In 1733, General James Oglethorpe established the Colony of Georgia, named for King George II of England, and laid out its first city, Savannah. It wasn’t long before the earliest English colonists began branching outward to the surrounding regions. One of the earliest grants made by Oglethorpe was in 1734, for 2,000 acres on the Ogeechee River at Sterling Bluff where present-day Ford Plantation sits. The grant was made to Hugh and William Sterling. The Sterlings ultimately abandoned the grant, and the land passed to John Harn, who named it Dublin Plantation and began cultivating rice as part of an agricultural enterprise. In 1747, Harn planted the now massive Live Oaks that form the letter “H” at the entrance to The Main House.
In the early 1920s, a stranger from Michigan unexpectedly appeared. Industrialist Henry Ford purchased massive amounts of land in the area. He eventually accumulated 70,000 acres, covering 120 square miles. In 1936, Ford broke ground for a beautiful Greek revival style mansion on the banks of the Ogeechee River. The grand house, made of Savannah-gray brick, had marble steps, air conditioning and an elevator. It sat on 55 acres of manicured lawns and flowering gardens. The house became the center of social gatherings with visitations by Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and DuPonts. It remains the centerpiece of The Ford Plantation today. For more on the history of The Ford Plantation, click here.