The groundbreaking at McLeod Plantation Tuesday morning marked the beginning of new development of the 36.9 acre site, while taking the first steps to making it accessible to the public. The Charleston County Parks and recreation commission purchased the plantation from the Historic Charleston Foundation for $3.3 million, three years ago. Up until this point there has been stabilization work on the plantation buildings, including slave cabins dating all the way back to the 18th century. But Tuesday's groundbreaking marked the beginning to interior repair to the main plantation house, several cabins, a garage and even a gin house.
"It was the site of over 300 years of agricultural use and it's tied to Revolutionary and Civil War activities," said Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission publicity coordinator Sarah Reynolds. "And, it as also the home to as many as 100 enslaved African Americans at the height of its cotton production in the 1800's. So, it's an important site to tell the story of those enslaved African Americans here at the plantation."
A parking lot, a welcome center, a pavilion, and a maintenance building will also be built. The work is set to be finished, and the plantation open to the public,in Spring of 2015.