Mcleod Plantation Historic Site
As with most of Charleston’s oldest landmarks, McLeod Plantation Historic Site has an important but dark history contained within the walls of its mansion and slave cabins and the fields that surround them. It’s definitely a spot worth visiting during your time in Charleston!
A Stunning Charleston Attraction with a Deep History
While the McLeod Plantation is currently named for the mansion and plantation that was founded in 1856, records for the six hundred and seventeen acres that it consisted of go back as far as 1671.
Over the centuries, the McLeod Plantation in Charleston changed hands from family to family without having any buildings built on it or crops developed, until owner William Wilkins sold the property to Samuel Perronneau in 1741. In 1753, Perronneau’s will specified that slaves were to be purchased in order to develop the plantation.
Several families, innumerable slaves, countless failed crops due to poor soil conditions, and nearly one hundred years later, the plantation was sold to William Wallace McLeod. McLeod fixed the issues with the soil and built the property that stands today. It served as a Confederate field hospital from 1861 until 1865, at which point the property served as a camp for the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Volunteers, which consisted of freed black infantry members who helped emancipate enslaved people. It was also the temporary location of the Freedmen’s Bureau.
McLeod Plantation in Charleston is foremost federally recognized as a place with an important role in developing the creole Gullah and Geechee culture in South Carolina. Many slaves who worked on plantations like McLeod Plantation were brought from west and central Africa to labor in cotton, rice, and indigo fields, and consequently gave rise to a culture comprised of elements from various African cultural and ethnic groups. At McLeod Plantation, you can see what life and living conditions were like for slaves, from developing cancer from making dye from indigo plants, to the slave cabins they lived in, to their culture and forms of worship.
Interpretive forty-five minute guided tours of the house are given at 9:30am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, and 2:30pm daily. You can also go on a self-guided tour of the house. Admission is priced at $15.00 per adult.
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