Camden (c. 1730 ; 9.8 sq. miles; population: 7,033)
Camden, the oldest existing inland town in the state, was part of a township plan ordered by King George II in 1730. The frontier settlement, initially named Fredericksburg Township (later Pine Tree Hill), took hold by the 1750s, as Quakers and Scots-Irish emigrants and settlers from Virginia put down roots.
Joseph Kershaw, a native of Yorkshire, England, arrived in 1758 and established a store for a Charleston mercantile firm. He prospered and by 1768 the town was the top inland trade center in the colony. At his suggestion, the town became Camden, in honor of Lord Camden, champion of colonial rights. In May of 1780 the American Revolution returned to Charleston, and it fell. Lord Charles Cornwallis and 2,500 British troops immediately marched to Camden and set up the main British supply post for the Southern Campaign. For eleven months the citizens of Camden withstood the atrocities of war.
Two battles were fought near by. The Battle of Camden, the worst American battle defeat of the Revolution, was fought on August 16, 1780 nine miles north of the museum. Nearby, General Nathaniel Greene and approximately 1,400 Americans engaged 950 British soldiers commanded by Lord Francis Rawdon on April 25, 1781. It was a costly British win and forced the Redcoats to evacuate Camden.
Visitors re-live history at Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site, a 107-acre outdoor museum complex that offers a view of life during the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods in Camden and Kershaw County.
The crown jewel of Springdale Race Course, the National Steeplechase Museum, is the only one of its kind in the United States. The museum is devoted to the history of steeplechasing in America with memorabilia from many past and present race meets and offers a glimpse of how a steeplechase training facility works. The race course hosts two main events per year. The Carolina Cup ushers in spring with steeplechase racing at one of the state's largest sporting events. Estimates of 70,000 fans come for a day of racing and outdoor activity. The Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup in the fall provides the season's grand finale-often deciding which horse of the year will garner the famous Eclipse Award. Established in the 1970s as part of the state's Tricentennial Celebration, The Colonial Cup is a memorial to the founder of the eminent race meet and benefactress of the course, Marion duPont Scott. It is a family day in the country enjoying the thrill of steeplechase and a host of activities to enchant children.
The Carolina Downhome Blues Festival continues to be a must-do weekend in Camden featuring legendary international talent. Over 3 days in October, there are 40+ performances at 15+ different sites with 25+ performers (solo, duo or group). There are blues for all tastes from classic soul to horn-driven funk to blues rock to the best of acoustic blues...and all points in between. Performances take place in a variety of intimate venues--both indoors and out--bringing the best in blues artistry, up close and personal, the way it was meant to be experienced.