Old Brass

Also known as: Auldbrass
E of Yemassee on River Rd., Yemassee, South Carolina


Old Brass, Left Oblique

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

View this photo at nationalregister.sc.gov



Old Brass was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright during the period between 1940 and 1951. Wright’s design incorporated aspects of traditional plantation architecture with innovative structure and details. His design, inspired by nature, reflects the natural environment of the South Carolina lowcountry characterized by cypress trees and live oaks draped with Spanish moss. The main house is a long structure which appears to be an extension of the native landscape. The structure is based on hexagonal modules which are joined to create various interpenetrating planes. The slanting exterior walls of native cypress lumber are laid diagonally and held by brass screws. The slant of the walls at an 80-degree angle reflects the slant of the oak trees. Located beneath the roofline are windows which feature an abstract design thought to have been inspired by Indian arrowheads. A lantern roof is located above the main roof of the structure. It features the arrowhead motif along its clerestory. At the exterior corners there are abstract wooden sculptured versions of Spanish moss. Extending from the ends of the structure, as well as encircling it, are concrete terraces which feature a hexagonal pattern. Included in Wright’s design for Old Brass are outbuildings that create a working plantation: gatehouse, manager’s quarters, kennels, stables, and two caretaker houses. All these outbuildings feature the diagonally-laid cypress walls at the 80-degree incline. A guest house and storage building are also on the property, although not designed by Wright. Listed in the National Register June 3, 1976. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 3, 1976
Reference number
Architectural styles
Modern Movement; Other architectural type; Organic House
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Secondary structure
Current functions
Single dwelling; Secondary structure
Period of significance
Significant years
1941; 1950
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 7
Non-contributing buildings: 2

Update Log 

  • August 18, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • June 17, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "Description"