The Manor at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens Wins Recognition

The Manor at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston South Carolina has been recognized as one of the top 25 most visited historic house museums in the United States! The rankings, published in the Almanac of Architecture & Design 2004, also included the Biltmore Estate, Mount Vernon, the Betsy Ross House, and Graceland. Magnolia is the only house museum from the state of South Carolina to receive this honor. 

Founded in 1676 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a centerpiece of Colonial, Revolutionary War and Civil War history. Located on the banks of the Ashley River, it is the oldest major public garden in America, and is also America’s oldest man-made attraction, having been open to the public since the late 1860s. The famous flowering shrub, the Azalea indica, was first introduced to America from Magnolia’s Garden in the 1830s. 

The Manor, originally constructed in 1775, is the third to grace the site. The first two were lost to fire, and after the Civil War, the Manor was floated on a barge to Magnolia and rebuilt on the steps of the home burned by Union troops. Today’s house is union of Classical and Victorian architectural styles. Tours of the Manor focus upon 18th and 19th century plantation life and Drayton family history. Guides also describe the furnishings — family heirlooms, early-American antiques, porcelain, quilts, and various works of art collected by the family over many years. 

Magnolia is also one of very few estates that is still owned by the family that created it. Taylor Drayton Nelson is the 11th generation of Draytons to live and breathe the property, and he is honored by this national recognition for his family’s home: “My family lived in the house until 1975 – until, as my grandfather says, they realized all the people looking in the windows meant the family should open it to the public! We are thrilled that so many appreciate the history and beauty of the home.”