Located alongside the Ashley River in Charleston, South Carolina, Drayton Hall is a plantation from the 18th century. Today, visitors can explore Drayton Hall, its history, and its historical significance.
In the early 1750s, widower John Drayton moved to Drayton Hall with his two sons Charles and William Henry. Many people regarded Drayton Hall as a “Palace and Gardens”. With the help of scholars, employees at Drayton Hall have been able to understand Drayton Hall’s history and significance in modern times. According to research that took over 40 years, Drayton Hall was the first building that was fully designed and completed with a strong influence of Palladian architecture within the United States. John Drayton’s mansion was influenced by other eras and regions of the world, as his landscapes resembled those of contemporary English, and the interior design of his home had a combination of Charleston and European influence. These worldly influences and significant architectural values ranks Drayton All among the most significant plantations from colonial America.
Drayton Hall comprises over 350 acres where John Drayton had slaves who grew rice, indigo, and cattle for Europe and the Caribbean sugar islands. Drayton Hall was just one out of around 100 different plantations that Drayton owned throughout Georgia and South Carolina. Between the impeccable state of Drayton Hall, its collections, and the surrounding landscape, the slave society’s legacy is preserved for current and future visitors.
The main attraction at Drayton Hall is the mansion itself. Inside, visitors will find a variety of artifacts and art collections from John Drayton. Some of the art within the mansion includes furniture, photographs, decorative arts, and architectural pieces.
The African-American Cemetery is a cemetery dedicated to at least 40 people who were enslaved and free. The earliest dates of this burial ground come from 1790, and historians have indicated this sacred ground has most likely been around longer than that. Richmond Bowens, who is a descendant from one of the enslaved people at Drayton Hall, requested this sacred ground be “left natural”. Bowens spent most of his life at Drayton Hall. He was born there in 1908, and worked there as a gatekeeper and oral historian. When Mr. Bowens passed away in 1998, he was buried on this sacred ground.
The Grounds and Nature Walks allows visitors to explore the 125 acres of land of Drayton Hall. Visitors can roam the grounds and even see a clear view of the Ashley River.
There are a few educational opportunities at Drayton Hall. These educational opportunities include a daily educational presentation, group tours, and a variety of lessons and activities available for schools.
The daily educational presentation at Drayton Hall is Connections: From Africa to America. During this 30 minute presentation, visitors will learn about the connections, experiences, and legacy of the Africans and African Americans of Drayton Hall. With this glimpse into the past, visitors will be able to understand the stories of the enslaved people, their descendants, and the Lowcountry culture that originated from a combination of African and European traditions.
Drayton Hall offers a variety of tours that allow visitors to completely immerse themselves within the history and significance of Drayton Hall. Each tour gives visitors a unique glimpse into Drayton Hall and a specific area of the mansion, surrounding landscape, and history. Some of the tours even include interactive activities or tours of the surrounding Charleston area. The current tours offered at Drayton Hall are:
· House Tour
· Connoisseur Tour
· Historic Charleston Walking Tours
· Archaeology Focus Tour
· Revolutionary War Focus Tour
· Civil War Focus Tour
· African American History
· Connections: From Africa to America
· Carolina Gold Rice Tour
· A Day on the Ashley with Middleton Place
· History from A to Tea with Charleston Tea Plantation
· Wining & Dining in 18th Century Charleston with Madeira Wine Tasting
Drayton Hall hosts a combination of private and public special events throughout the year. The public special events calendar is always changing. So, if you’re interested in attending a public event at Drayton Hall, make sure to check out Drayton Hall’s official website. In order to give you a glimpse into typical special events at Drayton Hall, here are a few of the upcoming public events:
The Future of Drayton Hall: An Insider Conversation is a panel discussion combined with a presentation that will discuss what the future holds for Drayton Hall. This event will take place on February 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm.
Drayton Hall Distinguished Speakers Series has been a series of events from historical distinguished speakers. For this event, the Associate General Counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Will Cook, will present his discussion, “From Charleston to the Grand Canyon: Using Preservation Law to Protect Historic Places and Cultural Landscapes.” This event will take place on March 21, 2017 at 5:30 pm.
3380 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC 29414, Phone: 843-769-2600