The Plan for Pine Island
Pine Island has an extensive story, containing thousands of years of Sea Island history. Since the 1800s, the land has been privately owned and used as a recreation destination by various property owners. This history has been unavailable to the community for more than 150 years, and our team has spent the past year learning about the land and its connection to the past to develop a plan to protect, preserve and activate these resources.
As part of our due diligence, our team partnered with the Archaeology/History team from the Mitchelville Freedom Park to develop a detailed understanding of the property’s historical significance. These findings are incorporated into our plans specifically to preserve the multi-generational history of the property and provide a foundation for a long-term, stewardship plan for both heritage and environmental resources.
Our commitment is to bring to light the history of the property in a way no other development could.
Timeline of Private Ownership
Thomas Lee of New York began purchasing the parcels that would become Pine Island in the 1800s. Lee is credited with building the main home and outbuildings on Pine Island as a lodge for himself and guests during visits. These buildings, which made up the original Pine Island Plantation Complex, were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
Lee sold the Property to Arthur Elting of New York, who enjoyed occasional visits to the Property for hunting and recreation until his death. Following his death, the Property was equally divided between Elting’s widow and the Philips Exeter Academy of New Hampshire.
Theodora Ayer Randolph
Shortly after Elting’s passing, his widow renounced her claim to the Property. The Property was held solely by Phillips Exeter Academy until 1949 when it was sold to Theodora Ayer Randolph of New York.
Robert & Frances Johnson
In 1951, Randolph transferred the property to Robert and Frances Johnson of New York.
The Hanna Family
The Johnsons held the Property until 1960 when it was sold to the The Hanna Family. Over the past six decades, the property has been used as a recreation destination and for timber farming, with the goal of ultimately developing the land for expanded recreational and residential use.
In 2023, the Hanna family sold the property to Pine Island Property Holdings, LLC.
“The owner’s plan is to uncover, preserve and enhance the remarkable history of this property.”
– Larry Rowland, Ph.D., University of South Carolina – Beaufort