Drayton Hall – Charleston, South Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Drayton Hall

Oldest unrestored plantation house in America that is open to the public. 


Considered one of the most beautiful examples of Georgian Palladian architecture in North America, Drayton Hall was built for John Drayton over the four years between 1738 and 1742 using both slave and free labor.

In the same family until 1974, when it was turned over to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Drayton Hall has been kept in its original condition for over 260 years. Two outbuildings were destroyed in late-19th-century disasters - a laundry house toppled during an earthquake and the kitchen came down in a hurricane - but the primary residence has remained intact.

The house stands on a 630-acre plot of land that is part of an indigo and rice plantation. It is the only plantation house in the region to survive both the American Revolution and the Civil War. It has been recognized by the National Trust for its elaborate double stairs, ornamental ceiling in the entrance hall and full wood paneling among the finest in all the British Colonies.

Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, Drayton Hall has been described by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History as “without question one of the finest of all surviving plantation houses in America.”

The home is open for professionally guided tours of the residence and self-guided tours of the surrounding gardens. The National Trust maintains a museum shop and holds educational programs for both students and adults on African American history, environmental conservation, social history and the Revolutionary War.

Know Before You Go

Drayton Hall is located 12 miles west of Charleston, South Carolina, on Hwy 61.

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August 16, 2010

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