Scenic USA - South Carolina

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

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Magnolia Plantation - Charleston, South Carolina

Photos by Cliff Hamilton
Cliff Hamilton Gallery

     Hoping to sooth his new bride's homesick blues for her home town Philadelphia, John Grimke Drayton poured his heart and soul into the gardens of a newly Magnolia Plantation - Foot Bridgeinherited Magnolia Plantation. The southern plantation spread out along South Carolina's Ashley River in the Lowcountry, first established in 1679 by a pair of new arrivals from Barbados, Magnolia Plantation - Barbados Tropical Garden Thomas Drayton and wife Ann. Successful plantation operations continued throughout the Colonial Era with each successive heir. Despite the many hardships with plantation life, the plantation remained in the Drayton family for more than three centuries.
      Even though setbacks were experienced during the Civil War, John Grimke Drayton continued to expand his gardens. After the mansion burned at war's end, the cash-strapped Drayton was forced to open the gardens to the public in 1870 as a tourist attraction. These grand gardens, first to use camellias and azaleas in America, were further made famous by Civil War photographer, Mathew Brady. The plantation became one of the first public tourist sites in United States. Magnolia Plantation Mansion  - Charleston, South Carolina
      Today, the Magnolia Plantation continues to offer tours of the stately mansion and the marvelous indoor and outdoor gardens. Containing original 1680s plantings, some sections are among the oldest gardens in America. The Magnolia-on-the-Ashley is furnished with early-American antiques and Drayton family heirlooms. Along with the mansion and gardens, tours include a wildlife refuge, nature center, petting zoo, slave quarters and boat excursions on the Ashley River.

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