Brays Island History

Brays Island’s earliest residents were Native Americans who roamed the South Carolina coast. In 1663, British Commander William Hilton wrote about discovering Brays Island, and the land became part of a succession of grants by the King of England. After the Civil War, the then-800-acre plantation passed through several owners and was eventually purchased by Sumner and Virginia Pingree of Boston.

By the 1980s, the farming operation could no longer support the Plantation. Sumner Pingree was approached by real estate developers who wished to divide and sell the property as housing developments. Pingree could not bear to sacrifice the plantation’s genteel way of life.

Instead, he had a vision for a nontraditional community development and sought advice from Robert Marvin, the Southeast’s most acclaimed land planner. Together the pair created a concept for Brays Island Plantation: A limited number of circular lots, one not touching another, ensuring an abundance of preserved, common space and a community existing in harmony with nature.

Today, Brays Island Plantation is one of those rare entities that is debt free and fully controlled by the property owners themselves. The community consists of 325 circular one-acre homesites scattered over 5,500 acres, representing one of the lowest residential densities in the country. An incredible 3,500 acres are set aside as a protected preserve, encompassing quail fields, deer woods, green tree reservoirs, and other natural habitats. When you enter Brays Island, you feel connected to the plantation’s unique history as well as Pingree’s remarkable vision, which has become today’s remarkable reality.