Chinsegut Hill facts for kids
The area now known as Chinsegut Hill was settled by South Carolina native Bird Pearson as part of the 1842 Armed Occupation Act. Pearson named the property Mount Airy because of the constant breeze on the Hill. He sold it to friend and fellow South Carolinian Francis Ederington in the early 1850s and Ederington built the Chinsegut Hill Manor House which still stands today. Ederington purchased additional land and ran it as a plantation, growing corn, tobacco, cotton, sugar cane and citrus. Ederington's daughter continued to live on the Hill after her marriage to Dr. James Russell Snow, a Confederate soldier from South Carolina. They renamed the property Snow Hill. After a tornado in 1898 blew the house 6 degrees off its foundation, Dr. Snow moved his family to another house on the property. The Manor sat vacant until Elizabeth Robins purchased it for $5,000 as a home for her brother Raymond Robins and herself. Raymond gave it its current name of Chinsegut, which is an Inuit word for "The spirit of things lost and regained." Raymond's personal definition was "the place where things of value that were lost are found." Elizabeth wrote about her hopes for the property, "however reminiscent of people or conditions long since passed away, however much of the spirit of the past is garnered here as living influence, or as debris and as ashes, these were for me infinitesimal affairs by comparison with the hope for the Future… For this was to be a place where my fellow dreamer and I should not only rest, but having rested, work as never before." Shortly after the property purchase, Raymond met and married Margaret Dreier Robins and they extended and dramatically improved the property in subsequent years.
The Robinses also increased the historical significance of the property through their involvement in politics. At Chinsegut Hill the Robinses entertained countless prominent guests including Helen Keller, Jane Addams, William Jennings Bryan, Thomas Edison, James Cash Penney, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Senator Claude Pepper, Soviet ambassadors, Britist Labor Minister Margaret Bondfield, Botanist Dr. John Kunkel Small, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. Photographs of scenes and people at Chinsegut Hill in the 1920s and 1930s are available in the Special Collections of the University of Florida's George Smathers Library as well as at the museum located in the Chinsegut Hill Manor House. Using his connections with the Herbert Hoover administration, Raymond eventually brokered a deal to donate the Chinsegut Hill estate to the government with the stipulation that the couple be allowed to live there until their deaths, free of property taxes. By 1932, Robins had donated the house and land back to the federal government for research and philanthropy.
The original Chinsegut Hill and its historical Manor House are managed by the Friends of Chinsegut Hill, Inc., a nonprofit group committed to preserving the property and history of this important site.
Chinsegut Hill Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.