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Explore the Historic Small Town of Edgefield

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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It may be best known as the home of 10 governors, but the small town of Edgefield lays claim to much more than a strong political legacy. This rural community of just 4,750 residents has a charming town square, a downtown district on the National Register of Historic Places, fun antique stores and boutiques, friendly local eateries and a thriving artisan community.

And if that weren’t enough, it’s also the U.S. headquarters of the National Wild Turkey Federation where you’ll find the only museum in the world dedicated to wild turkeys. 

Located near the western edge of the state on the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, Edgefield makes a perfect day trip for visitors looking to experience a different side of South Carolina.

In the center of town is Courthouse Square, a village green that remains much as it was when it was established more than 230 years ago. Among the historic buildings on the square is the Edgefield County Courthouse, once the scene of duels, shootouts and even a murder or two.

The square’s park-like green space features several monuments: an obelisk to the Confederate soldiers of Edgefield; a stone with the names of the 10 governors and five lieutenant governors of South Carolina that were born or lived in Edgefield; and a statue of Strom Thurmond, the longest-serving senator in U.S. history and the only one to reach 100 while in office. The Edgefield native son is buried in the town’s historic Willowbrook Cemetery.

Many of the historically significant buildings on the square are now occupied by shops and restaurants, including Carolina Moon Distillery and Park Row Market No. 1, housed in a general store dating back to at least 1952.

You’ll also find a large number of historic homes and churches in town. Of the 40 19th- century buildings within the historic district, three are house museums—the Discovery Center, featuring exhibits chronicling Edgefield’s history; Oakley Park Museum; and Magnolia Dale, now serving as the headquarters of the Edgefield County Historical Society.

Outside the town center is the recently renovated Horn Creek Baptist Church. Built in 1790, the one-room church was designed in the style of New England meeting houses and features the original wood flooring.

Edgefield is also known for a 200-year-old style of stoneware still being produced today. Edgefield pottery is made with local clay and glazed and fired in a wood-burning kiln at high temperatures, creating a strong and non-porous stoneware that can last for centuries. Along with the sweetgrass baskets made in the Lowcountry and Catawba pottery, it is one of South Carolina’s unique folk-art traditions. You can view and purchase pots at the Phoenix Factory’s Old Edgefield Pottery

You’re also welcome to visit the village blacksmith, operating out of a shop at 206 Jeter St. He works from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday and Saturday.  

And while you’re touring the town, be sure to stop at the Winchester Museum at the Wild Turkey Center. This fascinating museum features the world’s largest turkey call—an oversized box you step in to learn how to make different types of wild turkey sounds. There’s also a helicopter simulator, wildlife oddities and 3D wild turkey dioramas.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.