Also known as the William Elliott House, the Anchorage in historic Beaufort is believed to have been built around 1800, though local lore claims it was built prior to the Revolutionary War. The tabby used to build the manse does imply early construction, yet details of the home indicate that the home was built some years after the war.
The home likely was built by Ralph Emms Elliott, with money left to him by his father, William Elliott, Senior. Though Ralph Elliott owned nearby Cedar Grove plantation, he was not wealthy by typical lowcountry planter standards. However, his father was, and many conclude that Ralph’s inheritance built the impressive three-story home. By the beginning of Civil War it was occupied by Ralph Elliott’s nephew, William Elliott III, who had retired in town from a prosperous life in agriculture and politics.
William Elliott III was a highly successful planter who grew the valuable crop, Sea Island cotton. In fact, the variety that contributed to his wealth was marketed as “Elliott Cream Cotton.” Elliott presented at the 1855 Paris Exposition on Sea Island cotton, delivering his presentation in French. In addition to being one of Beaufort’s most successful planters, Elliott also was known for resigning from the state senate over his opposition to nullification. Elliott had served several terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives and in the South Carolina Senate. Yet he so strongly felt that secession was foolish for the state that he could no longer represent South Carolina once the Ordinance of Secession was voted upon. Elliott died in Flat Rock, North Carolina, in 1863.
In the early twentieth century the home was purchased by a Naval officer, Admiral Beardsley, who christened the home “The Anchorage” after giving it an $80,000 renovation. After his ownership it was used as a guest house for many years.
The Anchorage is listed in the National Register as part of the Beaufort Historic District, which says the following about the area:
Beaufort is significant for its role as a major center of South Carolina’s antebellum plantation culture, its contribution to the history of the Civil War, and for its role it played in African-American history both during and after the war. Architecturally, the district is significant both for the high-style architecture produced by its pre-war planters and for the folk architectural patterns of its post-war African-American community. The antebellum architecture, unlike that of Charleston and Savannah, is generally made up of free standing Federal, Early Classical Revival, and Greek Revival style houses on large lots that is more akin to the architecture of the Southern plantations of the period, plantations brought to town and adapted to the heat of the summer weather and dampness of lowlands, as well as to the aesthetics of their waterfront settings.
The town’s present appearance owes much to the events of the period between ca.1860 and ca. 1935. The buildings and structures constructed during this period display a variety of architectural forms and styles, including Italianate, Gothic Revival, Victorian, Queen Anne, and Neo-Classical, and reflect the development of the town in the last half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. In the 1870s, more modest houses were built on vacant lots in the older parts of town. One type was a five bay I-house, similar in form to many of the antebellum mansions, but reduced in size and of balloon construction using sawn lumber. The second type was a three-bay, gable fronted house, often with Italianate or Eastlake detail. Many antebellum homes were also updated during this period with commercially milled porch details, bay windows, and larger window glass. Colonial Revival made an impact on residential building after the hurricane of 1893, and the bungalow dominated new construction before and after World War I. Commercial construction also reflected increasing prosperity. The historic district includes 475 contributing resources and 350 noncontributing resources.
Many thanks to Mrs. John Maag for the below photo. Her late husband was a photographer at the Parris Island Marine Corp Recruit Depot from 1947 through 1966.