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When Arthur passed away in 1846, he gave the acreage to his son Williams. Fourteen years later, Williams agreed and even signed the Ordinance of Secession, which was South Carolina’s way of seceding from the United States. This ultimately led to the Civil War and infamous Fort Sumter attack. Towards the end of the Civil War, Union forces came into Charleston, found Middleton Place, and burned it to the ground. As for the animals, the troops used approximately half of the water buffalo for food, and took the other half to what became the famous Central Park Zoo.
A few years after Middleton Place had been destroyed, Williams began restoring part of it. Since Williams had insufficient funds and limited resources, he decided to use the south flanker as his main residence. When Williams passed away in 1883, the home and gardens were given to his wife Susan. But, three years after Williams’ death, the infamous Charleston earthquake occurred and completely destroyed the home and gardens, as well as any hope of quickly restoring the land.
Minor restorations began in 1900, when Williams’ daughter Elizabeth was given Middleton Place. Majority of the restorations were made possible by John Julius Pringle Smith and his wife Heningham. Smith inherited the plantation when Elizabeth passed away in 1915. Together, John and Heningham replanted and reworked the entire structure and layout of the gardens, as well as revamp the home to be a suitable winter home. By the late 1920s, the Smiths officially opened the gardens as a public garden. A decade later, the Smiths steered away from the gardens, and began focusing on replenishing the historic charm of the house.
In 1971, Middleton Place as officially recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, and was even awarded as a historic landmark for its district. Currently, the former plantation is operated by the Middleton Place Foundation.