Now called Middleton Place this plantation is one of three that are still standing in what we call ‘plantation row’. They all were built along the Ashley River for access to Charleston. The river was the road at that time.
There was at least one more I know of here, that is just ruins now. Of the three still here only Drayton Hall, the closest to Charleston, was not burned by the Union Army as it advanced to Charleston. The Army turned away towards Columbia, South Carolina and left Drayton and Charleston standing.
That’s odd since the most vilified southern city was Charleston and the Secretary Of The Army had ordered it burned and ‘salted’. I guess he was still angry about the town bombing Ft. Sumter a few years earlier.
Above is the main house of Middleton. At the time of the Civil War there were actually three connected buildings, only the South Flanker still stands. The other two were burned. Not long after the region was hit with a huge earthquake. Whatever was left of the two ruins was destroyed. However, most of the bricks were salvaged to repair the barns, stables, and out buildings to keep the rice plantation operating (a little).
Oh, the plantation had been attacked several times even before the Civil War. The British ransacked Middleton during the revolution. It was fitting the southern surrender was signed in this building.
Just an aside, that idea of big white buildings, columns, porches with minty drinks. Mostly Hollywood. Oh some are scattered around here but by the Civil War planters had already learned wood was not a good idea. It burns real easy, and they did. Another issue, termites. This is the humid tropical heat south. Even now they can eat a house by the time you get back with groceries.
Marshes are mud, thick Pluff Mud. Dry it out and you have millions of bricks. Some plantations stopped growing rice and made bricks.
This plantation is not the oldest here however it was first built in the 1730’s, so old enough. The land, along with Magnolia and Drayton Hall plantations, came from land grants to Barbados planters to grow rice and indigo. Rice made Charleston the wealthiest city in North America.
Rice also made a new class of planters. The owners of Middleton were the first President (not Washington) of the new colonies…the Continental Congress. They also were signers of the Declaration Of Independence, and the Constitution. Not to sugar coat anything they were also big slave traders.
Today the plantation is open to the public and maintains the oldest and largest formal gardens in the USA.
Rather than chase critters the other we went for a walk here.