Category Archives: Shooting A Grand Old House

Walking By Middleton Plantation

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.

Walking By Middleton Plantation
Walking By Middleton Plantation

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.

Walking By Middleton Plantation
Walking By Middleton Plantation

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.

Walking By Middleton Plantation
Walking By Middleton Plantation

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.

Walking By Middleton Plantation
Walking By Middleton Plantation

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.

 

Having Leftovers

I thought the phrase ‘Leftovers’ would fit this article nicely. Typically it refers to eating what had not been finished from a previous meal. But we always have tons of images from architectural shoots that can’t be used.

A good example is photographing the old historic homes in Charleston. The first part of the day we look around gawking at what is all around us. The second part is shooting like crazy, kids in a candy store crazy. It’s easy to have several hundred good shots. However I might actually need only 10.

Hence the title of ‘Having Leftovers’ for photographs that just couldn’t be used but I can’t delete.

Having Leftovers
Having Leftovers

The room above has been preserved, not renovated at all. Pretty much as it was 200 years ago. Imagine turning a corner and walking into this. Yes, stop, gawk, then shoot everything in sight.

Having Leftovers
Having Leftovers

In the same home, the Aikens-Rhett house, this staircase takes you up to the main living quarters. The stair lamp now has electric bulbs, you don’t even notice that since it’s a work of art.

Having Leftovers
Having Leftovers

I rarely can use the small details, it’s all about the rooms,  but looking up you can find ceiling lamps like this.

Each year I go through the archive process and find photographs I need to publish before they hit the hard drives and become history.

From the Aiken-Rhett House, Elizabeth Street, Charleston, South Carolina.

Found Exploring

What was once an extraordinary house, in a South Carolina small town. It still is, just needs a little work.

Driving by it was like a magnet.  Was the Pigeons in the window?

Found Exploring
Found Exploring

First and second floors were occupied, maybe even part of the top.

Found Exploring
Found Exploring

I take that back, the upstairs was definitely occupied.

Found Exploring
Found Exploring

The last thing that caught my eye, and demanded we stop and explore was the guardian.

Found Exploring
Found Exploring

A gargoyle watched over the unkept hedges, protecting anything inside the fence.

Click an image to view it full size. There was a lot going on here.

Grand Staircase

An image held in the ‘to do’ file finally coming to light.

Each old Charleston home was designed with a staircase as a central point when entering the home. It was created to immediately show the family wealth. They were made to impress.

Grand Staircase
Grand Staircase

Well, it worked.