[CHARLESTON, SC – April 21, 2015] – The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) opens McLeod Plantation Historic Site to the public for the first time this week. The long-awaited opening follows a stabilization and construction project that began in April 2014 to bring the nearly 300-year-old plantation on James Island back to life.
The McLeod Plantation Historic Site Grand Opening Ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring tours, demonstrations, and performances throughout the day. Because of the expected number of visitors that day, attendees are encouraged to park at James Island County Park. From there, a free shuttle will take visitors to and from McLeod Plantation throughout the day (park admission fees still apply). For a list of activities scheduled at the grand opening celebration, visit http://ccprc.com/2022/Grand-Opening.
Starting April 21, McLeod Plantation Historic Site is open every Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 or $6 for children ages 3-12. Ages 2 and under and Gold Pass holders are free (up to four people per pass). Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the historic site via 45-minute-long guided tours scheduled on the hour, as well as through self-guided tours. These tours include the homes that make up Transition Row, where enslaved families and their free descendants lived and transitioned from slavery to freedom during the 19th and 20th centuries.
CCPRC acquired the 37-acre McLeod Plantation from the Historic Charleston Foundation in February 2011 with the goal of opening it as a county park. CCPRC worked diligently with consultants, a 21-member steering committee, and public input to create a master plan for the historic property. Early work on the site at this time included an extensive inventory and analysis of the property and a stabilization project to secure and seal its historic buildings.
A groundbreaking took place in April 2014 to mark the beginning of new construction and projects to open the site for public visitation. New buildings and updates to existing infrastructure included a welcome center, an open-air pavilion available for rentals, a creek viewing deck, repairs to the main house and two slave houses, exterior work on the gin house and garage, along with new paths and signage.
First occupied by Native Americans before English colonists arrived in 1670, the site is believed by some to be a possible location for James Towne, the second English town built here in 1671. From the 1670s through the 1850s, ownership of the land changed many times before William Wallace McLeod purchased it in 1851. For ten years the McLeods grew sea island cotton before the Civil War broke out and the plantation was evacuated. During the war it was headquarters for Confederate and Union troops. Following the war it became the James Island field office for the Freedmen’s Bureau and the land was divided among freedmen. By the 1870s the McLeod family recovered the plantation and remained its owners until 1990 when 104 year old William E. McLeod died and left the property to the Historic Charleston Foundation, who sold it to CCPRC in 2011.
CCPRC looks forward to hosting visitors at McLeod Plantation Historic Site and sharing the history of the property. For more information on the site, its history, and to hear the stories of the people who lived there, download the McLeod Plantation Historic Site app for free at the Apple App Store, or visit the link below.