Middleton Place Plantation, Charleston
middleton place plantation was established by john williams in the 1730's. in 1741 william's daughter married henry middleton whose name was subsequently applied to the plantation. at one point in time henry middleton owned twenty plantations consisting of over 50,000 acres and 800 slaves. henry middleton was once the wealtiest planter in south carolina. henry middleton's son arthur was one of the signers of the declaration of independence. during the revolutionary war british troops looted middleton place. in february 1865 union troops burned part of the main house and in 1886 an earthquake destroyed the remainder of the mansion. today the plantation guest house is all that remains of the original plantation home. middleton place is one of the most beautiful plantations in north american and is well worth a visit for those interested in american history and southern culture. middleton place is listed on the national register of historic places.
Although Middleton Plantation lacks the soaring columns and antebellum flavor of some, it does offer lovely grounds, demonstrations of various crafts such as weaving and blacksmithing (pic #5), giving you access to its stableyards and slave cabin, plus an opportunity to learn more of this distinguished Southern family. The Middleton's ran a rice plantation with the help of many hands.
There were originally three buildings comprising this residence, the main home and two flanker buildings, one of which still stands. All that remains of the main house is a pile of rubble designating the site--Union army damage from 1865.
The tour of the lone building (shown in picture) captures genteel life in the 1700's. You'll wander through a main room, dining room, music room (my favorite) and library. Be sure to note the difference between a light and airy summer bedroom and cozy winter bedroom setup.
As we toured the gardens with a guide (pics #2 & #4), we were directed towards a huge old live oak which is documented to be several hundred years old (pic #3). A wide view of the Butterfly Lakes with the 1851 Rice Mill and the Ashley River beyond is priceless!
*General admission (Gardens and Stableyards)--adults $20.00; children age 7-15 $5.00; age 6 and under free; General admission and House Tour--adults $30; children age 7-15 $15.00.
*Hours daily from 9am-5pm, closed Christmas Day only
I decided that we should visit at least ONE of the big plantations in Charleston - we hadn't been to any before this, primarily because they are so expensive. There are three of them on Ashley River Road - Magnolia, Drayden and Middleton. So today we went to Middleton Place.
The road in to the parking lot was not paved and very bumpy. I knew there were carriage rides, and I thought there were also mechanical rides through the gardens, but I was mistaken about that. I didn't want to pay extra for the carriage ride, or to go in the house where I couldn't take photos, so we only got the basic ticket. Even that was a steep entry fee - $25 each. I was primarily interested in the Mausoleum which the website said had several family members buried there and some of them were historic characters
We walked in past the reflecting pool with its pair of mute swans, and up the side of the Greensward. The mausoleum had five residents - The oldest was Mary Williams Middleton who was an heiress - she brought Middleton (not named that then, of course) to Henry Middleton as her dowry. Her tomb was used as the capstone of the mausoleum.
Henry (who isn't buried here) was the President of the First Continental Congress. Their son Arthur was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His son Henry was the Governor of SC and a Minister to Russia.
Henry II's son Williams was a signer of the Ordinance of Secession. As a result of his activities on behalf of the south, the mansion was burned down. All that remains is a rebuilt wing.
Elizabeth, the daughter of Williams was the last of the Middletons to bear that name. When she died in 1915, she willed the estate to a cousin.
My friend is a Botanical Garden Member so it was not surprising that she encouraged me to see Middleton Place near Charleston when I told her of my desire to travel there for Spring Break. It is truly something to experience. And don't plan on just running through the gardens - savor the entire grounds over the day.
Nice home tour that features the grounds as much as the home. Occupied by four generations of Middelton's from the first, Henry in 1740's. he was part of Continental Congress and was the most wealthy in SC with 50,000 acres and 800 slaves. The family carried on, and the tour shows the family pictures, furniture, and other family treasures. Located on the beautiful point at the river. The grounds are fabulous.
Another of the Ashley River plantations, Middleton Place is a National Historic landmark. This was the home to several Middletons who were prominent in the founding of our country. Due to destruction from war and natural disasters, only the southern part of Middleton Place stands today, serving as the Middleton Place House Museum.
The stableyards on the property provide information on what plantation life was like at Middleton. Remnants of African American slave life is found here in the stableyards as well. Craftspeople now demonstrate the crafts done by skilled slaves in the stableyard. Eliza's House was once occupied by slaves of Middleton Place. Eliza Leach, the last African- American to occupy the house died in 1986. She was 94 at the time of her death. The house was named in her honor and is a mini-museum that shows how African Americans contributed to the development of this country as well as life onMiddleton, which was a rice plantation.
I love Middleton Place...when you pull up to it off highway 61 you instantly see a huge sheep meadow with sheep grazing and at the back is the Middleton Place House. You can tour the period house which is more of a museum now, but my favorite is walking the grounds which are acres and acres of gardens. The plantation backs up to the ashley river and the old rice mill with rice ponds. This is the first cultured gardens in America.
I think the best time to visit is between the end of March to the end of May. That's when almost every flower is blooming and it's still not too hot...it's usually in the 70's low 80's during this time with very low humidity. There is also a stableyard with lots of animals that would have been there when the plantation was built in the 1600's. Horses, 2 cows, sheep, rabbits, peacocks, pigs, chickens and guinea hens. They have tours through the grounds and house plus you can watch the craftspeople in the stableyards work on weaving and various things from that period. UPDATE: I just discovered some more things to do here...you can go kayaking in the Ashley River, bike riding and horse back riding!!!
The old guest house is now an excellent restaurant where you can get great traditional southern food. Make sure you get the Huguenot torte for dessert.
PLEASE check the website because they have really SPECTACULAR PICS and more info.
I finally went here in the spring, and it was worth the visit. Middleton Place is a little expensive, but I still enjoyed it. It is one of the only remaining plantations and gardens in the Charleston area. Part of the movie "The Patriot" was filmed here. It's located on the salt marsh and the Ashley River down Ashley River Road. The main house was burned down, but part of it is still standing. The gardens are beautiful!!! It's a definite must see if you like old places. :-)
Middleton Place plantation is on the banks of the Ashley River north of Charleston, and it is a wonderful place to go visit.
It was originally built in the 18th century by Henry Middleton, who was president of the first Continental Congress, and his son, Arthur, who sign the Declaration of Independence.
Living in a part of the country where the first settlers didn't even arrive until several years after the Civil War makes me in awe of early U.S. history (I can't wait to get to London!)
Anyway the original house burned in the Civil War, so the still-wonderful house there was originally only "the gentlemen's guest wing."
The lovely gardens are supposedly America's oldest landscaped gardens. There were people working in the stable area to demonstrate old-time ag skills, such as blacksmithing.
It's hard to imagin how hard slaves and/or servants had to work very, very hard to maintain the high standard of living of the upper class everywhere in those days.
A fascinating place to visit. I can't remember the admission fee but it was very worth it.
An 18th century preserved plantation along the banks of the Ashley River. It was the home of several generations of Middletons, beginning with Henry Middleton, President of the First Continental Congress; his son Arthur, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; his grandson Henry, Governor of South Carolina and an American Minister to Russia; and his great-grandson Williams, a signer of the Ordinance of Secession. They have wonderful gardens with butterfly lakes, stables and a museum house. They also have a restaurant on the property that serves old lowcountry cuisine.
This is the best of the local plantations. MIDDLETON PLACE is a National Historic Landmark and a carefully preserved 18th-century plantation that has survived revolution, Civil War, and earthquake. It was the home of four important generations of Middletons, beginning with Henry Middleton, President of the First Continental Congress; Arthur, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Henry, Governor of South Carolina and an American Minister to Russia; and Williams, a signer of the Ordinance of Secession.
It takes a full day to tour the Gardens, the House Museum, and the stableyards. If you have to skip one, skip the house...it's the least impressive thing.