Edgewood: Stage of Southern History
For nearly two centuries, the backcountry-styled plantation house named Edgewood has been the “stage” for some of the most significant events in Southern history. Originally built in Edgefield, South Carolina, in 1829 for secessionist governor Francis W. Pickens, the house was the home of two remarkable women: Lucy Holcombe Pickens and Eulalie Chafee Salley.
Lucy was celebrated in her time as the “Queen of the Confederacy”. She was the only female to be featured on Confederate currency. Her genteel, yet dynamic, personality and legendary beauty continues to fascinate historians. Her daughter Douschka, who rode with the Red Shirts in 1876, and her slave-confidante Lucinda, who voluntarily stayed after the end of the Civil War, both left their legacies linked to Edgewood. The legacy of Lucy’s granddaughter, Lucy Dugas Tillman, who lost her children and then regained them in a bitter custody battle, linked Edgewood’s next owner, Eulalie, with the nationwide movement for women’s rights. In 1929 after twenty years of neglect, Eulalie rescued Edgewood.
Eulalie was a prominent leader in the early suffrage movement in South Carolina, as well as one of its first woman realtors and business owners. Although Edgewood’s restoration was hampered by the Great Depression, Eulalie moved “the Pickens House” to Aiken and welcomed both the famous and the infamous through the massive front doors.
Recounted by the “voice” of the house, the docudrama, Edgewood: Stage of Southern History, tells the stories of the extraordinary people who lived, worked and visited the house over her long lifetime. The tales range from her memories of the Antebellum era, the War Between the States, the Pickens’ visit to Czarist Russia, the Suffrage movement, the Winter Colony settlement in Aiken, the creation of the Savannah River Site, and the Civil Rights Era.
This one-hour docudrama was funded by several sources including the Humanities Council-SC, the Heritage Corridor, the Julian B. Salley Endowment and the Porter Fleming Foundation.
Today the house is known as the Pickens-Salley House and is located on the University of South Carolina Aiken campus.