Thursday, October 6, 2016

Magnolia Plantation - Drayton Hall Plantation Near Charleston, S.C.

In recent posts we visited Amelia Island located in the very top north-east section of Florida and Jekyll Island, St. Simons Island, and Savannah, Georgia all along the south-east coast.  It was fun to take my camera and try to capture some of the beauty of these lovely coastal landmarks.

We then traveled on to see very old and historic plantations about 10 miles north-west of Charleston, South Carolina.  In the last Sweet Southern Days post we visited the amazingly beautiful Middleton Place Plantation and Gardens located on Highway 61 North.

We had heard about these old historical plantations located outside of Charleston for years.  It was a real treat to actually to be visiting and seeing these preserved landmarks of history.  Located about 4 miles away from Middleton Plantation was another old historical plantation called Magnolia Plantation.

It was exciting to be driving through the gates of this amazingly preserved piece of history.

As we drove along and passed this huge ancient Oak tree seen in the below photo, we then spotted the Magnolia Plantation home way off in the distance.

We were told this property was originally a very successful rice plantation and the original planters became extremely wealthy.

Magnolia Plantation was named for the grand Southern magnolia tree.  Since we were visiting later in the day we did not have time to stroll through the gardens, but we are told there is a wide variety of camellias and azaleas along with a profusion of other beautiful plants.

We took a tour of the inside of this lovely plantation home.  As with most historical locations, photos were not allowed inside the home.  

As you can imagine, with this plantation dating back to 1676, there is a very long history associated with this plantation. Following the Civil War, much of the estate was sold, reducing it's acreage from 1,172 to 390 acres.   It was after the war that the gardens were opened to the public as a means to help preserve and restore this historic property previous family members had struggled so hard to keep in the family.

After taking about a 45 minute tour of the plantation house we boarded what they called a "nature train,"  which drove guests through large portions of the plantation.  As we drove along, we spotted these beautiful marsh birds off in the distance.  

At this point it would have been very helpful to have had a telephoto lens 
to get a closer look at these unusual looking birds.

We were told this area is called the Audubon Swamp Garden.

Shortly after leaving the marshy-swamp area we spotted this amazingly huge old Oak tree.

As you can see the branches stretched way off in the distance.

And just beyond this old Oak tree 
our "train" driver told us we would soon be approaching the old slave cabins.

Five historic slave structures that date back to 1850 have been preserved on the plantation.

In the below photo,  looking back,  we see the old sprawling Oak tree.  I wonder if it dates back
 to the years these old houses were built on the property shortly before Civil War time.

The below photo looks like what the old rice fields must have looked like.

In the below photo we see the old house plantation which was built in 1873 after the Civil War.  We were told the huge columns were added more recently.  We understand this was the third home built on the property.  The first two previous homes were destroyed by fire.

It was our plan to see the next plantation along Highway 61 this same afternoon.   
Drayton Hall is only 2.1 miles down the road from  Magnolia Plantation.

As we drove into the plantation we could feel the history associated 
with what is called the oldest unrestored plantation house in America.

The old home was so beautiful and well preserved on the outside.  Since the home was unrestored we opted to just enjoy the outside of the home even though there are guided house tours.

It is thought this home was completed somewhere in the 1750s.  The plantation house is within 630-acres and was originally an indigo and rice plantation.

Seven generations of Drayton heirs preserved the house in almost original condition.

This old plantation is located 9 miles northwest of downtown Charleston 
on Hwy 61 or on Ashley River Road.

Not too far from the main house we noticed this sign below: 

As seen below, walking through the gate into the cemetery I could feel how special this location was. 
I loved the simplicity of the white cross nailed to the tree at the entrance to the cemetery.

We entered into the cemetery through a wrought-iron arch designed by a master blacksmith working at Drayton Hall many years ago.    The arch is crowned with three words that are hard to see in the below photo.
"Leave 'Em Rest."

Many African-Americans who lived and worked  at Drayton Hall are buried here.
The cemetery is located about 100 feet from Drayton Hall's main drive.
They say over 40 grave sites have been located here.

The below headstone was the only one where I could read the inscription.
Many of the folks resting in peace here played a major role in building and sustaining Drayton Hall.

Many of the descendants from the Drayton Hall African Americans who lived and
 worked in and around the home are now living in the Charleston area.

Thank you for joining us as we went sightseeing in these old historic plantations located a short distance from the charming old city of Charleston, South Carolina.

Wishing you a very nice weekend and many blessings wherever you may be. 😋

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