This Georgian-style house in Woodruff was built around 1793 by planter Thomas Williamson. The design, perfectly symmetrical down to the twin fireplaces in the west first floor sitting room, is in keeping with the architecture of the period.
The home is also reflective of what was popular in Virginia during this time – particularly the Flemish bond brickwork – as Williamson was a native Virginian. The acreage surrounding the house was farmed as a cotton plantation.
Jesse Crooks acquired the property in 1813, after Williamson’s death. It eventually passed into the hands of Crooks’ daughter, Katie, and her husband, George Nicholls. The simple brick house was purposefully built on a high ridge overlooking the South Tyger River and is situated within a productive pecan grove. Though it has been modified a few times over the years, including the lowering of the roof line after a fire in the 1800s, it retains the same general characteristics as when it was built.
The first floor is raised five feet from the ground to allow for a full basement, complete with an earthen floor and a fireplace, which was used as a residence for domestic slaves. Though much of the original plantation land has been sold and made into a golf course, the house has been restored to its original appearance by the current owners.
The Nicholls-Crook House is listed in the National Register, which adds the following:
This two-story brick house was constructed ca. 1800 by Jesse Crook, a Spartanburg County planter. Elements of 18th century architecture are evident in the style of the house and as such they are significant for their early appearance in Upcountry South Carolina plantation residence design. The house shows influence of Virginia architecture, particularly the Flemish bond brickwork, the chamfered brickwork of the chimneys, the Georgian symmetry in the three-bay façade, the segmental arches over windows and doorways, the wide windows of the front and rear facades, and the joined chimneys of the eastern façade. The Virginia architectural influence can be traced to the fact that James Crook, father of the builder, was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1746 and moved to the Spartanburg District just prior to the Revolution. Wooden additions were added in the nineteenth century, but have since been removed or deteriorated. The interior includes large fireplaces and an original hand-carved mantel.
Nicholls-Crook House Gardens
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