Building Description Stoney-Baynard House, Hilton Head Island South Carolina

The Stoney-Baynard House occupies a prehistoric dune ridge located toward the south end of Hilton Head Island slightly east of Calibogue Sound within what is now Sea Pines Plantation. The site is elevated. rising to a height of 25' to 27' above sea level. Today, tabby walls of the main house are substantially ruined, but enough fabric survives to establish that the building was rectangular in plan. measuring 40'-6" north-to-south x 46' -6" east-to-west. Only the northeast corner stands to what is probably its original height (about 17'-0" above present ground level). Elsewhere, walls have disassociated, disappearing almost completely along the building's west side and standing to a maximum height of 6'-0" elsewhere.

While it appears almost certain that the dwelling incorporated one main story raised about 5'-0" over an elevated basement. an additional (second) floor cannot be entirely excluded without systematic excavation of wall falls. Interior organization is now confused, tumbles of fallen brick, depressions, and other features suggesting that cross partitions divided front from rear spaces in some kind of deep, double-pile plan ordered about a central hallway at the first-floor level. Internal chimneys are likely, positioned between front and rear rooms.

Extant beam sockets and excavation attest that porches fronted the north, south, and east facades. It is probable that the porch system also extended along the now largely destroyed west facade to enclose the building on all four sides, however this possibility needs confirmation by excavation. Porch supports, excavated south and east, indicate that porches were about 9' wide and raised at basement level upon rectangular brick piers measuring 12" x 2'-0" in plan. Nothing is known of the first-floor porch supports above. The principal entrance was from the south, a splayed set of brick steps giving access to the first floor porch and living area. No evidence survives for any staircase linking the interior spaces.

Exterior tabby walls measure 1'-1 O" in width at the basement level. At the first-floor level, wall thickness is reduced to 1'-6" in a way which produces narrow ledges on both interior and exterior building faces. Impressions and other details indicate exterior tabby walls were cast using timber "molds" (forms) measuring 2'-0" in height. Following completion of each tabby round, the molds were struck and reused at successively higher building levels. Impressions of removable timber ties ("pins") holding inner and outer faces of the molds together during casting operations are mostly rectangular in section, measuring approximately 3"x 1 1/2" and distanced approximately 2'-6" - 2'-9" on center. Around the basement openings of the east facade, there is evidence that circular dowels were substituted for rectangular formwork ties.

"Ghost" impressions preserved along the interior face of the north facade indicate that the first-floor joists ran north-to-south, measured about 3' x 12' in section, and were positioned about 2' on center. Sockets attest that shallow timber lintels, about 2" deep, spanned over first floor window openings.

Nothing is known about the roof frame, except that it was probably of a hipped form. If the main roof was carried over the porches and supported on a colonnade cannot be confirmed, although structural evidence now visible suggests this possibility.

Facades feature continuos 2" set-backs at first floor level. Consequently, principal living areas appear raised on a high plinth. This resemblance is strengthened and emphasized by molding applied in lime monar at the junction. Where still extant, patches of the original finish show that the exterior faces of the building received at least two coats of oyster-shell lime stucco, the final coat scored to imitate s1onework. Scoring defined blocks 2'-0" long and laid-up as regular 12" high courses. and straight arches over window openings.

Facade organization is now dislocated by falls and structural disassociation. Assuming symmetry, the remains of the north facade suggests a five-bay arrangement at the first-floor level, with large window openings measuring approximately 7'-3" (high) x 3'-3" (wide) paired right and left of what was possibly a central doorway. Basement window openings were smaller (measuring 2'-0" high x 3'-0" wide) positioned between, rather than below, the first-floor window openings.

Except that it had three, unequally spaced basement doorways, nothing certain is known about the south facade. The east and west facades are fragmented. On the east facade, two basement window openings show clear signs of enlargement.

Too little is preserved of the architecture to draw definite conclusions regarding influences that inspired the design of the Stoney-Baynard main house. This is unfortunate since it appears to be an unusual building form for the Beaufort District with its almost square, double pile plan, tabby exterior walls, and enclosing porches on at least three (most probably four) sides. The dwelling's original roof frame, which if still extant might provide crucial information about the designer's intentions, has entirely disappeared. However, assuming the northwest exterior corner stands near its original height, then it can be seen that the main roof was hipped rather than gabled. But, questions regarding junctions and details remain open. Was, for example, the main roof carried over the porches and supported on a colonnade as often the case in Louisiana? Or, alternatively, were roofs enclosing the porches treated as elements separate from the principal roof frame, a condition far more common in South Carolina? Tantalizing as these architectural puzzles may be, neither excavation nor architectural analysis has so far provided answers.

Fragments of three outbuildings survive northeast of the main house These are arranged in single file and aligned NE to follow the old dune ridge on which the principle settlement was erected. Nearest the house, Structure 1 is represented by a 2-0" wide tabby foundation which define what was probably a raised, timber framed structure measuring 28'- 4" x 16'-8" overall. Judging by the width of its foundations, Structure 1 was one and one-half or even two stories high. There is evidence for an exterior end chimney, measuring 6'-6" in width, fabricated from brick and tabby brick centered on each of the short sides, but nothing certain is known of the building's plan or facade treatment.

The second structure was slightly larger. measuring about 30'-3'12" x 27'-3" overall, but there is no visible evidence for any chimney to heat the interior spaces. It has been suggested that the tabby foundation. measuring 1'-7" in width. consists of blocks salvaged from another structure during the Civil War but this conjecture requires confirmation.

Most distantly removed from the main house, Structure 3 is now represented by a massive tabby chimney base measuring 6'-6" x 3'-0 overall. The size and form of the largely destroyed building to which the chimney base belonged has not been ascertained.

Too little architectural fabric survives to allow certain identification of any of the outbuildings described. However, close proximity to the main house and overall organization suggests that Structure 1 accommodated house slaves.