Middleton Place Historic Plantation and Gardens – Charleston, South Carolina

categories: USA Travel

It is hard to believe that one plantation could capture so much history as Middleton Place outside Charleston does. It has the first formal gardens in what became the United States but even more significant in the history of the Middleton family.

Middleton Place

Henry Middleton was one of the richest men in the colony of South Carolina. He had 13 different rice plantations when he bought Middleton Place and started to build its gardens, or rather started to plan the gardens and have them built by 130 of his slaves. Yes, he was a slaveholder as most of the richest men in his colony were. He was rich enough to afford not to live at Middleton place during the heat of the Summer when he could visit his houses in town, in North Carolina or in Rhode Island. He also had enough free time to dedicate some time to politics and was the second president of the continental congress.

Middleton Place

Henry’s son Arthur followed in his father’s footsteps and was one of only two signers of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina. Henry would also have gone to the convention but was in failing health.

Middleton Place

Henry’s grandson Governor Henry Middleton served as Governor of the state of South Carolina from 1810 to 1812. He also served 10 years as the Minister Plenipotentiary (ambassador) to Russia. Middleton Place has a painting that was given as a gift from Czar Nicolas I of Russia.

Middleton Place

The son of Governor Henry, Williams Middleton, signed the Articles of Secession to remove South Carolina from the Union at the start of the Civil War. While Williams certainly thought himself no less a patriot and revolutionary as his grandfather and great-grandfather, the Union soldiers who occupied and burned down the main house late in the war probably would have used a different term to describe Williams.

Middleton Place

While the main house no longer stands the gardens have been restored since they are “America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens” and are on the National Historic Register. The grounds of Middleton Place include the formal gardens, the South “Flanker” house that survived the Yankee torch, stables and slave quarters. A former rice plantation, it is better known now for fancy weddings.

Middleton Place

Middleton Place is open 9 am – 5 pm except for Christmas Day. Admission to the grounds is $29 adults / $15 students / $10 children. There is a separate admission to the South Flanker House which is now the Middleton Place House Museum. A guided tour of the museum is $15 each and is recommended for history buffs.

Listen to my podcast episode Travel to Charleston, South Carolina – Amateur Traveler #430 for more information about going to South Carolina.


Middleton Place Historic Plantation and Gardens – Charleston, South Carolina #gardens #history #travel #plantation

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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

3 Responses to “Middleton Place Historic Plantation and Gardens – Charleston, South Carolina”



Heading to the Charleston area in a couple weeks. Need to remember this!

Chris Christensen


I have been trying to get a Charleston episode out for months but have had scheduling problems with my guest.



I love South and North Carolina, and this post shows why. The low country swamps and historical features of the city, great food, and then the wide beaches and North Myrtle Beach resorts, with 2 state parks and the Brookgreen gardens, and on the other side of the state places like Ceasars Head state park in the mountains. Excellent post – for a great boardwalk town experience, try Myrtle!

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