When Jerre and Nancy Weckhorst, along with John Crago bought parcels of property in 1981, they had no idea of the historic scope and significance of their investment.
As soon as they started clearing the land to build their forever home, they came across a figurative – and literal treasure trove of artifacts. It seemed as though with every step Jerre and Nancy took on the grounds, something new was unearthed. A chip of a ceramic dinner plate from the mid-1800s, a Union soldier’s button, a small toy from the Gullah Freedmen’s Town or ancient earthenware pottery pieces; each day was blessed with a new discovery.
The significance of these artifacts was not known, but the new owners knew they had something important on their hands. Therefore, they took it upon themselves to contact the state of South Carolina and inform them of their discovery. The State, in turn, called in Chicora Foundation, a public, non-profit heritage preservation organization, to assess the ruins.
Below are some articles, from Hilton Head’s local newspaper, The Island Packet, dating back to the early 80s.
Chicora was astounded at the vastness, value and volume of the haul.
Knowing that Jerre, Nancy and Crago had a limited budget, the Foundation brought in a slew of volunteers to help gently excavate the property.
Chicora provided detailed assessments of the collection and advised a long-term preservation strategy of the estate. Then, Jerre took it upon himself to submit some of the find to the National Register of Historic Places. He single-handedly efforted the property be put on the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.
This recognition allowed for preservation easements, grants for planning and rehabilitation and a bronze plaque, distinguishing the 170 Dillon Rd.’s worth.
After Jerre passed away in May, 2021 of complications from cancer, his wife, Nancy sold the house on the property.
Today, Mitchelville Place is welcoming guests as an all-inclusive 4.5-acre vacation rental property. It’s well-suited to host private gatherings. The main house sleeps up to 15 guests, with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths, including a Bridal Party Suite. The adjacent Barn triples as a large, indoor event space. For more information about the new Mitchelville Place, go their website.