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Magnolia Plantation

Magnolia Plantation
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3550 Ashley River Road
Charleston, SC 29414


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Historic SitesArts & GardensAfrican American HeritagePlantations & Homes

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Former rice plantation known for its romantic gardens, boat rides, petting zoo, house tour and original slave dwellings

Arriving from Barbados, Thomas Drayton and his wife Ann landed in Charles Towne and established Magnolia Plantation along the Ashley River in 1679. Magnolia saw immense wealth and growth through the cultivation of rice during the Colonial era, and later the British and American troops would occupy its grounds during the American Revolution. In 1825 a direct Drayton descendant inherited Magnolia and created a series of romantic gardens for his wife. The romantic gardens have an emphasis on the natural beauty of the site, creating an informal and almost fairy-tale setting. After the Civil War, the plantation recovered and opened the gardens to the public in 1870, making it America's oldest tourism attraction! Today you can tour the gardens, take a boat ride, learn about the African Americans of Magnolia Plantation through the existing slave dwellings and exhibits, stop by the petting zoo or tour the Drayton family heirlooms inside the homesite.