Middleton Place, A Phoenix Still Rising
An example of the elegance and grandeur of colonial architecture, the aesthetic tranquility of European gardens, and the quiet simplicity of centuries past, Middleton Place on the outskirts of Charleston, South Carolina, represents a complex history of war and peace, frugality and wealth, and sorrow and joy in the South of lore. Once a flourishing rice plantation on the Ashley River, Middleton Place is now a National Historic Landmark and a popular tourist destination for those invested in Southern history, culture, agriculture, and economics. Middleton Place's main attraction remains its lavish terraced gardens and sweeping vistas of the riverfront, the results of a decade of work by some one hundred slaves--both aspects well documented and explored through the site's exhibits and interpreters. With exquisite photography and detailed accounts, this guide to the property invites readers to discover the rich legacy of Middleton Place and of those who once lived and labored on these lands.
First settled in the late seventeenth century, Middleton Place served as the family seat to four generations of the Middleton family, including Henry Middleton, a member of the Continental Congress; his son Arthur, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Arthur's son Henry, governor of South Carolina and diplomat to Russia; and Henry's son Williams, a signer of the Ordinance of Secession. After the destruction of much of property during the Civil War, Middleton Place went neglected for decades until Middleton descendant J. J. Pringle Smith undertook restoration efforts in 1916. This handsome guide to the property offers insights into the history and restoration of a landmark later deemed by the Garden Club of America as "the most interesting and most important garden in America."