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Kiawah Island SC History & Culture

Kiawah Island Real Estate Benefits From Carefully Preservation

Earliest History
One of the most carefully preserved barrier islands in the world, Kiawah Island was named for the Native American tribe that hunted and fished in the area during the 1600s. The tribe’s chief, Cassique, led colonists to Charlestowne Landing on the Ashley River where they built the first English settlement in the New World in 1670.

In 1699, George Raynor, a purported pirate, was granted title to the island by the Lords Proprietors. Kiawah Island stayed in Raynor's family until 1719, when it was purchased by John Stanyarne. Over the next 50 years, Kiawah Island SC passed throughout Stanyarne’s family until it finally feel into the hands of the Vanderhorst family, who held ownership of the island for 200 years.

Thoughtful Development
The Vanderhorst legacy ended in 1951 when C. C. Royal, a lumberman, purchased Kiawah Island for a mere $125,000. Just 23 years later, his heirs sold the property to a real estate developer for $18.2 million. In 1974, Kiawah Island was developed into a world-class resort and premiere Charleston SC real estate area.

Then in 1988, in the largest transaction of both Charleston SC real estate and South Carolina real estate history, Kiawah Development Partners (then known as Kiawah Resort Associates) purchased the island’s assets for $105 million, restoring local ownership of the island. The acquisition included the Resort – the Kiawah Island Inn, retail and meeting facilities, three golf courses, and two tennis centers – and the undeveloped properties of Kiawah Island real estate.

Deciding to focus on the overall development of Kiawah Island real estate rather than the day-to-day operation of a resort, KDP sold the resort amenities the following year. That separate company, now known as Kiawah Island Golf Resort, is anchored by The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, a grand seaside resort set along the private beach. The Sanctuary features 255 spacious guest rooms, spectacular ocean views, a uniquely nature-theme spa, world-class golf courses, 18,000 square feet of meeting space, three pools and two oceanfront dining rooms.

Valuing Nature
Incorporated in 1988, the Town of Kiawah Island operates as a Mayor-Council form of government. The Town takes an active role in managing the natural resources of Kiawah Island. Wildlife management is handled, in part, by a full-time wildlife biologist in cooperation with the Town’s Environmental Committee, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and other Kiawah Island entities. The Town supports research projects and programs in order to better understand and manage the wildlife species – deer, bobcats, osprey, raccoons, gray foxes, river otters and others – that live on Kiawah Island. Attributing to Kiawah Island's environmental success, the island is tightly controlled by an architectural review board comprised of Kia