Sunday, June 3 – After sadly packing up and leaving Charleston – such a great city – we headed up the Ashley River a bit to check out Drayton Hall plantation, another recommended stop by my friend Greg. I feel like we had pretty much figured out the plantation drill on this trip, since we’ve been to quite a few, but this one was surprisingly different. What makes it so, is that it has NEVER been “restored.” It is still in original condition. That's right, original. The current main house was built in 1738, and was kept in the Drayton family until 1975, when it became a property of the National Historic Trust for Historic Preservation.
We had a great tour guide Amanda, who was an historic preservation major, who told us how the family knew that they had a treasure in this property, and thus didn’t do any 20th century modernization to the house. They never even installed electricity or running water, or installed modern kitchen appliances, even though it was still being used as a home. There is very little modern paint in the house, and much of the carved plaster ceilings are amazingly still intact. There is no furniture in the house, because there will be no attempt to renovate it to look like it did during any certain period. Instead, they only conduct preservation efforts to maintain the house in it’s current condition, which they say is constantly ongoing. They also continue to embark on archeology projects on the property to continue to research the history of the plantation as new tidbits of information are revealed. Really amazing. You get a very good sense for what life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it is unbelievable to know that you're looking at the same untouched craftsmanship that was done hundreds of years ago.
This is a “must do” for anyone visiting Charleston for anyone who has any interest in history and historic architecture.