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Drayton Hall Plantation
Description: In Charleston, South Carolina, the first use of Georgian-Palladian architecture in North America was displayed at Drayton Hall. Drayton Hall was built by John Drayton in the 1730’s. The mansion sits on a 350 acre property that backs up all the way to the Ashlie River. Carter Hudgins, a Hampden-Sydney graduate from 2000, gave the group a private tour of the plantation. We saw the slave cemetery, the mansion, the landscape, and the archeology building that holds all the artifacts found on the plantation. The plantation was not a commercial plantation like most plantations were at the time. The Drayton Hall Plantation was the headquarters of all the plantations owned by John Drayton and his son, Charles Drayton. Not only was Drayton Hall the headquarters for John Drayton, the mansion he built was also a display to show the power and wealth that he had.
Reflection: Carter Hudgins, our tour guide, is the deputy director of the Drayton Hall Plantation. Carter received a degree in history from Hampden-Sydney College in 2000 and now he has a job where he can use those skills he learned from Sydney. I want to be like Carter in a sense because I want to be able to incorporate my love for history with the job profession I choose. Carter runs a museum which displays multiple aspects of history. I want to do the same as Carter but at a museum like the Smithsonian. Now, the Smithsonian is a larger and more important museum than Drayton Hall but the concept is still the same. The Smithsonian incorporates multiple aspects of history on a larger scale. Seeing Carter and is love for history proved to me that I want a profession where I can use history but also love what I do for a living.
Analysis: Drayton Hall Plantation is a different look on plantations in the South. Drayton Hall was not used for commercial use like Monticello in Virginia or Hayes Plantation in North Carolina. Drayton Hall was a plantation to display John Drayton’s power and wealth as well as the headquarters for the rest of his plantations. Drayton Hall shows people today that large plantations with hundreds of slaves was not always the case. Drayton Hall was only 350 acres in size and had twenty to thirty slaves on the grounds. Most plantation owners lived on a plantation that was used for commercial use but John Drayton did not and he set the norm for South Carolina. A lot of other plantation owners in South Carolina began to do what John Drayton did at Drayton Hall. They would build a mansion on a small plantation and use it as a headquarters for the rest of their plantations as well as use it to display their wealth. Overall, Drayton Hall started the new norm of plantation owners in South Carolina and introduced a new form of architecture in America called Palladian.