the indigo trail


The vats

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I’ve been aware of the Ortranto Vat for some time and wanted to see them. The marker calls it a vat, I might say “vats” as there are two chambers, the upper and lower.

The SC Dept. of Archives and History say that these are the only remaining structures like these in the state. That may well be true. I’ve seen suggestions that there may be others, but they could be remains or evidence of…so hard to know without actually seeing what’s there.

At any rate, this was probably my sole reason for making that trip to Charleston initially – to see some trace, some small evidence of that history.

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7 Responses to “the indigo trail”

  1. jeangarrell Says:

    Reblogged this on njgarrell.

  2. Glennis Says:

    cool susan! was there any indication as to what type of vat they were making? looks like the sort where fresh leaf is utilized. i imagine this was a summer activity-i don’t see a heat source. unless i’m missing it. thanks for putting up these photos!

    • Susan Says:

      It had to have been fresh leaf as you say and probably a summertime process. There was so little to go on here, as it isn’t in its original location, just good to have seen it and really grateful to those who thought to preserve it. This was all there was to see, it and the marker – no other information. Truly amazing though, isn’t it?

  3. velma Says:

    glad i saw this. sad that that’s all that’s left, a little bit mysterious.

    • Susan Says:

      I thought so too. There’s nothing at that site except the marker and the vat. It may take actually visiting the plantation site for more information, but it’s difficult to say.

  4. neki desu Says:

    Susan,
    you have an incredible field of research there.! the by ways and by laws 🙂 of indigo dyeing in the south.

    • Susan Says:

      you never can tell…it doesn’t get a lot of play in the museums, although rice does and they were produced at the same time. It does hold intrigue!

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