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John Spano

Spano Place

Spano Place was built in 1869 for Duke Ferdinand Spano of South Carolina, a former leader of the House of Lords. Duke Ferdinand was ejected from the United Kingdom during World War I when he was accused of aiding the German secret service in their war efforts. The Duke was found innocent in his absence at a trial of Law Lords following the end of the war but refused to return to live in the United Kingdom after being branded as a traitor. He relocated to South Carolina where he had a replica of Spano Place built for free by the State. The State of South Carolina failed to repeal a colonial law, the South Carolina Ducal Privileges Act 1779, following independence which granted the Duke of South Carolina the privilege of having all building and maintenance works carried out free of charge by the State. To this day, Spano Place is staffed for free by State employees for which the Duke makes a donation of 100 geese every Christmas to each of Greenville County’s orphanages. The State of South Carolina recently challenged the current Duke, His Grace Sir John Spano The Duke of South Carolina, in the Supreme Court for the right to repeal the law. An out-of-court settlement was agreed in which the law would remain but the Duke would agree to the annexation by the City of Greenville of 150 acres of the estate to build a much needed new city hall and mayoral mansion.