Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was an incredible site to tour. The plantation began in the late 1600’s when Thomas Drayton, and his wife Ann, built their house and started a small garden. (The plantation is still in the Drayton family.) The plantation started out as a rice plantation, later becoming known for its English-style gardens when Rev. John Grimke-Drayton inherited the plantation in the 1800’s.
During the Civil War, the plantation house was burned. After the Civil War was over, Rev. Drayton opened the gardens to public visitors to earn money. Today it is operated as a museum and tourist attraction, with restored cabins and a restored plantation house that contains modern aspects (such as the verandah and columns).
The gardens became well-known for their azaleas and oak trees, even being photographed by visitor Mathew Brady. John James Audubon also visited, with Audubon Swamp Garden being named after him. Recent notable visitors include the painter William Posey Silva (he painted the garden several times), Henry Ford, Eleanor Roosevelt, Orson Welles, and George Gershwin.