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The Historical Chocolate Company is pleased to announce that we are expanding into the Lowcountry, with the addition of Charleston SC’s Middleton Place to our collection.

Middleton Place was established early in the life of the Carolina colony and served as a base of operations for a great Low Country planter family and was home to a dynamic African-American slave community. Begun in 1741 by Henry Middleton, President of the First Continental Congress, the 60-acre landscaped garden was both an intellectual and emotional focus for successive generations of Middletons. Until 1865, the garden was nurtured and embellished by Henry’s son, Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence; Arthur Middleton’s son, Henry Middleton, who was Governor of South Carolina and U.S. Minister to Russia; and Governor Henry Middleton’s son, Williams Middleton, who signed the Ordinance of Secession. Despite long absences prompted by education abroad, military service, and public and diplomatic careers, Middleton family members have always returned to this Ashley River plantation.

The development and prosperity of the Gardens changed drastically during Williams Middleton’s ownership. In signing the Ordinance of Secession, he endorsed the last Confederate cause; a failed attempt at independence that eventually led to the destruction of Middleton Place.  On February 22, 1865, a detachment of the 56th New York Volunteer Regiment burned and looted the house and gardens.  All that remained was the south dependency building, which is today the Middleton Place House Museum.

Two decades after the Civil War, during the great Charleston earthquake of 1886, Middleton Place was dealt yet another destructive blow. The Garden’s terraces were ripped open and the water in the Butterfly Lakes was sucked dry, reshaping in just minutes what had taken scores of slaves a decade to build.

The Civil War and the great earthquake of 1886 had taken its toll, and Middleton Place Gardens lay overgrown and neglected until inherited by J.J. Pringle Smith in 1916. He soon began the massive project of restoring the Gardens to their original splendor of the mid-eighteenth century. The restoration of these elegant and beautiful Gardens gained national attention, and on the occasion of the Garden’s bicentennial anniversary in 1941, The Garden Club of America awarded the Bulkley Medal to Middleton Place “in commemoration of Two Hundred Years of enduring Beauty.” Fifty years later, the International Committee on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has heightened that distinction, naming Middleton Place one of six U.S. gardens of international importance.

In 1974, J.J. Pringle Smith’s heirs established the non-profit Middleton Place Foundation, which now owns the Middleton Place National Historic Landmark. Today, Middleton Place is a thriving restoration or eighteenth and nineteenth century plantation life. Having survived wars, earthquakes, and hurricanes, including Hurricane Hugo in September of 1989, Middleton Place remains a resilient masterpiece of landscape design and a well-preserved plantation that demonstrates two centuries of plantation life.

To learn more about Middleton Place, go to www.middletonplace.org

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Post Office Box 41592
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 688-3422
www.historicalchocolate.com
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