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Abbeville Is a Historical Treasure in South Carolina

Allison Vile Allison Vile
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
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Pay a visit to one of the most striking buildings on Abbeville Square—which hosts some of the largest crowds throughout the year. The Historic Abbeville Opera House harkens back to touring New York stage shows that stopped in Abbeville on the way to Atlanta. Between 1908 and 1913, Abbevillians enjoyed approximately 260 live performances on the Opera House stage. The theater offered a rich variety of shows to suit all tastes, from "The Great Divide," "Fagg’s Famous Lady Minstrels" and Shakespeare’s "Romeo and Juliet" to opera productions such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

Today, the Opera House has been fully restored to its turn-of-the-century grandeur and has twice received the South Carolina Governor’s Travel Award for Tourism. It is also known as the Official Rural Drama State Theatre of South Carolina and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 7,800-square-foot stage still uses the same rope-pulled rigging system as in 1908, making it the only “hemp house” remaining in the state. This show-stopping performing arts theater welcomes almost 20,000 visitors to the Abbeville area during the winter and summer seasons.

Another must-see historic site in Abbeville is the Burt-Stark Mansion. The home was built in the 1830s by David Lesley, a local attorney and planter, and later purchased by U.S. Congressman Armistead Burt. It was the site of President Jefferson Davis’ last Confederate War Council meeting. After the infamous surrender, the home passed through several more owners after the war and was purchased by the Stark family in the 1900s. Mary Stark Davis, the last surviving member of that family, donated the home to the Abbeville County Historic Preservation Commission.

Allison Vile
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.