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Drayton Hall is Charleston’s finest plantation. The plantations of Charleston which are open to the public are all located about ten miles outside the city area of Charleston, SC. Drayton Hall is the oldest and only unrestored and accurate plantation house that can be visited and toured in Charleston. The house, which you can tour daily from 10 am to 3 pm, is c. 1738. Drayton Hall has not been restored and the museums are best plantation house museum visits in Charleston.
Unlike other plantations in Charleston, Drayton Hall is the only authentic colonial period home which you can tour. The other plantation homes in Charleston were either burned down and no longer have houses or have houses built in the 20th century. Drayton Hall survived both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War and is the only plantation tour in Charleston of a house which survived both wars and legitimately dates to the 18th century. Drayton Hall now has remarkable museum galleries and exhibits on both the pre-Civil War and post-Civil War time periods and the role Drayton Hall played in the history of Charleston.
The post-Civil War economy in Charleston caused many plantations to stop operations if the plantations had survived. In the following years, many Charleston plantations were sold off for acreage. The Drayton family considered selling the bricks of the house to ensure the ownership of the land but phosphate was discovered on the former plantation land at Drayton Hall. The plantation property of Drayton Hall being leased for phosphate mining saved the house from being dismantled. Drayton Hall was only ever occupied by one family – the Drayton’s – patriots and signers of the constitution, owned Drayton Hall plantation for seven generations before the National Trust for Historic Preservation took over the management and opened it to the public in 1974. Drayton Hall continues to be an active archaeological site and ahs so far discovered artifacts from earlier Native American settlers as well as West African ceramic craft dating the pre-Civil War period of enslavement at Drayton Hall. Many of these artifacts are in the museum at Drayton Hall now.
Drayton Hall is one of four plantations open to the public in Charleston, and we believe it is the best plantation tour in Charleston. The plantation visit to Drayton Hall includes the house tour of Drayton Hall as well as a grounds and galleries pass, two museum galleries and an interactive presentation offered four times daily called Port to Plantation on the passage and lives of enslaved persons at Drayton Hall. Unlike other plantations and plantations homes in Charleston which you can tour, only Drayton Hall has been preserved and offers the most value as museums and tourist attractions go in Charleston.
A visit to Drayton Hall will take three hours and is the most important thing you will see and should visit and experience when you go to Charleston, SC.