland Belle Helene Plantation is a Greek-style mansion built in 1842 and located off of State Highway 75, north of Darrow along the river road. Shell Oil Company has maintained the home since 1992, although it isn’t completely renovated and is not open to the public. “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” “Band of Angels,” “The Beguiled” starring Clint Eastwood, and “Fletch Lives “starring Chevy Chase were all partially filmed at Ashland Belle Helene.

Greenwood Plantation at 6838 Highland Road St. Francisville was built in 1830, but destroyed by lightning during the 1900s. It has been rebuilt after years of careful research and was completed in 1984. Since then, “Big Valley,” a remake of the 1960's TV show, has been filmed there, and Greenwood Plantation has also been used in “Drango,” “North and South - Book I,” “North and South - Book II” and “Sister, Sister.”

The Eye Lies: Studio Plantations

"Gone With the Wind," one of American’s most notorious “plantation” movies, was almost completely filmed at what was then known as Selznick International Studios. Now known as Culver Studios, the place has gone through several name changes over the years, but has seen the filming of 1931's “King Kong” as well as most of Spielberg’s “E.T.” These are quite the contrast from the plantation setting of “Gone With the Wind.”

Specifically, the mansion used for Tara in "Gone With the Wind" is located at 9336 Washington Boulevard between Ince and Van Buren, Culver City. Busche Gardens in Pasadena hosted the "Twelve Oaks" barbecues, and remnants of those are still present near Arroyo Boulevard between Bellefontaine Street and Madeline Drive. These gardens were also the grounds of "Xanadu" in “Citizen Kane.”

Other cinematic plantation locations have included Lasky Mesa, Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles in the Simi Valley, featuring "Gone with the Wind," and the 1936 film of "The Charge of the Light Brigade." The area, between Agoura and Woodland Hills, is now known as the Ahmanson Ranch. The final horse ride of Gerald O’Hara (Thomas Mitchell) was also filmed at Calabasas.

About the Author

Rebecca High graduated from Cedarville University, with a B.A. in international studies. As a university student she wrote and edited for "Cedars," the campus newspaper, and was published twice in the "Kamelian," the literary journal of Kishwaukee Community College. She attended the World Journalism Institute convergence course 2009 taught by journalists including Pulitzer Prize-winning Manny Garcia. She has written reviews for Sazze.com