11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Ashley River Historic District

Year Listed: 1995
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Threat: Development

Watson
Thousands of dwellings are proposed for the Watson Hill tract, not far from this stretch of Ashley River Road near Charleston, S.C.

Credit: Courtesy of Drayton Hall

 

Significance

A 13-mile corridor bound by the Ashley River Road and the Ashley River northwest of Charleston, the area includes 53 properties and archaeological sites tracing history from Native American habitation to 18th century African-American settlements to Civil War fortifications. More than 420,000 tourists, residents and scholars each year are drawn to the beauty of the area's slow-flowing streams, bright green marshes, moss-hung live oaks, stately plantation houses and colorful gardens. Unfortunately, the region is threatened by development pressures and a lack of coordinated regional planning, both of which threaten to overwhelm the tranquility of the Ashley River Road, a National Scenic Byway, and historically significant sites such as Drayton Hall (c.1740), Magnolia Plantation (purchased in 1676), and Middleton Place whose gardens were laid out in 1741, making them the oldest gardens in the nation.