Middleton Place, South Carolina

Middleton Place is a historic plantation with gardens located along the Ashley River, Charleston, South Carolina.One of the most magnificent locations in the United States, the plantation has a history rich in tradition. It was established in 1741 by Henry Middleton, President of the First Continental Congress. Touring this 65 acre establishment, one is overcome with the magnitude by which it must have overwhelmed people in it’s time!Nestled on the Ashley River it portrays the stereotypical image one has of life in the south during that period in time!With the history of the inhabitants of the mansion, one can only imagine the fashionable events that must have transpired in the gardens and banquet rooms.Water buffalo were imported in the late 1700s and became the first water buffalo in the United States. I guess the idea didn’t catch on, it’s been years since I have seen a water buffalo roaming the countryside!It became the home of generations of the Middleton Family,Henry’s son, Arthur Middleton a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Arthur’s son Henry Governor of South Carolina and U.S. minister to Russia, and in turn , his son William signer of the Ordinance of Secession.From that period in time things went down hill, the plantation was burned in 1865 in retaliation for the owner signing the Ordnance of Secession. Five of the water buffalo were killed and ate, with the remaining six mysteriously appearing in the Central Park Zoo.In 1886 the gardens were damaged further by an earthquake, from then it lay abandoned until 1916 when J. Pringle Smith began a restoration.Today it has been restored with much of the Middleton family furniture, paintings books and documents, the gardens have been restored with terraces, ponds, and garden rooms.It is now one of the most prestigious gardens in the United States, and as a such General Cornwallis was shown having a banquet in Mel Gibson’s movie “The Patriot.”

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