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“M” is for Mepkin Abbey

“M” is for Mepkin Abbey [Berkeley County]. Located on the Cooper River, Mepkin Abbey has a diverse history. In the 18th century, the property served as the seven-thousand acre rice plantation and family home of Henry Laurens. In 1936, publisher Henry Luce purchased the property. 
Luce and his wife Claire Booth hired architect Edward Durell Stone to construct several modernist brick structures. They also hired landscape architect Loutrel Briggs to create a formal camellia and azalea garden overlooking the river. In 1949, in keeping with Mrs. Luce’s wishes, the property was donated to a religious community and Mepkin became a monastery housing Trappist monks of the Cistercian order. Today Mepkin Abbey reflects an unusual blending of tradition, modern aesthetics and spiritual transcendence, making it one of the more unique places in South Carolina.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.