Tidalholm, Beaufort's 'Big Chill House,' for sale at $4.5 million

emoody@beaufortgazette.comMarch 12, 2013 

"The Big Chill House," also know as the Edgar Fripp House or Tidalholm, is up for sale at a price of $4.5 million.

The historic Beaufort residence Tidalholm, well-known as the movie set for "The Big Chill," is up for sale at a price of $4.5 million.

The home was built in 1853 and was also used in the movie "The Great Santini."

Celia Dunn Sotheby's International Realty and Lowcountry Real Estate is marketing the Laurens Street property at $4.5 million. Its 7,381 square feet contain seven bedrooms and seven full bathrooms, according to a news release.

"Either somebody locally, who has always wanted it, will come along and maintain and preserve it, or you've got that Hollywood allure surrounding "The Big Chill," and that might bring in the buyer," said Realtor Catherine Donaldson with Sotheby's.

Cynthia Jenkins, daughter-in-law of owner Hilda Holstein, said that after a quarter-century of the same ownership, "It's time for it to go to another family. It's time for it to be filled with dogs and children and cats."

The family hopes a new owner will be found who will respect the home's architecture and history and not focus solely on its movie roles.

The home was built as a summer getaway from Fripp's plantation, and the family used it until the Civil War when Union troops took control. After the war, it was auctioned for unpaid taxes, and a Frenchman bought it and gave it back to the Fripps.

The second story was built after the hurricane of 1893, and the original tin roof remains between the stories, Jenkins said.

It was used as a guest house from the 1930s to 1970s, when it was returned to use as a private residence.

It housed a restaurant downstairs for a time. "There's tons of people locally who remember that, who used to have Sunday tea on the porch," said Donaldson, the Realtor.

It was a destination for writers for decades, Jenkins said, and its connections to Hollywood trace back to books that were turned into movies and originally written by authors who stayed at the property. That includes Samuel Hopkins, who wrote the short story "Night Bus" in 1933. The story was reinvented for the big screen as "It Happened One Night" with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable.

Hollywood discovered it in 1979, when it was used in "The Great Santini," based on a novel by Pat Conroy. It was used as the main house and setting for "The Big Chill" in 1983.

The house remains an attraction for tourists and film devotees visiting the area, although it has not been open for tours for several years.

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