South Carolina: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

A list of important historic sites in South Carolina.

Aiken House and Associated Railroad Structures

Location: Charleston, Charleston County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: These structures are associated with William Aiken, Sr. (1779-1831), who in 1827 founded the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company. Aiken’s Charleston-to-Hamburg railroad was the first to use steam from the beginning of its operations, the first to use an American-made locomotive, and the first to carry the U.S. mail.

Atalaya and Brookgreen Gardens

Location: Murrells Inlet, Georgetown County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: Atalaya and Brookgreen Gardens most accurately reflect the distinguished career of Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), a sculptor whose work spanned a period of seventy years. Huntington specialized in studies of animals, and no other woman of her time period was as accomplished; her work won her international recognition, including the Palmes Académiques of France and the Grand Cross of Alfonso XII of Spain. Her work can be found in public spaces and museums around the world, including the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. Atalaya served as her winter home and contained a studio in which she created Don Quixote, one of her most important works. When it was founded in 1931, this was the first public sculpture garden in the country. The sculpture gardens at Brookgreen served as a place to display her own works, as well as those of her contemporaries.

Burt-Stark Mansion

Location: Abbeville, Abbeville County

Relevant issues: Civil War, military history, political history

Statement of significance: Here, on the afternoon of May 2, 1865, the final Confederate council of war occurred. Richmond had been evacuated the month before and the Confederate government was in flight; General Robert E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House on April 9; and General Joseph E. Johnston had surrendered Confederate forces in the Southeast on April 26. Still, President Jefferson Davis believed he could rally the troops of Lieutenant General Richard Taylor in the Gulf States, join them with Confederate troops still active across the Mississippi, and continue the struggle for an independent Confederacy. In a meeting in this house, Davis asked his subordinates, among whom were Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge and General Braxton Bragg, for advice on future military plans. His advisers responded that continued resistance was impossible; the war was over. Their unanimous opinion convinced Davis that all had indeed been lost.

Coker Experimental Farms

Location: Hartsville, Darlington County

Relevant issues: Science and technology

Statement of significance: Here, following the example of his father, David Robert Coker (1870-1938) conducted his early crop-improvement experiments on the family plantation. Beginning with thirty experimental cotton selections and methodically applying the latest techniques in the scientific breeding of crops, the work of Coker Experimental Farms played a great role in the agricultural revolution in the South.

Fort Hill

Location: Clemson, Pickens County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: From 1825 to 1850, this was the residence of John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850), best remembered for his vigorous defense of states’ rights. Calhoun penned his “South Carolina Exposition and Protest” at Fort Hill in 1828. His long political career included terms in the U.S. House (1811-1817) and Senate (1832-1843, 1845-1850), service as secretary of war (1817-1825) and secretary of state (1844-1845), and the office of vice president (1825-1832).

Hibernian Hall

Location: Charleston, Charleston County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: Completed in 1840, this is the only extant building associated with the Democratic Convention of 1860, one of the most critical political assemblies in the history of the United States. At Charleston, the fate of the old party system was sealed: The Democratic Party was shattered and Republican victory assured in the fall. Hibernian Hall served as headquarters for the faction supporting Stephen A. Douglas, the pivotal personality of the convention.

Ingham

Location: Mount Pleasant, Charleston County

Relevant issues: Naval history, World War II

Statement of significance: Built in 1936, the 327-foot cutter Ingham is one of two surviving examples of the Secretary Class, a type significant in the U.S. combat response to the German U-boat threat. Ingham escorted convoys across the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean, earning the Presidential Unit Citation; in 1942, it sank U-626. Transferred to duty in the Pacific, Ingham spearheaded the liberation of Corregidor and other Philippine territory. In 1968, it returned to combat off Vietnam. When it was decommissioned in 1988, Ingham was the oldest commissioned U.S. warship afloat.

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

Location: Charleston, Charleston County

Relevant issues: Religion

Statement of significance: The present Greek revival-style structure (1840) houses a congregation regarded as the birthplace of Reform Judaism in America. It is also the second-oldest synagogue in the United States in continuous use.

Laffey

Location: Charleston, Charleston County

Relevant issues: Naval history, World War II

Statement of significance: The only surviving Allen M. Sumner Class destroyer and the only surviving World War II destroyer that saw service in the Atlantic, Laffey acted as escort to convoys to Great Britain, and on D day it bombarded Utah Beach at Normandy. Sent into the Pacific, Laffey was involved in one of the most famous destroyer-kamikaze duels of the war. It earned five battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation for its service.

Mills House

Location: Columbia, Richland County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: This classical two-story brick mansion was built for a wealthy merchant by Robert Mills (1781-1855), native South Carolinian, first federal architect, and designer of the Washington Monument.

Penn School Historic District

Location: Frogmore, Beaufort County

Relevant issues: African American history, education, social reform

Statement of significance: In 1862, long before the end of the Civil War, Northern missionaries arrived on St. Helena Island to assist the black population. They organized one of the first southern schools for African Americans here and pioneered health services and self-help programs. The oldest existing structure is the Brick Church (1855), which served as a school for the newly freed slaves.

Powder Magazine

Location: Charleston, Charleston County

Relevant issues: Colonial America, military history, Revolutionary War

Statement of significance: The Powder Magazine is a visible reminder of the era of the Lord Proprietors and their founding government of the Carolinas, of the fortifications which protected the city and made Charleston one of the three fortified cities on the eastern seaboard of British colonial America. Completed in 1713, the Powder Magazine is also associated with the siege of Charleston (1780).

Rainey House

Location: Georgetown, Georgetown County

Relevant issues: African American history, political history

Statement of significance: Joseph H. Rainey (1832-1887), the first black person to serve in the United States House of Representatives (1870-1879), served longer than any of his black contemporaries. The election of Rainey and of Hiram Rhoades Revels, who began a term in the U.S. Senate in the same year, marked the beginning of active African American participation in the federal legislative process. Rainey was born in this house and lived here until 1846. After the Civil War, from 1866 to 1881 and again from 1886 until his death the next year, it was his principal residence.

Rhett House

Location: Charleston, Charleston County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: This large clapboard frame dwelling was the residence of Robert Barnwell Rhett (1800-1876), known as the “Great Secessionist” and one of the most effective and prominent of that circle of proslavery “fire-eating” radicals. Beginning in 1850, Rhett launched a carefully programmed campaign to sever the slaveholding states from the Union; he had a major influence on the state’s Ordinance of Secession (1860).

Smalls House

Location: Beaufort, Beaufort County

Relevant issues: African American history, Civil War, political history

Statement of significance: This large frame house was the residence of Robert Smalls (1839-1915), former slave, state legislator (1868-1874), U.S. congressman (1875-1881) from South Carolina, and customs collector (1889-1913) for the Port of Beaufort. Smalls first came to national attention when on May 13, 1862, he organized the abduction of the Planter, a Confederate steamer based in Charleston Harbor.

Snee Farm

Location: Mount Pleasant, Charleston County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: Snee Farm was owned by Charles Pinckney (1757-1824), one of the youngest members of the Continental Congress (1784-1787) and member of the Constitutional Convention, where he presented the “Pinckney Plan.” He later served as governor of South Carolina (1789-1792, 1796-1798, 1806-1808), U.S. senator (1798-1801), and minister to Spain (1801-1804).

Snow’s Island

Location: Johnsonville, Florence County

Relevant issues: Military history, Revolutionary War

Statement of significance: From approximately December, 1780, to late March, 1781, Snow’s Island served as headquarters for forces led by Francis Marion (1732-1795), a South Carolina militia officer who is celebrated as the “Swamp Fox.” Employing guerilla war tactics, Marion significantly contributed to the American war effort by conducting numerous raids on British outposts.

South Carolina State House

Location: Columbia, Richland County

Relevant issues: African American history, political history

Statement of significance: Begun in 1851 and completed in 1907, this fine example of neoclassical architecture demonstrates the disruptive effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras on Southern development. Here, between 1869 and 1874, the only legislature in American history with a black majority met; it was the setting for The Prostrate State: South Carolina Under Negro Government, an influential book which fostered the image of Reconstruction as an era of African American domination, corruption, and misrule; in 1876, it was the scene of disputes about state elections, which ultimately resulted in the removal of federal troops from the state and the return to power of the Democrats.

Stono River Slave Rebellion Site

Location: Rantowles, Charleston County

Relevant issues: African American history, colonial America, disasters and tragedies, military history

Statement of significance: On September 9, 1739, approximately fifty-one escaped slaves attacked a warehouse located here, killing the guards and seizing the weapons stored within. The group, led by an Angolan called Jemmy, then set off for freedom in the Spanish province of Florida, burning plantations and murdering all whites they encountered along the way. Their attempt was thwarted by a colonial militia, which overtook the swelling band and killed or captured all involved with relative ease.

Categories: History Content