Willie McRae, the owner of Boone Hall Plantation, passed away last week.
For more than 300 years, Boone Hall Plantation has been working farm and forestland, first as a lucrative plantation and later as one of the most popular attractions in Charleston.
The McRae family’s love story for Lowcountry land began like so many others. Willie's parents often visited friends in the area and on one visit they discovered an iconic Southern plantation for sale. Willie's father purchased the property in 1955 for his wife. The family moved to the property when he was 1-year-old and soon after, his mother opened the property to tourists.
In November 2019, Willie signed a conservation easement with Lowcountry Land Trust to permanently protect Boone Hall Plantation from development. Boone Hall’s conservation easement consists of nearly 600 acres, including 370 acres of forestland and a mile and a half of creek frontage.
Willie was honored with the Order of the Palmetto award on Jan. 6, the highest civilian honor in South Carolina.
The award was given on the Cotton Dock at the plantation.
Details of the conservation easement were published in the Moultrie News
“Boone Hall is certainly one of the most significant conservation projects in South Carolina in the past generation, perhaps ever,” said Raleigh West, South Carolina Conservation Bank executive director. “Given its history, public use, scenic beauty and the growth pressure in Charleston, it’s in a class of its own. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. McRae and his family. Without his vision for conserving Boone Hall, this outcome would have been impossible.”