Drayton Hall is a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in Charleston, SC. Drayton Hall isn’t like most house museums. It’s different – it’s the real thing, a place preserved. The site is often described in superlative terms: the most significant surviving building in British North America, one of the finest examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture in the United States, the oldest preserved plantation house open to the public in the U.S.
But Drayton Hall is more than a house. It’s a survivor. Remarkably, after seven generations of ownership by the Drayton family and the devastating effects of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars as well as numerous hurricanes and earthquakes, the main house stands in nearly original condition—in fact, in some rooms visitors can still see the original coat of paint on the walls. On the other hand, the grounds that surround the house have changed dramatically since the time people began living here. Outbuildings have come and gone, fields and forests have been cleared, cut, and grown up again. Taken together, the house and its landscape tell fascinating stories that reveal who we are and where we’ve come from, in a way that no other place can.
In the late 1700’s Charles Drayton, the son of the builder of Drayton Hall, began a diary that he would keep religiously for almost 40 years. Today that diary is the source of so much of the information that we have on that period in Drayton Hall’s history. In the spirit of Charles Drayton, we’ve started this “diary,” to document more modern times at Drayton Hall. This blog is where you can discover more about what’s happening at the site– what’s new, what’s going on, and how modern research at this historic site is shaping new ideas about the past. And this is where you can tell us what you think– about your visit, about one of our programs, or about our latest preservation work. We want to hear from you.
The best way to experience Drayton Hall is to visit first-hand. If you’re planning a visit, have recently come by, or just want to learn more about us, you can also explore our website at www.draytonhall.org.