Real Estate

The Real Plantation House from “The Notebook”

The Notebook isn’t just a movie for people who love Nicholas Sparks novels and tear-jerky romantic dramas. It’s also a favorite among those of us who love houses!

Ryan Gosling played Noah Calhoun, a poor boy courting a rich girl named Allie. It’s hard not to swoon a little when Noah shows her the crumbling plantation house of his dreams and promises, “I’m gonna buy it one day and fix it up.”

A reader whose family once owned the house on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina shared some of the history behind it with me. Not only that, but she sent old photos showing how it’s changed since it was built in the 1800s. Take a look!

Note: This post contains affiliate links that may earn me commission but won’t change the price.

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The Martins Point Plantation House in “The Notebook”

The Notebook movie house rundown
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You could say the house was a “fixer upper” when we first see it in the movie (above).
Noah pretty much single-handedly renovates the place and transforms it into this beaut (below):

Noah in front of his finished house The Notebook
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Allie (Rachel McAdams) told him, “I want a white house with blue shutters. And a room overlooking the river so I can paint. I want a big old porch that wraps around the entire house.”

Ryan Gosling front door Noah's house The Notebook
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He took her requests seriously, blue shutters and all.

The Notebook house side porch
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And she appreciated his efforts! 🙂

Ryan Gosling Rachel McAdams Notebook
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The story is set in North Carolina, but most of the movie was shot in and around Charleston, SC.

Staircase in Noah's House The Notebook
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Noah’s house is Martins Point Plantation on Wadmalaw Island.

Inside Noah's house The Notebook
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The remodeled interiors are sparsely furnished when Noah’s finished with them.

Noah and Allie in the Dining Room Notebook
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He’s living there alone when Allie finally comes and sees the place.

Noah's Bedroom in The Notebook
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Noah created a room where Allie could paint, as requested:

Allie's art room in The Notebook
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Allie paints on a second-story porch outside her art room, but where is it? On the back of the house?

Allie painting on the porch The Notebook
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You can see that the pillars are different on the porch below, so I’m not sure where they filmed the scene above.

Ryan Gosling The Notebook front porch
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A reader named Natalie wrote me about the history of the house.
The original owner was her great-grandfather, Francis Winfield Towles:

Francis Towles original owner Notebook movie house
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In the movie, Noah says the house was built in 1772.
But real estate records state the real plantation house dates to 1875.

The Notebook movie house in 1900
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The house originally had a second-story wraparound porch. During a later remodel, that was eliminated.
This screenshot from the DVD special features shows the facade filmmakers used to make it look run-down:

Making Noah's house look old for The Notebook movie
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Here’s how it looked in the movie with some additional “wear” painted onto the exterior of the house:

The Notebook movie house rundown
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The “before” version of the house looks like the way the real one did when it was built.
The filmmakers must have seen the historic photos because they recreated the original, second-story porch and all!

Ryan Gosling renovating house in The Notebook
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“Francis’s father, Daniel Freeman Towles, had the house built, but he died mining phosphate in Charleston around 1880 and his body was never recovered from the mine. He didn’t live in the house but for a few years before he died. Francis Winfield Towles lived it it from 1880 until his death in 1927, so most people know it as his home.” -Natalie
Francis Towles made the South Carolina history books: “He is rightfully called the father of the truck growing industry in the South, for it was he who first demonstrated the feasibility and profit in growing and shipping vegetables to outside markets.”

Martin's Point Plantation Wadmalaw Island
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In the 1950s, after the exterior had been given a makeover, the house looked more like it does today:

The Notebook-Noah's house in 1950s
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It looked pretty much the same in the movie, as you can see below, but the pillars were replaced at some point:

Ryan Gosling renovating house in The Notebook
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They added the blue shutters for the movie and removed them after filming.
Here’s how the house looks today:

The Notebook House Today on Martin's Point SC
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According to Zillow, it has 5 bedrooms, 4,255 square feet, and sits on nearly 11 acres.

The Notebook House Today on Martin's Point SC
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An aerial view of the Martins Point plantation on Wadmalaw Island:

Aerial view of Martin's Point Plantation The Notebook
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In this screenshot of the front porch, you can see how close it is to the water:

Noah on the front porch in The Notebook movie
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According to the Martins Point Plantation website:

The early history of Martins Point began in 1699 when the Lord Proprietors of the Carolina colony granted 200 acres on the North Edisto and Wadmalaw Rivers to John Jones, a gunsmith. In 1700, Landgrave Joseph Morton, the son of the first Royal Governor of Carolina, added the Jones tract to his 2,700 acre plantation known as Bears Bluff. The plantation has since been called Ladinwah, Bear-Bluff, Morton Town, and Point of Pines.

Drive leading to Noah's House The Notebook
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“In 1866, Daniel F. Towles, a Georgia farmer, purchased 1,200 acres of planting and marsh land that is now Martins Point. For more than 100 years, Martins Point was the center of agricultural commerce on Wadmalaw with its own currency, store and school.
“The Wadmalaw Island telephone system and post office were located at the plantation house. Crops and people were ferried to the mainland from the private Martins Point landing.”

Martin's Point Plantation House from Notebook
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The movie was based on a bestselling book by Nicholas Sparks (Amazon affiliate link):

Here’s how the house was described in the book:

“The house was built in 1772, making it one of the oldest, as well as largest, homes in New Bern. Originally it was the main house on a working plantation, and he had bought it right after the war ended and had spent the last eleven months and a small fortune repairing it.”

Noah's house in the movie The Notebook
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BTW, If you’re curious about Boone Hall Plantation (Allie’s house), I wrote about it here.
I was fascinated to learn that its grand avenue of oaks provided the inspiration for Twelve Oaks in GWTW.

Boone Hall Plantation from The Notebook
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I also wrote about the Black River Plantation House that posed as the assisted living quarters for Noah and Allie here:

Nursing home-Black River Plantation
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The DVD has some great special features on it for “Notebook” fans (Amazon affiliate link):

Just make sure you’ve got a box of Kleenex handy!
Ryan Gosling at Noah's renovated house The Notebook
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Many thanks to Natalie for sharing her family’s history and photos of the house with us! Current photos via Martins Point PlantationTristan Rosier and Movie LocationsYou can also see some great shots of it from a wedding featured here.

I first wrote about this house back in 2009 and it’s still one of my favorites, so it was time to update it with more photos and information. I just watched the movie again and found myself blubbering through the final credits, as usual. That ending gets me every time! 🙂

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P.S. Visit my Houses Onscreen page to see more I’ve featured, including The Lake House:

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