HGTV selects Robert Smalls house as ultimate historic home in U.S.

robert smalls house
Robert Smalls House photo courtesy Cora Bett Thomas Realty

The Robert Smalls house in Beaufort has been voted America’s favorite historic home by HGTV’s Ultimate House Hunt. Almost 900,000 voters participated in the online HGTV poll, which included categories like “Homes With History,” “Waterfront Homes,” Oceanfront Mansions,” Extreme Homes” and “Modern Masterpieces.”

HGTV viewers chose between 11 historic homes that are currently on the market that were nominated for the contest. Smalls former residence beat out others in Italy, Savannah, Dallas, and even an amazing 13th Century home in the English countryside.

A proper choice for winner, indeed.

The house has lots of history and its story is quite amazing.

Smalls was born on the same property in Beaufort on April 5th 1839 to a house slave named Lydia. Lydia was a house servant for plantation owner John K. McKee. McKee had brought Lydia from the Ashdale Plantation to his home on Prince Street to look after his five children.

In 1866, after Smalls’ well-known heroics during the Civil War, he returned to Beaufort and began a life in politics. He purchased the newer 511 Prince Street house, built in 1843, in which he and his mother had been slaves with his Congressional prize money; and he event took in McKee’s elderly wife and cared for her until she passed away. The house was entered on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

On February 23, 1915 Robert died at the ripe old age of 76 and was buried at Tabernacle Baptist Church after what was called the largest funeral ever held in the city of Beaufort.

The home was last sold in 2012, with the new owners at the time paying $1.2 million for the property.

See the full article here with all of the winners and nominees, and enjoy a slide show of the Robert Smalls House.

Read the amazing story of Robert Smalls here. Hopefully, there will be a Hollywood movie to watch one day as well.