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The Charleston Tea Plantation's History

In the 1700's the Camellia Sinensis first arrived in the United States from China. Several attempts were made in South Carolina over the next 150 years to propagate and produce tea for consumption, but none were triumphant.  Not until 1888, when Dr. Charles Shepard founded the Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville, South Carolina did American grown tea become a reality.  In Summerville, Dr. Shepard created award winningDr. Charles Shepard with Border teas until his death in 1915.  For the next forty-eight years the tea plants grew wild at Pinehurst.

In 1963, a 127 acre potato farm located on Wadmalaw Island in the Lowcountry of CTP Entrance Sign with BorderSouth Carolina was purchased and Shepard's tea plants were transplanted from Pinehurst to the farm.  For the next 24 years research was conducted on this experimental farm.  In 1987, William Barclay Hall purchased the land.  Hall, a third-generation tea taster who received his formal training during a four-year tea apprenticeship in London, England, converted the research and development farm to a commercial operation.  Thanks to Hall's persistence the Charleston Tea Plantation became and still is the home of American Classic Tea, 100% grown in America.    

In 2003, the Bigelow Family purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation and formed a partnership with former owner William Hall.  The Bigelow's brought sixty-five years of experience in the specialty tea business to the Plantation and the American Classic brand.  Since 2003 the Charleston Tea Plantation has transformed into a true American icon.  American Classic Tea has maintained its faithful fans since its start in the late 1980's and has continued to prosper as a result of consumers wanting to experience tea grown  100% and produced in America.  Today the Charleston Tea Plantation offers more than just a cup of fresh tea.  Thanks to the Bigelow Family, the true working tea farm presents a learning experience unlike any other in the country.  The Charleston Tea Plantation is a living piece of American history! 

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