McLeod Plantation Historic Site
McLeod Plantation is known for its cultural significance as a Gullah heritage site. Find out more here.
From The Pinch
|By Car||11 Minutes|
|Address||325 Country Club Dr|
Open Tuesday - Sunday
Mc Leod Plantation Historic Site
11 min drive
An important Gullah/Geechee heritage site, McLeod Plantation, is evidence of some of the nation’s most significant history. Established in 1851, it has since been preserved because of its cultural significance and role in African-American history.
The plantation is located on James Island, at a site that was first recorded on maps in 1678. During the American Revolution, British General Sir Henry Clinton had his headquarters at the original house while he was planning the siege of Charleston. However, the house standing today was constructed much later, in 1858. The house is open for self-guided tours, which give visitors a glimpse into the life of Civil War-era plantation owners.
A significant feature of the property are six clapboard cabins that were built for enslaved workers at the plantation. Multiple generations of African Americans lived in the cabins, from the 1700s up until the 1980s. Called “Transition Row”, the cabins bore witness to many of the efforts to help enslaved African Americans achieve freedom and then social equality. During the Civil War, the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, which was a regiment made up of free Black men, was quartered in the cabins. Later, the main house served as an office for the Freedmen’s Bureau, and the cabins were homes for freedmen and their families.
Guided tours of the cabins and grounds at McLeod Plantation attempt to tell the history of slavery from the perspective of those who were enslaved. The Gullah people developed their culture during this period of enslavement, and it draws its influences from creole and Central and West African cultures. McLeod Plantation was an important home for this cultural development, and its significance is still being researched today. The site today is a memorialization of and a tribute to the culture that those enslaved people developed. It is officially a part of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, a federally-recognized National Heritage Area that aims to reflect its unique cultural significance.
The grounds at McLeod Plantation are also home to an outdoor pavilion, a beautiful oak lane, and the McLeod Oak, which is thought to be over 600 years old. The land has a lot of agricultural history: the plantation was built by the wealth of sea island cotton, and its location, on Wappoo Creek, made it important for transport of agricultural products to Charleston. The Lowcountry fields of McLeod are evidence of the important agricultural legacy of James Island.
The McLeods, whom the plantation is named after, left the house and its surrounding acres to the Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) in 1990. HCF later gave the property to the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, which operates McLeod Plantation to this day.
Visitors to the park can wander around its 37 acres of fields, dotted with historic oaks. Visitors can also listen in on guided tours of the property, which exhibit McLeod Plantation’s wealth of history and culture.
The slave quarters at Boone Hall are historically significant both for the archaelogical evidence they have left behind and for their links to Gullah culture, which was a unique culture adapted by enslaved people in the Lowcountry. The Gullah are known for preserving much of their African heritage; their beliefs, stories, cuisine, and traditions have strong Western and Central African influence. Today, Boone Hall offers a special exhibit, “Exploring The Gullah Culture”, which is presented by descendants of the Gullah people through song and dance.
The grounds at Boone Hall are also notable: the Avenue of Oaks, planted in 1743, boasts 88 live oaks that form a flourishing tunnel to the entrance of the plantation. Its garden also blooms year-round, with a gorgeous variety of flowers. The garden even boasts antique roses that are more than 100 years old. Butterflies roam freely in Boone Hall’s lovely Butterfly Pavilion, a favorite attraction in the spring and summer. Visitors can also take a tractor tour of the entire grounds, during which they can learn about Boone Hall’s vast history and farming practices.
Named the #1 plantation in the Charleston Area by USA TODAY, Boone Hall is one of the most vibrant historical attractions of South Carolina. Its grounds are gorgeous throughout all seasons, providing an eye-opening history of enslaved people and plantation owners alike. Learn about Gullah culture, farming practices, colonial architecture and more with a visit to Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens.