It’s almost impossible to go to any corner of South Carolina without finding evidence of how the state has been shaped by its diverse heritage and history.
Historic Brattonsville, located in McConnells, is one of South Carolina’s most notable historical attractions, made famous by the movie The Patriot. The site features more than 30 colonial and antebellum structures spanning 775-acres. Visitors can tour the buildings on walking paths, and along the way, see interpreters depict the evolving landscape of life in the South Carolina Piedmont from the mid-1700s until the early 1900s. Historic Brattonsville is one of the few remaining living history sites where the lives and stories of African-Americans are told through interpretation.
Another favorite attraction among history buffs is the Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site. Between 1780 and 1781, British troops captured and occupied the area, and today the grounds depict the day-to-day life of those who lived nearby. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the property including several restored Colonial and Revolutionary War era buildings. To see the property in action, keep an eye out around the first or second weekend in November for the annual Revolutionary War Days event. Hundreds of reenactors bring the site to life with battlefield demonstrations, storytelling and children’s activities.
The Catawba Indian Nation includes descendants of some of South Carolina’s earliest inhabitants, and their cultural influence is still felt throughout the state to this day. Their influence is most heavily seen in Catawba pottery, a craft believed to be the oldest art form east of the Mississippi. Passed down from generation to generation, this form of pottery making is more than 4,000-years-old, and the Catawba Cultural Center in Rock Hill is home to a large collection of these works. The center works to preserve the Catawba people’s way of life and educate the public about their history in South Carolina.
One of the state’s better known histories is that of the Gullah/Geechee people of the South Carolina sea islands. At The Penn Center, South Carolina’s first school for freed slaves, cultural performances, exhibits and enrichment programs are put on year round; including the popular Annual Gullah Days Celebration, celebrating and remembering the lifestyle and cultural ways of the Gullah people. The York W. Bailey Museum on site gives visitors an up-close look at the lives of those who were transformed by the school through photographs, oral histories and other exhibits.