Joseph Manigault House
Backstory and Context
The Joseph Manigualt House is a historic house museum in Charleston, South Carolina. Built in 1803 by designer Gabriel Manigault, the home was intended for his brother, Joseph Manigault. The home is unique for its signet Adam style architecture. Also specific to this home is the presence of an architectural folly, a specific design added just for decorate and decadence, now preserved as the Manigault House Garden.
The Manigault family has a lineage of French ancestry. As decedents of the French Huguenots, the family fled religious persecution in Europe in the 1600s, entering the United States. They gained significant wealth as rice farmers and merchants during the early 1700s, and quickly became one of the leading wealthy families in Charleston during that time. Joseph Manigualt inherited this wealth, along with multiple rice plantations and over 200 slaves, when his grandfather passed away in 1788. He then married Maria Middleton, whose father was Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This marriage gained him additional wealth and title advancement. When his first wife died, he remarried Charlotte Drayton of the prestigious Drayton Family and had eight children.
In 1920, the city ordinance threatened to tear the home down to develop a gas station. In response, a group of locals joined a group to fight the ruling. They won, and eventually formed the group The Preservation Society of Charleston. In 1933 the home was purchased by the Charleston Museum, and today is open to the public for tours. Visitors to the home area able to see some of the original decor and furniture that would have been present in the home, along with original artifacts from the Manigault family.