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Magnolia Cemetery

South Carolina’s planters, authors, politicians and rich merchants lie in stately graves between ancient oaks at this cemetery north of downtown.

Magnolia Cemetery is full of history, ancient oak trees, ornate statues and mausoleums. The headstones, ironwork fences and mausoleums mirror the rich architectural history of the city. The graves are a fascinating chronicle of the lives and times of Charleston’s citizens. More than 35,000 people are buried here. Prior to 1849, the cemetery was a rice plantation.

The cemetery’s winding paths, landscaping, and centuries-old oaks were all part of a plan laid out by architects Edward Jones and Francis Lee in 1850. Walk between the graves to admire intricate headstones and eloquent inscriptions. “One who never turned his back but marched breast forward” is inscribed over the resting place of prominent 19th-century attorney and author Theodore Jervey.

Several other well-known South Carolinian authors and poets are buried at the site. Visit the grave of Southern historian William Gilmore Simms, whom Edgar Allan Poe called “immeasurably the greatest writer of fiction in America.”

More than 1,700 Confederate soldiers and sailors are buried in the cemetery, including generals and unidentified soldiers. The commander and crew of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, which sunk after attacking an enemy ship, were buried here after the submarine was raised and the remains identified.

Keep an eye out for the cemetery’s living inhabitants. The trees, marshlands and lake are home to some 50 species of birds. Signs on the fence warn visitors not to feed the alligators that live in the lake.

Come to the cemetery in October, when the Confederate Heritage Trust conducts an annual ghost walk. Costumed actors play out historic scenes by candlelight.

Magnolia Cemetery is two miles (three kilometers) north of downtown Charleston on the banks of the Cooper River. Some areas of the cemetery are accessible by car. The cemetery is free to enter and open daily. Be sure to check the cemetery’s closing time on your way in.


Guide to Exploring Magnolia Cemetery


Map

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Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District C$213
Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

Hyatt Place Charleston/Historic District

560 King Street, Charleston, SC
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of PURE Theatre and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Medical University of South Carolina are also within 15 minutes.

    The Francis Marion Hotel C$204
    The Francis Marion Hotel

    The Francis Marion Hotel

    387 King St, Charleston, SC
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Charleston Historic District, this spa hotel is steps from Marion Square and College of Charleston. Charleston Music Hall and Charleston Museum are also within 10 minutes.

      Hip 2 Bedroom/1 Bath 1945 Bungalow + Free Parking Downtown Chas Foodie Haven
      Hip 2 Bedroom/1 Bath 1945 Bungalow + Free Parking Downtown Chas Foodie Haven

      Hip 2 Bedroom/1 Bath 1945 Bungalow + Free Parking Downtown Chas Foodie Haven

      Charleston, South Carolina
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in the heart of Charleston, this historic vacation home is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Magnolia Cemetery and within 3 mi (5 km) of College of Charleston and Charleston City Market. Port of Charleston Cruise Terminal and The Citadel are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District C$185
        Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District

        Homewood Suites by Hilton Charleston Historic District

        415 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Charleston Visitor Center and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Charleston City Market are also within 1 mi (2 km).

          Holiday Inn Express Charleston Dwtn - Medical Area C$123
          Holiday Inn Express Charleston Dwtn - Medical Area

          Holiday Inn Express Charleston Dwtn - Medical Area

          250 Spring Street, Charleston, SC
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park and Medical University of South Carolina. College of Charleston and The Citadel are also within 2 mi (3 km).

            Newly Renovated Upscale Freedman's Cottage! Centrally Located on the Peninsula
            Newly Renovated Upscale Freedman's Cottage! Centrally Located on the Peninsula

            Newly Renovated Upscale Freedman's Cottage! Centrally Located on the Peninsula

            Charleston, South Carolina
               
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              Situated in Charleston, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Magnolia Cemetery and The Citadel. College of Charleston and Charleston Music Hall are also within 2 mi (3 km).

              Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown C$160
              Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown

              Holiday Inn Charleston Historic Downtown

              425 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Downtown Charleston, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Charleston Visitor Center and Charleston Music Hall. College of Charleston and Charleston City Market are also within 1 mi (2 km).

                Lovely Downtown Home, Steps From Upper King Street & Rutledge - 1F
                Lovely Downtown Home, Steps From Upper King Street & Rutledge - 1F

                Lovely Downtown Home, Steps From Upper King Street & Rutledge - 1F

                Charleston, South Carolina
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Charleston, this historic vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Magnolia Cemetery and The Citadel. College of Charleston and Medical University of South Carolina are also within 2 mi (3 km).