Results 11-17of 17 Reviews
Montgomery City, Missouri
March 27, 2003
Spending time through the Gardens and the Plantation home and the outer buildings was well worth the admission cost. It gave us insight into a whole different world than the one my children are growing up in. We enjoyed just sitting on the big front porch for a "spell" and sitting on the big branch of a huge old tree out front and thinking about time gone by. Our youngest son enjoyed the hedge maze.
We have taken many vacations as a family but often feel so busy trying to take everything in, but the pace of Charleston and our visit to the plantation felt very slow moving and relaxing. It was a refreshing feeling.
From journal Good 'Ol Southern Hospitality
June 23, 2002
From journal Southern charm
by Nahali Croft
May 27, 2002
The Drayton family that purchased Magnolia Plantation in 1676. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, Magnolia Plantation has the distinction of being the northern hemisphere's oldest established gardens. The gardens include one of the largest collections of azaleas and camellias in the country.
While visiting the estate, guests can choose to ride on the nature train (complete with a 45-minuted narration), take a nature boat tour of an ancient flooded 150-acre ricefield, tour the Pre-Revolutionary War Plantation home with museum-quality Early American antiques, and view wildlife from the observation tower.
The ground of the estate and the plantation home are absolutely lovely. Magnolia Plantation is a must-see for anyone visiting Charleston, especially since the plantation is only ten miles from downtown on Highway 61.
From journal The Charms of Charleston
by smmmarti guide
April 13, 2002
Soon, the colony had become overcrowded with fortune seekers, and the Drayton’s moved
northward to the new English settlement of Charles Towne.
The marriage of Thomas, Jr. and Anne Fox, daughter of another Barbadian recently moved to this new area, Stephen Fox, brought the Drayton newlyweds this tract of land ten miles from the settlement on the Ashley River.
Sons of this very affluent family continued to be educated in England, and proper careers for "distinguished" gentlemen were somewhat limited to ministry and armed forces. Thomas Drayton was a member of His Majesty’s Council and Royal Justice for Carolina. His brother, Royal Judge John Drayton sat on His Majesty’s council and was considered to be the wealthiest man in the Colony at the time of his death. Royal Chief Justin William Drayton, Thomas Jr.’s son, was also Justice for the Carolinas, aide to General Lyttleman in the Cherokee War and member of the South Carolina Supreme Court before being appointed by President Washington as First Judge of the US District Court. He also worked with Thomas Jefferson as co-founders of the South Carolina Society of Agriculture to import several varieties of superior crops to America.
William Henry Drayton, a leader of South Carolina’s Liberal Patriots, and author of the Bill of Rights, was elected President of the Revolutionary Committee of Safety in 1775, and ordered the firing of the first shots of the Revolutionary War in the Carolinas. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia where he died at age 37.
John Drayton, his son, was twice the Governor of South Carolina and appointed U.S. Judge by President Madison. He founded the University of South Carolina. Thomas Fenwich Drayton, great grandson of Thomas Jr., commanded troops on Hilton Head island as a Confederate General, where he opposed his brother, Admiral Percival Drayton, the commander of a Union vessel which captured the island. (Talk about sibling rivalry!) It is said that the reason that Drayton Hall was the only building spared during the Civil War siege in the area was this brotherly connection. (But it's also said that Southerners don't like hearing that a Union General might have been so decent after all.)
History of the Plantation
The first house was completed by Thomas and Anne Drayton in 1680 along with the planting and development of the extensive gardens which continued for decades including the first formal portion known as "Flowerdale." At the same time, second son, Judge John Drayton, built Drayton Hall, not far away, before purchasing Magnolia from his nephew, who had inherited the land at the time of his father’s death in 1717.
The final assaults on Charleston by the British in 1780 was staged at the plantation site. Through a major military blunder, Charleston's troops, desperately needed by Washington, surrendered to the British, allowing Cornwallis freedom to move north and "crush Washington's weary troops." But of course, this didn't happen. Cornwallis instead allowed himself to be cornered on the peninsula with the unexpected arrival of a French blockade. Instead of crushing the revolutionary troops, he surrendered.
Judge John Drayton was killed fleeing the British invasion. His son, Thomas, inherited Magnolia while his second son, Charles, took over Drayton Hall. Oddly enough, John’s oldest son, patriot William Henry Drayton, received little save the acclaim he brought unto himself.
The original home burned about thirty years after the Declaration of Independence, but the gardens, thriving now with 25 acres formally planted, continued to flourish. When the grandson of Thomas inherited the plantation suddenly, his older brother having been shot in a hunting accident at the young age of 22, he was in England studying for the ministry and surprised to suddenly be one of the wealthiest landowners of the South. Despite this fact, he continued his ministry along with a deep devotion to developing the beauty of the land and gardens he had inheritied. This was prompted by the desire to please his Philadelphia bride for whom he attempted to "create an earthly paradise in which Julia may forever forget Philadelphia and her desire to return there."
For this devotion, Rev. John Grimke Drayton is credited most with the development of the nationally acclaimed beauty of the gardens and for first introducing azaleas and camellias to America.
But just fifty years after the second house, (which had also since burned) was built,
General Sherman’s "marauders" attacked and burned the home of Rev. Drayton and Julia.
During this seige, the family had fled north, but the story of the capture of slave foreman, Adam Bennett, illustrates the devotion he had for the plantation family and Magnolia.
Even as he was strung up from a tree by Union troops, Mr. Bennett refused to reveal the whereabouts of the family’s buried treasures. Impressed by his character, the Union troops cut him free. He then journeyed the 250 miles on foot to the location of Rev. Drayton and brought him the sad news that the house had been destroyed, but the good news that the gardens, probably his most beloved aspect of the plantation, were still intact.
With all the family's riches basically laid to waste, Rev. Dr. Drayton continued to expand his gardens to increasing recognition nationally. Soon it was cited as one of the three great attractions of North America along with Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. This was fortunate, as financial necessity resulted in the garden’s being opened to the public in 1870, making it the oldest man-made tourist attraction in America.
Rev. Drayton’s daughter, Julia Drayton Hastie, inherited the plantation when her father passed away in 1890. Since then, the grandchildren and great grandchildren -- heirs of many a great man -- have expanded the meaning of Magnolia beyond sheer beauty to include conservation efforts of the 500 acres of wildlife sanctuary and 60 acres of blackwater swamp. An irrevocable will guarantees for the next century (at least) that Magnolia's "notable past may prove to have been just a beginning…"
I have a feeling this is just the beginning.
From journal Charleston Charms
The Magnolia Plantations, listed on the National Register of Historical Places by its distinction as being the northern hemisphere's oldest established gardens and the country's oldest man-made tourist attraction, was our choice of the many available in this area. The gardens are as beautiful as I ever expected, but the history was more than I would have dreamed.
Although Magnolia has attracted tourists with its spring-time blooms
since the devastation to family resources following the Civil War made it a necessity to the owners, since Rev. Drayton’s death in 1890, the plantation has continued to attract visitors year-round by the addition of plantings that bloom all through the year. Managed still by the heirs of the original owners, the plantation now emphasizes conservation with 500 acres of former rice fields as protected wetlands for an extensive collection of waterfowl.
Options for visitors touring Magnolia Plantation today include: a nature trail, with a 45-minuted narrated tram tour, a nature boat tour of an ancient flooded 150-acre ricefield, the Audubon Swamp Gardens with 60-acres of blackwater cypress and tupelo swamp traversed by bridges and boardwalks where alligators and other wildlife thrive in their natural setting. We just walked and walked the 500 acres ourselves and marveled at the blooming beauty all around us. My husband lost himself in the horticultural maze modeled after one in Henry VIII's gardens. I stood on many a romantic bridge defying the alligators in the waters below me.
A house tour is
available, though the furnishings of this current house which was barged down the Ashley when the second was burned, is much more modest considering the family’s change of fortune following the war but historic nonetheless. For collectors there is an impressive Art Gallery and gift shop located in the lower level of the plantation house where outstanding Audubon prints and exquisite sculpture and art by other lowcountry artists is available.
The first thing I did upon returning home from visiting Charleston and Magnolia Plantation, was to watch "Gone With The Wind," never my favorite movie in the past. So maudlin, so over-dramatic, so Southern!
But this time as I watched, now
recognizing the landscapes, I found myself identifying totally
with the characters, realizing for the first time that it told the real story of so many families’ and the history of our nation that affected them so dramatically.
Of course now
I've fallen under its spell, like so many wiser millions before me. And all because a visit to places I’d only heard about before
suddenly became very real and not so far away.
Read on, if you’d like a short history of the Plantation and the fascinating family that founded it: the Drayton’s of England.
July 27, 2001
This estate was built during the 17th century. It was acquired in 1676 by the Drayton family and is still owned by descendents of that family, which I find amazing. It features the year-round blooming of the country's oldest gardens. It has one of the largest collections of azaleas and camellias in the country, and possibly the world.
The highlights include the Pre-Revolutionary War Plantation House which houses museum-quality Early American antiques, Biblical Garden, antebellum cabin, Nature Train, Nature Boat, wildlife observation tower, gift shop, Gallery of Nature and Wildlife Artists, snack shop, canoe and bike rentals. It is an easy drive from downtown. It is about ten miles from downtown on Highway 61.
From journal Southern Charm in Charleston
by Gypsy Canuck
Northern city in Ontario Canada, Ontario
September 21, 2000
From journal Charleston South Carolina