Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Museum of the Week – The Saluda County Museum

Posted 5/31/2011 8:06:00 AM

If you visit Saluda County you might be surprised to find yourself shouting, “Remember the Alamo!”

Don’t worry, you didn’t get on the wrong flight and end up in Texas. You are still in South Carolina. But Saluda County does call itself the place “where Texas began.”

Confused? You won’t be after a visit to the Saluda County Museum. The museum celebrates the lives of two Saluda county natives, Lt. Col. William Barret Travis and James Butler Bonham, who played crucial roles in the battle for the Alamo. The back room of the museum is dominated by a large, detailed, hand-painted diorama depicting the day on March 6, 1836, when Mexican forces overpowered the men defending the mission near San Antonio. Sadly, both Travis and Bonham were killed during the siege.

The Saluda County Museum also runs the Flat Grove property, which is the birthplace of James Bonham Butler. The simple two-story house was built by Bonham’s grandfather, Jacob Smith, in the early 1770s and was added to by the family over the years. Today you can tour the house by arranging an escort from the museum by calling (864) 445-8550 or emailing info@saludacountyhistoricalsociety.org.

In addition to locally themed memorabilia, the museum also has an interesting permanent exhibit of Saluda County African-American history. Be sure to ask about the Rev. Hezeklah Elijah Perry, otherwise known as the “Sleeping Preacher,” who was illiterate while awake, but who while sleeping gave eloquent sermons in which he quoted the Bible perfectly.

The Saluda County Museum is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information.