The Rankin Plantation in Florence, South Carolina is the venue of the annual Skirmish At Gambles Hotel Reenactment. The Rankin House, named for its new owner in 1974, was originally the Columns Plantation. This plantation, located in the Mars Bluff community east of Florence, was established by a Pee Dee region planter, William Rogers Johnson, in 1854. Johnson was a physician and planter who served as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives and the State Senate from Marion District. Dr. Johnson is said to have used local timber and brick made onsite to build the plantation’s distinctive manor house which exists today.
The house is a classic example of the Greek-Revival style of architecture, favored by affluent cotton planters in the Antebellum South. The simple, but elegant home, with its white painted facade, features five downstairs rooms and five upstairs rooms with a basement. Its most prominent feature is the series of 22 colossal Doric columns which encircle the home’s wraparound porch and which give the plantation its modern name – The Columns.