A Layered History: Interpreting Cultural Resources at Sesquicentennial State Park
Kaley Brown, Stephanie Gilbert, Justin Harwell, Zoie Horecny, Maclane Hull, Kira Lyle, Helen Marodin, Jennifer Melton, Hannah Patton, Ragan Ramsey, Kate Schoen, Carlie Todd, and Paige Weaver
Sesquicentennial State Park is one of the most popular state parks in South Carolina and is well-known in the Columbia metropolitan area as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the urban scene. Driving through its entrance gates from busy Two Notch Road, visitors find themselves immediately in the midst of a pine forest. Past the ranger’s kiosk a winding road follows the contours of the gently rolling terrain, offering occasional glimpses of a mysterious fire tower, an evocative two-story log house, and eventually the open vista of a large lake with white concrete buildings and lawns along the shore. This beguiling patch of nature in the midst of the city has long been a place for recreation and for learning natural history in an “outdoor classroom.” Although an historical plaque notes that the park was established by the Sesquicentennial Commission, there is little at the modern park to help visitors see that the site has both natural history and a deep human history. (A couple of recently placed waysides now explain the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and a civil rights challenge in the 1960s.) This report presents some preliminary findings on the human history of the park – as well as the history of the site before it became a park.
The report is divided into seven sections. The first section is the park’s current mission statement. Sections two and three present a set of “statements of significance” and “primary interpretive themes” which seek to identify important patterns of history at the site as ways to make the past meaningful to public audiences. The fourth and largest section offers fresh research on the history of Sesquicentennial State Park by “periodizing” it into five eras: the pre-park history, the role of the Sesquicentennial Commission of 1936 in creating the park, the management of the South Carolina Commission of Forestry, the ten-year struggle to desegregate South Carolina’s state parks, and the management of the South Carolina State Park Service, the current steward of the park. Section five offers ideas for how this history might be communicated to visitors in a cost-effective manner, using strategically placed QR codes in public areas and along existing walking trails. Because this is a preliminary report on park history, section six contains suggestions for further research to help guide future researchers, within or beyond the South Carolina State Park Service. The research team discovered much new information but much more can be uncovered. Lastly, section seven is an appendix with an historical timeline, bibliographies, additional information on individuals significant in the pre-park era, and a list of people who worked to establish a museum on the history of Columbia as one legacy of the Sesquicentennial commemoration.
Keywords: South Carolina, Park Service, public history, Sesquicentennial State Park
Prized Pieces of Land: The Impact of Reconstruction on African-American Land Ownership in Lower Richland County, South Carolina
Elizabeth Almlie, Angi Fuller Wildt, Ashley Bouknight, Amanda Bowman, Lee Durbetaki, Keri Fay, Haley Grant, Benjamin Greene, Nathan Johnson, Amanda Roddy, Sarah Scripps, and Morgen Young
This report is divided into five sections. The first section assesses the promise of Reconstruction for black South Carolinians in the years after the Civil War, and it situates thiscase study of the South Carolina Land Commission within that historical context. The second section examines in turn the seven tracts of land sold by the Land Commission in LowerRichland County. The research indicates that in two of the tracts, Hickory Hill and Hopkins, African-American families were able to purchase and retain significant acreage for well over acentury. Section three offers some concluding observations, as it presents a set of recommendations for preserving the extant properties of Lower Richland County associated withthe Land Commission sales and for interpreting this history to public audiences through museum exhibits and educational programming. The primary and secondary sources consulted in this study are listed in section four as a guide to further reading.
Keywords: African Americans -- Land tenure -- South Carolina -- Richland County -- History. African Americans -- South Carolina -- Richland County -- History. Land tenure -- South Carolina -- Richland County -- History. Richland County (S.C.) -- History.
The Camden African-American Heritage Project
Lindsay Crawford, Ashley Guinn, McKenzie Kubly, Lindsay Maybin, Patricia Shandor, Santi Thompson, and Louis Venters
This report is divided into six sections that present a history of African Americans in Camden, South Carolina from the perspective of historic preservation. The first three sections constitute the historical narrative, organized into three general time periods: the colonial period through the Civil War, emancipation and Reconstruction through the civil rights movement, and a short section on the recent past since about 1970. Within each of these sections, the report assesses political participation, economic life, the impact of war, education, religion, and the built environment. Section four offers a set of recommendations for how the information in this report can be used to encourage public education about black Camden and preservation of the city‘s African-American historic resources. The primary and secondary sources consulted in this study are listed in the bibliography in section five. The appendix in section six contains a map and database of black Camden in 1941, based on the treasure trove of information in the city directory of that year.
Keywords: Colonial Period, Civil War, Reconstruction, Civil Rights Movement, African Americans, History, Historic buildings, Conservation and restoration, South Carolina, Camden (S.C.), Race relations, History
Founded in 1975, the Public History Program at the University of South Carolina is one of the oldest public history programs in the United States. Over the years, its graduate students and faculty have undertaken a variety of collaborative class projects that have produced a wide-ranging set of public history reports related to historic preservation, cultural resource management, museums and historic site interpretation. To make these important publications available to a wider audience, the University Libraries are in the process of digitizing and uploading them as resources become available.
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