We’re beginning a special journey with a smile – specifically the one on Interstate 26 eastbound at Highway 601 – and from there we’re making 100 stops throughout the 1,100 square miles of Orangeburg County.
It’s called, “Orangeburg: 100 objects, 100 days” and The Times and Democrat along with its readers will serve as tour guides, so to speak.
The journey begins Monday and continues on the 99 days to follow in the pages of The Times and Democrat and online at TheTandD.com, where the series that defines the county through the stories of 100 objects will include a building collection of photos and a matching game that you can play on your desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.
Among the objects to be included, for example, are those that make a splash, such as the waterwheel in the Edisto River at the Edisto Memorial Gardens and the county’s aquatics center on St. Matthews Road.
And while a billboard-sized striped bass, with its famously printed disclaimer “not quite actual size,” greets visitors on Interstate 95 southbound into Santee Cooper Country and Lake Marion’s famous fishing, Orangeburg County isn’t limited to its many waterways.
Taking to the sky, just outside of the town of North, a casual passerby may not realize there are 2,400 acres of land that make up the North Auxiliary Airfield and are owned by the U.S. Air Force. The base is used primarily for C-17 Globemaster III training by the 437th Airlift Wing and its Air Force Reserve “Associate” unit, the 315th Airlift Wing, at Charleston Air Force Base.
And prior to airplanes soaring throughout Orangeburg County, the world’s oldest railroad junction came to be in 1838 in the town of Branchville, one of the county’s 17 municipalities.
Despite progress, there have been difficult times. During times of war, Orangeburg County suffered, persevered and prevailed.
Throughout the county, homesteads and farmlands turned into battlefields and skirmish sites.
The former Orangeburg County Jail, also known as the Pink Palace, sits within the Orangeburg city limits on St. John Street. It was built in 1860 and in the last months of the Civil War in 1865, Union troops caused extensive damage to the jail’s interior. Repairs were made and the jail continued to be used to house and execute some inmates, according to historic records.
Just outside of Eutawville is a site dedicated to the Battle of Eutaw Springs on Sept. 8, 1781, one that historians describe among the “bloodiest” in America’s fight for independence from Great Britain.
Those who led South Carolina troops in battle were none other than Gen. Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion and Gen. Andrew Pickens.
And Orangeburg County continues to capture the picturesque Americana landscape of family-owned and operated small-town shops that have lasted for decades.
Valletine’s cotton gin and old country store, in the town of Cope, give visitors a real glimpse into a vintage country store where merchandise from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s is displayed. The cotton gin, adjacent to the store, remains in operation, usually from September through December.
Also in the western portion of Orangeburg County is the town of Springfield, home of the Governor’s Annual Frog Jump and the historic Springfield High School.
But these are just a few samples of what readers may expect to read about in the coming 100 issues of The Times and Democrat and at TheTandD.com.
Orangeburg County offers a variety of unique objects, whether they’re objects that have etched a place in history or are new on the horizon of the county’s future, The Times and Democrat wants to hear from readers about objects that make Orangeburg County unique.
While The T&D is using a draft list of objects to go along with the series, the list is flexible and needs contributions from T&D readers.
If there’s a place, object or site that seems like a good match to go on the list of “Orangeburg: 100 objects, 100 days,” please submit suggestions online or by phone (using email, phone or Twitter below) or by writing to P.O. Drawer 1766, Orangeburg, S.C. 29116.