Drayton HallA Distinctive Destination
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Drayton Hall is the nation’s finest and earliest example of fully executed Palladian architecture and its double portico is acclaimed as the first of its kind in the world. Other features include a post-Civil War African American tenant house and one of the oldest documented African American cemeteries in the nation still in use.
When the National Trust acquired Drayton Hall in 1974, it made the decision to “preserve” or stabilize the site. This action—unprecedented in its day—set Drayton Hall on a course unique among historic sites: it preserved its authentic, centuries-old timeline of history rather than restoring it to one specific period.
John Drayton purchased the tract of land in 1738. His wealth was facilitated by the institution of slavery. While no documents survive from this period to provide the exact number of enslaved individuals owned by John Drayton, he owned more than 100 commercial plantations totaling approximately 76,000 acres of land, and the figure is likely in the thousands
Drayton Hall’s Collections tell a rich diversity of stories, including those of family, ethnicity, innovation and artistry, enslavement, social and economic enterprise, the impact of war, and the natural environment. Its impressive Collections of 18th and 19th century decorative arts and artifacts bear witness to these stories.
“The most significant, undisturbed historic landscape in America.”Southern Landscape Historian Suzanne Turner
As the oldest unrestored plantation house in America still open to the public, Drayton Hall offers guided house tours and programs, including the annual Distinguished Speakers Series. Professional interpreters and educators bring to life the history of the site and the stories of its people while sharing important insights into how African and European traditions blended to create the rich Lowcountry culture that exists today.
The site’s Sally Reahard Visitor Center includes an orientation hall, dedicated exhibit gallery, interpretive garden, educational facilities, an expanded and updated gift shop, and a rehabilitated Caretaker’s House with additional learning opportunities.
Drayton Hall is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and operated and administered by the Drayton Hall Preservation Trust.
Benefits for National Trust Members
50% Off All-Inclusive Admission for up to two guests.
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All National Trust Historic Sites are open! We encourage you to check directly with each site for up-to-date information on available activities, ticketing, and guidelines if you are planning a visit.Plan Your Visit