Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (464 acres, 187.77 hectares) is a historic mansion and gardens on the Ashley River, located at 3550 Ashley River Road west of Ashley, Charleston County, South Carolina. It is one of the South’s oldest plantations and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Magnolia Plantation is near Charleston and across the Ashley River from North Charleston. The house and gardens are open every day with an admission fee.
The plantation was founded in 1676 by Thomas and Ann Drayton (née Anna Fox), who erected a house and a modest formal garden on the property. (After 15 generations, the Drayton family still controls the plantation.) The Draytons transported some of the enslaved Africans who were forced to work at home from Barbados in the 1670s. The historic Drayton Hall was erected on the nearby property in 1738 by enslaved laborers for John Drayton, grandfather of Judge John Drayton II.
Magnolia was once a rice plantation, with huge earthworks including dams and dikes built in areas along the river to irrigate rice fields. The masterpieces were created by enslaved Africans from rice-growing regions. Over time, these enslaved people created a creolized Gullah language and colorful culture that was heavily inspired by West African traditions. Many integrated cultural features from West Africa have survived to this day in what is known as the Gullah Heritage Corridor of the Carolinas and Georgia’s Lowcountry and Sea Islands.