Middleton Place is an Ashley River plantation located on Highway 61 (Ashley River Road) just outside Charleston.
(Dorchester County). Middleton Place is an Ashley River plantation located on Highway 61 (Ashley River Road) just outside Charleston. It was established on land originally granted in 1675 but probably not settled until it passed to John Williams in the early eighteenth century. Henry Middleton (1717–1784) acquired the property through his marriage to Williams’s daughter Mary in 1741. Middleton added to the original acreage and began the elegant gardens that have made Middleton Place internationally famous. As the birthplace of Henry Middleton’s son Arthur (1742–1787), a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Middleton Place was listed in the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
The gardens, thought to be the oldest surviving formal landscaped gardens in the United States, are renowned for their collection of Camellia japonicas, introduced about 1786 by the French Royal botanist André Michaux. In 1990 the United Nations International Committee on Monuments and Sites named Middleton Place one of six United States gardens having international importance. Burned by Union soldiers in 1865, Middleton Place continued in the Middleton family until 1984, when ownership was vested in the nonprofit Middleton Place Foundation.
Middleton Place includes a museum housed in what was originally the south flank of the former three-building main residence; a plantation chapel built in 1850 above the eighteenth-century springhouse; a rice mill built in 1851; and an 1870s African American freedman’s house in the reconstructed stable-yards complex. It is open for public visiting every day of the year except Christmas.