The City Magazine Since 1975

Growing On

Growing On
April 2014

Wars leave devastation in their wakes. For the South, in addition to tearing apart families, cities, and the economy, the Civil War also left a lasting mark on the landscape. Case in point: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. When Rev. John Grimke-Drayton inherited the property in 1836, he transformed its 2,000 acres into a resplendent English-style garden. But by the 1870s, following the war, only 500 overgrown acres remained. Needing income, Grimke-Drayton turned to the very people who had originally worked the land and formed the gardens—former slaves. In exchange for room and board, emancipated men and women such as Uncle Frazier (far left holding a rake) and Aunt Phoebe (far right holding a broom) stayed on to work, reviving the landscape and becoming tour guides. If it weren’t for their efforts, the renowned garden destination wouldn’t be the magnificent attraction we know today.