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The Kohler Chronicles

Landowner Spotlight: Bill Thomas of Thomas Hall

Mar 23, 2022

One word from Bill Thomas and you know he is one of the fortunate few to truly call Charleston, SC his hometown. Mr. Thomas is a fourth-generation native of James Island, SC and a graduate of The Citadel, where he played football no less. Listening to the accent and cadence of Mr. Thomas is like peeking through a doorway to a time long ago. His stories remind one of sipping iced tea on back porches, strolling under great oaks and days when time – and people – moved much more slowly.

After graduating from The Citadel in the 1970s, Mr. Thomas moved to Virginia to work as a production supervisor for a textile plant, with a starting salary of $13,000 per year. That move started a long and successful business career.

“I always knew I would find my own business model. Since that time in Virginia, I have grown and sold several businesses. I suppose I’m what you’d call an ‘entrepreneurial type.’ I enjoy finding the missing links and developing a way to fill them.” – Mr. Thomas

During his career, Mr. Thomas worked for Abbott Laboratories, a Fortune 100 company, and spent five years working abroad in Europe. He moved back to the Charleston area, for good, in 2001, and currently owns PortWatch Group, a logistics, trucking and warehousing organization.

Shortly after moving back to his hometown, Mr. Thomas purchased a piece of land that would, eventually, become Thomas Hall, a picturesque 125 +/- property on the banks of Rantowles Creek, 13 miles south of downtown Charleston.

“I built Thomas Hall as a place to teach my three sons the value of outdoorsmanship. Almost twenty years later, that lesson is still very much alive. It was just last week when we had three generations of Thomas’ – myself, my sons and grandchildren – out fishing, boating, swimming and shooting clays. It was a beautiful thing.” – Mr. Thomas

Known history on the property surrounding Thomas Hall dates back to the 1770s. It was first part of Grayton Hall, a 20,000-acre parcel, and remained mostly rural until after the Civil War when John Bradley purchased the land. Back then, the Lowcountry was well-known for its production of phosphate used for fertilizer. The process essentially involved separating phosphate from the dirt. Mr. Bradley succeeded in manufacturing phosphate for a number of years.

By the 1940s, the parcels of land became more and more subdivided and in 1969 a gentleman named Speedy Falco presented the county with a plan to build 144 houses on the property. His proposal included turning the historic rice fields into canals to mimic neighborhoods being built in South Florida at the time.

Fortunately, Mr. Falco’s proposal did not succeed and the 60 acres of rice fields at Thomas Hall are now listed on the historic registry. They will remain intact for the next owner to enjoy, and untouched for the stewards that may follow.

Having your cake and eating it, too. That’s Thomas Hall, a scenic home and property reminiscent of days long ago. In addition to the beautiful 125 +/- acres, and the 7,300 square foot main house standing sentinel over serene marshland and rice fields, there is also an entertainment and outdoor pavilion, detached living quarters, fishing pond, skeet shooting facility, and of course, direct access to the intercoastal waterway. Thomas Hall truly offers something special for every member of your family.

Thomas Hall also provides something incredibly unique among sporting properties. It is surrounded by several hundred acres of county land that increases privacy – yet the restaurants, shopping and entertainment of downtown Charleston, SC are all less than 20 minutes away. Rich in wildlife, the property is in a conservation easement with Ducks Unlimited, making it part of nearly 1 million protected acres in South Carolina.

“The possibilities for outdoor enjoyment are endless at Thomas Hall. The hunting is bountiful, the land is beautiful, access to the waterways – and Shark’s Tooth Island for hunting shark’s teeth – is easy. Thomas Hall is truly a place to soak in the outdoors. For the younger generations in your family, doing so will instill innate confidence and pays dividends in society going forward.” – Mr. Thomas

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