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McLeod Plantation: Opening a Window to the Past, Part 2
4/29/2015 4:43:47 PM

Gin House, stabilization: Photo by Vanessa Kaufmann

Main House, stabilization: Photo by Vanessa Kaufmann
(2 of a 4 part series)

By Dana Rasmussen

There were once hundreds of plantations dotting the landscape of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Today, few survive and even fewer provide the public with the opportunity to experience and learn about the complexity of life in the old South.

The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission (CCPRC) unveiled McLeod Plantation Historic Site, located on James Island, to the public for the first time on April 25.

Prepping the Plantation for the Public

To prepare the McLeod Plantation Historic Site for public access, CCPRC constructed a new entrance, welcome center, open air pavilion, viewing dock overlooking Wappoo Creek, ADA accessible paths, interpretive signs and other interpretive media.  Historic preservation efforts included varying degrees of preservation, restoration and conservation of the historic buildings and structures to the main house, six surviving homes built for the enslaved, kitchen and dairy buildings, and the agricultural outbuildings.

To make this project come to life, CCPRC worked with a variety of organizations. Site preservation and the development of historic interpretation was accomplished with assistance and input from the Historic Charleston Foundation, the Friends of McLeod, and other local, state and federal organizations, including the National Park Service.

According to Cynthia Montague, Assistant Director of Capital Projects for CCPRC, the undertaking of this project was different from other projects handled by the park and recreation agency. As a historic property, protecting the existing historic features of the site and structure was extremely important and included precise planning. This included ordering a paint analysis to determine the original colors of the historical structures, archaeological monitoring to avoid disturbing existing artifacts, and dealing with asbestos abatement. Handling necessary permits and permissions was another major component to getting this project underway.

“This project required a great deal of cooperation, coordination, public relations, sensitive design, a skilled workforce, and adequate funds,” Montague said. “Having a great team was paramount to producing what will be a first-rate historical site when it opens to the public this spring that we believe will excite, inspire, and educate its visitors.”

Starting April 25, the property is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stay tuned to the next issue for more on McLeod Plantation, or for more information, visit

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