Pinopolis was established in 1834 when Dr. Morton Alexander Waring and Frederick Adolphus Porcher built the first houses in the summer plantation retreat village. The men had been friends since their days at Yale and later became brothers-in-law. Another Berkeley County community, Pineville, had experienced a deadly series of “sickly seasons” in the years prior to the settlement of Pinopolis, compelling plantation owners to find a new summer retreat. In 1845, as more people began relocating to the “pineland village,” for which Pinopolis is named, Dr. Waring built an office for his practice near his home.
Dr. Waring was a planter in addition to a doctor, first buying Oakfield Plantation in 1830 and later Chelsea Plantation, where he lived when he was not in Pinopolis. Dr. Waring practiced medicine in the village but also on the surrounding plantations and served as a doctor in the Civil War. After the war, Waring sold his land at Chelsea and moved to Florence. Though why Waring left Pinopolis remains a mystery, historians speculate the move was likely due to the economic devastation that resulted from the collapse of the rice industry, which depended on slavery. As Pinopolis was a planters’ retreat, many residents may have been unable to afford Dr. Waring’s services, and others may have moved away altogether. Dr. Waring died in 1875.
When the Santee River was dammed in 1939 to create Lake Moultrie as part of the Santee Cooper hydroelectric project, many of the Berkeley County plantations once belonging to Pinopolis residents were submerged, including Chelsea Plantation. Today Dr. Morton Waring’s office sits on a large lot along with a modern home. Dr Waring’s house still stands on a separate lot nearby.
The Dr. Morton Waring Office is listed in the National Register as part of the Pinopolis Historic District South:
Pinopolis Historic District South, which contains thirteen properties, consists of the historic core of the planters retreat community of Pinopolis. The district contains numerous early to middle nineteenth century summer houses, the Gothic Revival influenced Pinopolis Methodist Church (ca.1900), and other later nineteenth century buildings. The buildings of the Pinopolis Historic District South are representative of the development of vernacular building forms and construction technology of the nineteenth century. The absence of stylistic pretensions in most of the buildings is typical of pineland village architecture. Beginning in the late eighteenth century lowcountry planters sought respite near their plantations, in resorts like Pinopolis, from the fevers associated with the lowlands in the summer. With the decline of the planter classes after the war, many resort villages turned to commercial ventures for their livelihood, however this was not the case in Pinopolis. Preferring to preserve the quiet community atmosphere of their village, the residents of Pinopolis blocked several proposals that would have attracted development. This decision helped Pinopolis retain its integrity as a pineland village. The district’s properties also include some outbuildings.
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