Middleton Place – A National Historic Landmark

Before I came back to Tempe after our family reunion, I spent a couple days in South Carolina and was able to tour a bit of Charleston. Charleston is a very historical city with a lot of revolutionary and civil war history. While in Charleston, I visited a nearby historic plantation area with my family, called Middleton Place. There are several preserved plantations around Charleston, each offering something unique, and the special thing about this place was its formal gardens. Formal gardens were very fancy and carefully constructed gardens that were featured in many places throughout our early history, and at the Middleton Place, we were able to see what these gardens would have looked like back then.

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These gardens actually reminded me somewhat of the Japanese temple gardens I saw in Kyoto (will post about this later!), but with a different style. They were both about order and everything was specifically placed where it was, as you can see in some of the pictures. Symmetry was something big in these gardens, as well as having different areas with different themes/ideas.

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In addition to the gardens, this former plantation showcased many of the crafts that slaves worked on, aside from working in the fields. In fact, the slaves brought over a vast wealth of knowledge that helped many of these plantation owners become successful, especially in terms of how to grow and cultivate rice. Below are some pictures of various historical reconstructions/re-enactments of the slave crafts.

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Here they were demonstrating the process of making several different types of candles. The machine with all the hanging candles involves repeatedly dipping string into hot wax and spinning it. It apparently takes forever!

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Here was a barrel making demonstration. They would take logs or pre-cut boards and notch them into barrels, tying them together with string or metal – depending on what was to be stored in them. This was also a labor intensive and time consuming process.

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A blacksmith station, where someone could make a huge variety of things, such as gardening tools, horse shoes, and barrel fixtures.

Overall, it was a very educational and interesting visit, where I not only was able to see some beautiful gardens, but also learn a lot of history that I might not have found in my high school textbooks!

Two quick notes!
1) In case you didn’t know, you can click on any picture I post to see a full sized version of it.
2) Please check out my twitter (@rsimpson235), as I am posting many fun science facts as I study for my comprehensive exam in three weeks.

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