Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis




Public History

First Advisor

Marjorie J. Spruill


In 1961, Walnut Grove manor, an Upcountry South Carolina plantation house built around 1765, was donated to the Spartanburg County Historical Association (SCHA) for preservation and rehabilitation as a museum. James E. 'Buck' Buchanan worked as the plantation's director from 1961 until his death in 1974. Buchanan, with a background as an artist, curated Walnut Grove in a way that reflected his experience as a painter and store-front exhibit designer as well as his interest in the story of early Upcountry South Carolina settlers. Privileging the Upcountry narrative he wished to tell over authenticity, during his tenure as director Buchanan restored the main house to its late eighteenth and early nineteenth century façade, brought historic buildings from across the Upstate to Walnut Grove Plantation and rehabilitated them to replace structures that had once existed at Walnut Grove but had been lost over time, and fully reconstructed one building that had not survived. As a result, Walnut Grove Plantation can be viewed not only as a museum focused on Upcountry South Carolina History, but also as a monument to Buchanan's unique vision.

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