Closest to the river along Plantation Street is the brick old kitchen where fires were kept burning throughout the day for cooking. Having kitchens separated from the main house distanced it from the hazards and temperatures of the roaring fire especially during the hot summer months.
The brick path running from the Kitchen to the Main House was called the Battercake Express, pictured here in 1928.
Inside, one can see the iron oven door to the left of the massive fireplace, and a huge copper pot hanging from the cooking crane. (just giving a little more context in case they don’t listen to all the segments and don’t know who Harriet is) Harriet Smith, born around 1856, was one of the last born into slavery on the plantation. Her mother Ellen (originally Ellen Anderson)…was listed as…Harriett’s mother Ellen Smith (originally Ellen Anderson) was listed as the cook in records from the mid 1800’s. Looking to the right, one can see the carved-out brick where Ellen and other cooks scraped their knives to sharpen them, wearing down the brick over the years.
From old pictures, we know that there were several other structures to the right of the Old Kitchen building. One of them appears to have stored firewood for the kitchen. It is unknown exactly what became of these structures. Now, the space houses a beautiful herb garden which reminds us of the importance of herbs and edible plants for cooking and medicinal purposes in early colonial life. (*as far as I can tell, they would’ve had herbs somewhere but can’t say that it was in this space originally, esp. with all those random buildings there) Next to the old kitchen is the location of the Plantation’s original herb garden where herbs and edible plants were grown for cooking and medicinal purposes. Today it remains an herb garden, with the addition of flowers and a more formal design than it originally would have boasted.