70 Cunnington Avenue
Charleston, South Carolina 29405
Founded in 1849, the Magnolia Cemetery is a place of remarkable beauty, overflowing in history, and wonderfully quiet. It’s also humble: no one will be begging you to visit (think ‘hidden treasure’) – but you will find their doors open and free admission. You can even bring your dog and go for a walk. It’s one of my favorite places in Charleston, and it’s just a short distance off Highway 17 along the Cooper river with views of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge. These are just a few of my images from a visit to Magnolia Cemetery a few months ago, in January – one side of the Cemetery was closed for a funeral, so hopefully I’ll be back that way soon and can visit again.
During the 19th Century, city churchyards became overcrowded, and it became necessary to establish new cemeteries outside of the towns. Mount Auburn in Boston and Greenwood in New York were among the first to be founded; Magnolia Cemetery was part of this national trend. In 1849 several Charlestonians began making plans to form a company to establish a rural cemetery. Although their efforts met opposition by those who preferred the traditional church graveyards, a company of eight stockholders was formed who selected a site on the old Magnolia Umbra Plantation. The rules for governing the cemetery were copied from Greenwood and Mount Auburn. The stockholders chose the prominent Charleston architect, Edward C. Jones, to surey and design the cemetery.
Post and Courier Interview with Beverly Donald, Superintendent of Magnolia Cemetery