Escort Notes | Olde English District

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More battles were fought in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War than in any other state. Yet most people probably do not think of that war when they think of South Carolina. In South Carolina’s Olde English District you will find many reminders of the War for our Independence.

"Come spend a few hours where the British spent a miserable winter.” Where? Historic Camden Revolutionary War Park offers a view of colonial life during the Revolutionary War. Included at the site are two circa 1800 log houses and the authentically reconstructed Kershaw-Cornwallis House. Commandeered by Lord Cornwallis during the Revolution, the Kershaw-Cornwallis House served as British headquarters during the war. At the turn of the century, Camden became the perfect Southern retreat for northern sportsmen looking for a mild climate. In addition to horses, there were great opportunities for golf and shooting along with grand hotels. The wealthy industrialists such as the Duponts, made Camden their playground. Built in 1929 Springdale Race Course started its Carolina Cup Steeplechase Race in 1930. They developed the first $100, 000 international steeplechase race in America. It is the only race course in the U.S. which continues to offer two $100, 000 purses annually at its Carolina Cup in the spring and the Colonial Cup in the fall.

Cheraw is the birthplace of jazz great Dizzy Gillespie and he spent his boyhood there. Drive by Theatre on the Green which used to be an old movie house. Dizzy kept getting caught trying to sneak into that theatre for free so the owner finally hired him as a "child bouncer", to keep other youngsters from trying the same trick. His pay was that he did get to see the movies for free. Named for the Cheraw Indians, whose main town was nearby, Cheraw began as a small trading pose. Groups can tour a pre-Revolutionary private home through the services of a step-on guide. Also through the guide's services they can tour Old St. David's Church which has soldiers from every war, including the Revolution, buried in its cemetery. Sherman's troops occupied Cheraw during the Civil War and your guide can point out the historical homes as well as entertain you with stories and folklore from that time.

Look along the side of the road. There's a mammoth vine growing, overtaking bridges, overpasses, trees, everything in sight. That vine, kudzu, was brought over from Japan and the farmers thought it would be great to feed their cows. The only problem is, cows won't touch it. Now, kudzu grows wild in the south, up to three feet in 24 hours! Nancy Basket, a Cherokee Indian, has found a creative use for kudzu. She crushes the leaves, makes paper out of it and then dyes the paper. She then creates art using kudzu as the basis. Her work is on display in Union, with particularly fine examples at the Inn at Merridun, an antebellum bed and breakfast in Union which conducts tours of the inn and offers group meals or afternoon tea.

Landsford Canal State Park boasts the world's largest collection of Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies. The best way to view the lilies is on the Catawba River in a canoe, but you can also view them along the banks of the river. They bloom mid-May through June and the river at that time looks as if a white lace blanket has been tossed across it. An added bonus at the park is storytelling and local historical folklore by the Park Superintendent.

Two prime examples of Robert Mills (designer of the Washington Monument) architecture can be found in Lancaster at the Old Jail and the Courthouse. You can take a self-guided walking tour or guided tour of the downtown to view these and other historic sites. North Carolina and South Carolina have been arguing for years as to who can claim the birthplace of our seventh President, Andrew Jackson. At Andrew Jackson State Park you can see the letter in Jackson's handwriting stating he was born on South Carolina soil on March 15, 1767 at the plantation where James Crawford lived. A museum and one-room schoolhouse are reminders of the pioneer era that Jackson exemplified.

In Winnsboro you will find the country's oldest continually running town clock. The clock is the focal point of the tour and you can take a self-guided walking tour or a guided walking or driving tour of this historical town. Settled in the middle 1700s the town was named for Revolutionary War hero, Colonel Richard Winn. Winnsboro served as the location of British Headquarters under Lord Cornwallis in 1780. In this town you will find more than 100 structures over 100 years old.

Suggested Routes

US1, Cheraw, SC to Camden, SC

You are traveling on US 1, American’s first national highway. It was completed in 1931 at Cheraw which was near the mid point of the roadway. The South Carolina section is part of the Jefferson Davis National Highway, named for the President of the Confederacy in... {continue reading}

Highway 9 Through Chesterfield County

You are traveling along South Carolina Highway 9 which runs east-west from the coast to the mountains. This section of SC 9 passes through the piedmont with its rolling hills. Hwy. 9 at this point is lined with numerous wildflowers. In the spring the red fields... {continue reading}