Drayton Hall

Charleston, SC
United States
Drayton Hall

Landscape Information

Located twelve miles west of Charleston, Drayton Hall is considered one of the finest Colonial plantations in the U.S. Built for John Drayton between 1738 and 1742, the brick, Georgian-Palladian house is the central feature within a larger garden and agriculture landscape. Although the historic gardens are no longer intact, the plantation’s proximity to Michaux's nursery, and Drayton’s association with him in plant exchanges, indicates that the gardens were likely of interest.

Sited on the Ashley River, the grounds include an 18th-century ha-ha, which allows a sweeping view of the river, and the foundations of a greenhouse nearby. The inland building façade faces a forecourt where two flanking and symmetrical dependencies were once arranged. Beyond the forecourt are the remnants of a Victorian-era garden mound. A salt-river marsh fed the plantation’s rice fields, and today a Marsh Walk meanders through the remains of this agricultural landscape. When the National Trust for Historic Preservation opened the site to the public in 1977, they relocated an outbuilding for use as a ticket office. This new building site and its associated landscape were designed by Robert Marvin.

Exceptionally, the main house has survived all domestic wars intact, although the dependencies have been lost and only vestiges of the original landscape remain. Drayton Hall was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960.