SPRINGFIELD -- Walking through the historic halls of the old Springfield High School at 210 Brodie St. is like going back to a simpler time, but there’s much more to explore beyond earlier days.
An arsenal of dedicated volunteers transformed a once-dilapidated two-story building built in 1929 into an architectural marvel for the public to visit. The old school is a place to learn about Springfield history -- and enjoy the Orangeburg County Military Museum. Two museums at the old school house local and international artifacts.
Admission to both museums is free, though donations are appreciated.
The military museum includes a display of artifacts, military records and other historical documents dating back to the Revolutionary War.
The Revolutionary War exhibit details the local battles of Dean’s Swamp that were fought near Springfield and includes a number of artifacts from this time period.
A Civil War exhibit includes a Bowie knife and hoe head, while a World War I exhibit includes pictures, uniforms, suitcases, medals and other items donated by families of soldiers who fought in that war.
A picture of Edith Phin of Wagener, one of the first female volunteers in World War I, is also included in the exhibit, along with a shell casing that is an example of WWI trench art.
An exhibit featuring pictures of area men killed in action, or KIAs, is also featured in the museum, as are materials about John Entzminger Jr., who was on the committee that developed the drone for the U.S. military. Entzminger graduated from Springfield High in 1955.
A long knife rifle bayonet and a crossbow from Vietnam are among the artifacts on display.
The replicated drawings of Samuel Lionel Boylston, who served in the South Pacific during World War II, are additional treasures on display. The original drawings are located in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
The museum currently serves as headquarters for the S.C. Patriot Guard Riders, a diverse group of motorcyclists from every state in the country that carries flags to honor fallen soldiers during funeral services as well as at other patriotic events.
Another exhibit includes uniforms and other items from servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan, including some from Ken Furtick, the son of Springfield Mayor Ed Furtick currently serving in South Korea. One encasement contains an Afghan scarf worn to prevent inhaling dust and a native Afghan hat worn by the Pashtun tribes.
The museum also includes an exhibit of the Tuskegee Airmen, of which Orangeburg's Earl Middleton was a member. There is a model plane -- the North American Aviation P-51 Mustang, also known as the Red Tail for its bright red-painted tail.
Along with the museum component, the school is home to exhibits dedicated to showcasing the history of Springfield and other areas.
Artifacts and rooms are dedicated to the early days, including a room to family and faith, which features a bedroom, front porch, Sunday school room and other church exhibits.
Old cancellation stamps and an old thread box are among the items displayed in the early post office.
Pill box hats and an old radio box can be seen in the a home life exhibit, with an antique organ, joggling board and vintage record player included in the faith and family exhibit.
One of the museum’s exhibits features state symbols and emblems, including information about the state spider, the wolf spider, and the state vegetable, collard greens.
A farming exhibit includes an old mule harness, harness clip and pitchfork from the early 1900s.
A vintage beauty parlor and a kitchen with an old bread warmer and sprinkler bottles, which were used before the days of steam irons, are featured in the school’s exhibits.
A Springfield “Hall of Fame” room has pictures of Captain John Gabriel Guignard, who chartered, surveyed and named the town in December 1887.
The museums are open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Appointments are needed for other visiting times.
The old Springfield High School museums are part of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, a federally designated National Heritage Area that now extends across 320 miles of South Carolina.