Landmarks of South Carolina

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Avenue of Oaks, Boone Hall
Avenue of Oaks, Boone Hall / bluesurf1311, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Most interesting landmarks of South Carolina

Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of South Carolina.

Natural landmarks

Waterfalls

Raven Cliff Falls
Raven Cliff Falls, the tallest waterfall in South Carolina / JAG, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0
  • Lee Falls – Oconee County, Sumter National Forest. 23 m tall waterfall on Tamassee Creek, the most prominent plunge is some 15 m high. Considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in South Carolina.
  • Rainbow Falls, SC – Greenville County. Some 30 – 40 meters tall waterfall with a single plunge, one of the most prominent waterfalls in the state.
  • Raven Cliff Falls – Greenville County. The tallest waterfall in South Carolina, some 100-110 m tall. Waterfall has formed on Matthews Creek and has several cascades.

Other natural landmarks

Botany Bay Road, Edisto Island
Botany Bay Road, Edisto Island / amareschal, Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
  • Angel Oak – Charleston County, Johns Island. Enormous Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) of unusual beauty. The circumference of the trunk is 8.5 m but especially impressive is the enormous crown which covers 1,600 square meters. Stories about ghosts – angels around the tree.
  • Botany Bay Road Tree Tunnel – Charleston County, Edisto island. Beautiful road through a “tunnel” of moss-covered trees, mainly oak trees.
  • Landsford Canal State Park lilies – Chester County. One of the three largest remaining populations of a spider lily Hymenocallis coronaria. This beautiful flower is very rare and here it forms a pure stand in Catawba River and can be admired in May-June.
  • Table Rock – Pickens County. 970 m tall mountain with a fairly flat surface and steep slopes of monolithic granite. This mountain is a batholith – fragment of magma which was pressed upwards in the Ordovician period some 430 million years ago.

Man-made landmarks

Archaeological landmarks

  • Fig Island shell rings – Charleston County. A group of shell rings – ring-shaped shell middens. The largest ring has a diameter of some 40 m. These mounds were made some 4400 – 3600 years ago.

Settlements

Rainbow Row in Charleston
Rainbow Row in Charleston / David Shankbone, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Beaufort Historic District – Beaufort County. In this town have been preserved several neighborhoods with numerous magnificent homes and gardens from the 19th century.
  • French Quarter in Charleston – Charleston. The oldest part of Charleston City which has been settled since 1680 and initially was walled. The area has many historical buildings, the oldest could be the Pink House from 1712 (?).
  • Rainbow Row in Charleston – Charleston. A group of thirteen historical row houses which are colored in diverse bright pastel colors. The longest and most impressive cluster of Georgian row houses in the United States. Houses were built in the time period between 1741 and 1845.

Plantation houses

Boone Hall Plantation
Boone Hall Plantation / David Kirsch, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Auldbrass Plantation – Beaufort County. Historical plantation at Combahee River. The main complex of buildings was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1940-1951. The original architecture has been well preserved and once per two years can be accessed y the public.
  • Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens – Charleston County, Mount Pleasant. One of the oldest existing plantations in the United States, founded in 1681. The stately plantation house was built in 1935-1936 in a Colonial Revival style. Stories about ghostly apparitions around the kiln of the plantation. A famous feature of the park is Avenue of Oaks.
  • Drayton Hall – Charleston County. The oldest unrestored plantation house in the United States. It as built sometimes around 1738 in the Palladian style. Now it serves as a museum of plantations.
  • Hampton Plantation – Charleston County. Historic plantation house which was built in 1735-1790 (or 1791). This wooden house is designed in Georgian style.
  • Millford Plantation – Sumter County. Magnificent plantation house in the Greek Revival style. It was constructed in 1839-1841 by the Manning family, one of the largest slaveholders of the period.

Parks and gardens

Middleton Place Garden
Great oak of Middleton Place Garden / Caitlin Alexander, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • Avenue of Oaks, Boone Hall – Charleston County, Mount Pleasant. Outstanding avenue of enormous oaks. Avenue is more than one kilometer long. Planting of the avenue was completed in 1843.
  • Brookgreen Gardens – Georgetown County. The first formal sculpture garden in the USA, developed by the famed sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington in the 1930ies. The beautiful park is adorned with numerous sculptures, mainly showing animals.
  • Middleton Place Garden – Dorchester County. One of the oldest and most prominent landscaped gardens in the United States. Park was developed around plantation house since 1741.

Public buildings

South Carolina State House
South Carolina State House / Florencebballer, Wikimedia Commons / public domain
  • Charleston County Courthouse – Charleston. A historical court building (1790-1792). It has been designed in Neoclassicism style by James Hoban and is a model for his later work – White House in Washington D.C.
  • Old Slave Mart in Charleston – Charleston. One of the last slave auction galleries in the United States. This historic building was constructed in 1859 and slaves were sold here until 1863. Now here is the Old Slave Mart Museum.
  • South Carolina State House – Columbia. South Carolina’s government house was built in 1855 – 1875. It is shaped in the Greek Revival style. Around the house are located numerous monuments commemorating the history of South Carolina.

Unexplained phenomena

  • Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp – Lee County. In abandoned areas of Lee country over the last decades is reported fearsome, approximately 2 – 2.1 m tall monster with lizard-like skin. This monster repeatedly attacked cars in events which resemble scenes from horror movies.
  • The Gray Man of Pawleys Island – Georgetown County. A ghost which, reportedly, is seen on the beaches of Pawley Island before hurricanes. It has been first reported in 1822 and has appeared many times, last in 2018 before Hurricane Florence.

Other landmarks

Dock Street Theatre
Dock Street Theatre / Saif Alnuweiri, Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  • Aiken-Rhett House – Charleston. Historical city house, which was built in 1820 by the merchant John Robinson, one of the best-preserved townhouse complexes in the United States. It contains also the historical slave quarters. Now here is museum.
  • Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge – Charleston. Enormous cable-stayed bridge with two towers, each 175 m high, holding a deck with eight traffic lanes and pedestrian way. Total length – 4 km. Constructed in 2005 and designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and earthquakes.
  • Dock Street Theatre – Charleston. Hotel – theatre building in the historical center of Charleston. Constructed in 1809 and adorned with wrought-iron balcony. This hotel was built in the site where the first theater building in the area of the United States was constructed in 1736. Reportedly a haunted place.
  • Fort Sumter – Charleston. Sea fort – a fortified island at the entrance in Charleston port. Construction started in 1829 and was left unfinished on April 12, 1861, when the American Civil War started exactly here. A historical monument of major importance.
  • French Huguenot Church in Charleston – Charleston. This small church was built in 1844 in a sophisticated Gothic Revival style. The only independent Huguenot church in the United States. Huguenots fled from persecution in France and many came to South Carolina, often becoming rich and influential merchants.

Described landmarks of South Carolina

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There is a term: Southern graciousness and much of it can be found in South Carolina. This state definitely has its own charms and these show in the following highlights:

  • City of Charleston. Cozy, homely and, due to this, getting overcrowded… which tells something about the draws of this city. Charleston has preserved much of its rich history – including hundreds of sophisticated historical buildings, each with its own long history.
  • Plantation houses. The closest relatives to the traditional European manor houses, but with their own, specific characteristics of the American South – occasional alligators in the park ponds, incredible avenues of moss-covered oak trees and… yes, slave cabins. Different sides of human nature meet in the same historical landmark.

Featured: Angel Oak

Angel Oak
Angel Oak / RegalShave, Pixabay / Pixabay license

If there is a tree with its own character – Angel Oak is one. This is a highly unusual and sometimes even menacing tree. Thousands of people come to see it every year but in the past it was fearsome tree to the slaves of local plantation.

Recommended books

South Carolina: A History


Covering almost five centuries, an insightful, authoritative, and comprehensive history of South Carolina brings to life the diverse voices of the South Carolinians of the past and details the state’s present economic, educational, and political challenges.

Wild South Carolina: A Field Guide to Parks, Preserves and Special Places


South Carolina is state of great natural beauty and rich biodiversity. From mountainous rainforests to isolated barrier islands, the Palmetto State is a remarkable place to encounter abundant plant and animal life. Wild South Carolina, compiled by a mother-daughter team of naturalists, delves into the most intriguing outdoor destinations, offering advice on how, when, and where to experience the state’s ecological treasures.

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