Looking for an adventure off the beaten path? Look no further than Orangeburg County, where recreation and history await.
The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor is helping the public learn about the county’s early history by highlighting its museums and historic properties.
It is one of 49 National Heritage areas originally established by Congress in 1996. It has helped kick-start community revitalization and historic preservation in many of the counties that made up the old Orangeburgh District.
The corridor is a federally designated National Heritage Area that now extends across 320 miles of South Carolina. The corridor is divided into four regions, running from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, along the Savannah River, through the Edisto River Basin, to the port city of Charleston.
Region 3 is known as “Rivers, Rails and Backroads” and includes sites from Aiken, Bamberg, Barnwell and Orangeburg counties.
SCNHC sites of interest in Orangeburg County include:
• Santee State Park near Santee: A state park along Lake Marion with hiking, biking, camping, cabins and pontoon boats.
• Arthur Rose Museum at Claflin University in Orangeburg: The museum is open Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
• Great Branch Rosenwald Teacherage near Orangeburg: Located at 2890 Neeses Highway, the teacherage is open on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except holidays and by appointment by calling 803-533-1828.
• Springfield High School in Springfield: The school houses the Springfield Military Museum, which is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
• Santee Cultural Arts and Visitors Center in Santee: Formerly the Old Parler School, the building dates back to the late 1800s.
• Branchville Railroad Junction and Museum in Branchville: A caboose, a semaphore signal and several baggage carts are on display outside. Other artifacts are also on display.
• Historic Church of the Epiphany and Parish House in Eutawville: The church was founded in 1804, the second year of Thomas Jefferson's presidency.
• I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium at South Carolina State University: The museum's present building was constructed in 1980 and is named for the first African-American chairman of the university's Board of Trustees, Isreal Pinkney Stanback.
• Santee Cooper Visitors Center: Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, the visitors’ center is located on I-95 southbound.
• Elloree Heritage Museum: The 10,000-square-foot museum divides its collections into four main areas that cover the period in eastern Orangeburg County history from Native American settlement to the present.
• Thee Matriarch Bed and Breakfast in downtown Orangeburg: The 100-year-old home opened in September 2012 as a meeting and special event venue.
• Vallentine’s Store and Cotton Gin in Cope: J.I. Vallentine built his own cotton gin in Cope in 1911.
• Old Willow High School in Norway: The school is an example of school architecture typical in small American towns in the first half of the twentieth century.
• Holly Hill Depot: It was built in 1921 on the site of two previous train depots dating back to 1886. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
For more information about the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and more specifics on these individual sites, visit www.revealsc.com.