Venturing into the Unknown – A Walk Through Charleston’s History at Magnolia Cemetery

This past Labor Day weekend, Randy and I decided to take a bike ride to a place neither of us knew of, inspired by a mention of it in the new “My Charleston” a magazine-like publication of the Post and CourierMagnolia Cemetery, just off the beaten path in “The Neck” area of the Peninsula, is home to a 128-acre historic cemetery overlooking the Ravenel Bridge.

“Planters, politicians, military leaders, bootleggers, whorehouse madams – you name it, anybody from the last 150 years of Charleston’s history is out there,” says Ted Phillips, author of a soon-to-be published book on Magnolia, City of the Silent. Once a thriving 19th-century rice plantation, the 128-acre cemetery is what Phillips calls a “nice microcosm of Charleston history, of those who were rich and white, since 1850.”

You’ll also find the graves of 2,220 Civil War veterans and those of the sailors who died aboard the Hunley Submarine.

If any of you have read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil which speaks of the Bonaventure Cemetery outside of Savannah, GA (or even visited it), the Magnolia Cemetery holds much of the same mystique and beauty.  So check it out one quiet Sunday – you’ll be amazed by what you find and get a sense of your place in Charleston’s history.


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