Originally part of a 16,000-acre land grant to John Colleton called Fairlawn Barony, the high bluff at the headwaters of the Cooper River was originally referred to as “Stone Landing” and was named for the high grade of marl found near the surface of the soil. This original name was dropped sometime in the 1700s and the current name of Stony Landing was adopted. Because of the natural advantages of its setting, it became a crossroads of early commerce and was extremely important to the economy of the early South Carolina colony.
Traffic through Stony Landing benefited not only those traveling from Charleston to the northern part of the state, but also planters in upper Berkeley County that needed their goods transported to Charleston. Supplies for the interior regions were brought up the Cooper River by boat, unloaded at Stony Landing and carried by Indian carriers or pack horsemen (and later by wagons) up the Cherokee Path. The Cherokee Path went through the Congaree, Cherokee, High Hills of the Santee and the Waxhaws, and then on westward to the Mississippi. Rice, indigo, and cotton planters in upper Berkeley County hauled their goods to Stony Landing to be loaded on flatboats or schooners to be transported to Charleston.
The Stony Landing House was built circa 1843 by the Charleston merchant, John H. Dawson, who acquired the land in 1839. Later residents would also include Dr. St. Julien Ravenel, who experimented with the use of marl to produce lime. He and Gen. C. H. Stevens founded the Colleton Lime Works on this property and produced top quality lime for agricultural purposes. Later, on June 12, 1882, The Stony Landing Company was organized for the manufacture of stone brick and building lime.
During the Civil War, in extreme secrecy, the Little David was constructed at the landing site claiming title as the first successful semisubmersible torpedo boat attack in the history of naval warfare.
The house remained a private residence until the 1970s, most recently lived in by the Dennis family. There were 622 acres of land in 1919 when Sen. Edward James Dennis bought the property compared to the 2,319 acres of land in 1839 when John H. Dawson purchased it at a Master-in-equity sale.
The Stony Landing Plantation house has been restored and is furnished with period reproduction furniture. Tours of the house are available upon request and based on staff availability.