Windmill Harbour History

Windmill Harbour began in 1981 as a joint effort between Charles Fraser, Andres Deutsch, and JR Richardson who jointly engaged the Sea Pines Company to serve as the development arm of their partnership. In the mid 1980's, Mr. Fraser chose to sell the Sea Pines Company, and as Windmill Harbour was not part of that firm, Deutsch and Richardson assumed responsibility for the further development of the project. Initially, The Sea Pines Company had chosen a Southwestern style featuring an adobe look and a large windmill at the entrance.  This design, however, was not embraced by the community. In response, the founders removed the windmill and the land plan changed to a mix of single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums in a more acceptable southern traditional style, similar to residences found in Charleston. As Windmill Harbour began to take shape, more and more homes were built in that style. This led to the evolution of the Charleston Lowcountry look one sees in Windmill Harbour today. 


A Dream Takes Shape

Original Windmill


One of the most important assets of the community is the marina and its unique harbor. The harbor is composed of 15.5 acres and houses more than 260 boat slips and is the largest harbor on Hilton Head Island by nearly a hundred slips. The excavation of the harbor encompassed two phases.  Phase One began in 1984 during The Sea Pines Company regime. The second phase was redesigned and completed under JR Richardson's management. Coincident with the marina's development, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) required massive amounts of fill to build the abutments for the new bridge being constructed adjacent to Windmill Harbour. In return for the dirt, SCDOT excavated the harbor to the necessary design specifications. The lock was constructed to create a protected harbor from the weather and the changing tides. It was only the second lock existing on the eastern seaboard at the time. The lock is 80 feet long and 20 feet wide and is operated with the gravity flow of water, electricity and hydraulics. As complicated as it may appear, it is very simple to operate.


Aerial View

Marina Harbor Under Construction


As the marina and neighborhood came together the next step was to give the community a place to gather. Thus the South Carolina Yacht Club was born. The vision was that the club would be populated by the most interesting residents and visitors to Hilton Head Island, reminiscent of those early social gatherings when Charles Fraser invited dignitaries from around the world to discover the Island. This led to the decision which established a club that property owners could choose to join, but were not required to do so, and that would invite membership from outside of Windmill Harbour and Hilton Head as well. More detailed information on the founding of the South Carolina Yacht Club can be found on its website.

The unique history, breathtaking beauty, meticulous planning and unique harbor have made Windmill Harbour a premier community in the Lowcountry. Its vibrancy and growth are a testament to its founders and its residents
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