El Dorado Plantation

Deep in the Santee Coastal Reserve, near the South Santee River, lies the ruins of El Dorado. The house was built in 1797, and tragically burned to the ground in 1897. Stories of the strong women of the St. James Santee parish are numerous, this story is no exception. The house was built on land owned by Rebecca Brewton Motte, who purchased 400 acres in 1784. Rebecca helped to design the house along with her son-in law (times 2) Major-General Thomas Pinckney, Sr. Thomas Pinckney was married to both Elizabeth Motte, in 1779, and after her death married her sister, Frances, in 1797. The property remained in the Pinkney family until the late 1950s

Eldorado Plantation 1891
© The Charleston Museum Archives
Front of Ruins January 2023

View from the Front of the House

Away from the main house, down the El Dorado Road trail, there was another small ruins, with the standing chimney below. This must have been an enslaved people’s homestead, the fireplace was far too small, and it was too far from the main house to be an old kitchen.


Flies. Bad bad flies.

El Dorado Plantation

Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area

Trail Map