Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a historic house with gardens located on the Ashley River west of Ashley, Charleston County, South Carolina. It is one of the oldest plantations in the South, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Magnolia Plantation is located near Charleston and directly across the Ashley River from North Charleston. The house and gardens are open daily; an admission fee is charged.
The plantation dates to 1676, when Thomas and Ann Drayton (née Anna Fox) built a house and small formal garden on the site. The plantation remains under the control of the Drayton family after 15 generations. Some of the enslaved people who were forced to work at the house were brought by the Draytons from Barbados in the 1670s. The historic Drayton Hall was built in 1738 by John Drayton, father of judge John Drayton, Jr., on an adjoining property.
Magnolia was originally a rice plantation, with extensive earthworks of dams and dikes built in fields along the river for irrigating land for rice cultivation. African slaves from rice-growing regions created the works. As time went on, these slaves developed a creolized Gullah language and vibrant culture, strongly influenced by their West African cultures. They have retained many combined cultural elements from West Africa to this day in what is known as the Gullah Heritage Corridor of the Lowcountry and Sea Islands of the Carolinas and Georgia.