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SCIWAY News No. 57 – July 2008

Previous Issues of SCIWAY News

In This Issue

  1. In The Nick of Time: SC City Nicknames
  2. July's Top Ten – Notable SC Websites
  3. The Shag: Our Swingin' State Dance
  4. SC Picture of the Month
  5. Upcoming SC Festivals & Events
  6. Heritage Corridor Provides Perfect SC "Stay-Cation"

1. In The Nick of Time: SC City Nicknames

Each time we ask for your contributions to one of our guides, we're always lucky to be rewarded with interesting stories. Your letters with nicknames for South Carolina cities were no exception. Here are just a few of our favorites ...
  • Due West – "Do Wah Ditty"

    It ain't no town and it ain't no city.
    It's just a little place called Do Wah Ditty.

  • Great Falls – "Flopeye"

    Named after a man with a lazy eye who was known to have good prices at his general store in the early 1900s. Be sure to read the whole story.

  • Sumter – "Gamecock City"

    Both Sumter's name and nickname honor American Revolutionary War General Thomas Sumter, who got his nickname when the British noted that his aggressive style of warfare resembled that of a gamecock.
While some SC aliases are intuitive, unearthing the origins of others requires a little more digging. For example, we're still not exactly sure why Florence is also known as Magic City, although it could be a nod to the rapid growth in the city's industrial and medical sectors after WWII.

Other monikers may create some "friendly" competition – as in the case of Newberry and St George. The first claims to be the City of Friendly Folks, while the latter calls itself the Town of Friendly People.

For your reading pleasure, we're pleased to present our SC City Nicknames Guide. While a solid start, we know there are more city and town nicknames eager to make it on our list. Send us a note if you know of one we don't have. By sharing your stories, you highlight the sense of place that ties South Carolina's history, people, and landscapes together.

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2. July's Top Ten – Notable SC Websites

Bin Yah: There's No Place Like Home - Documentary on the potential loss of Mt Pleasant's historic African-American communities to urban sprawl

Button King - Bishopville artist Dalton Stevens displays his button art - You've just got to see this to believe it! - resource no longer exists

City of Barnwell - Includes calendar of events, FAQs, and a list of helpful links to businesses and organizations in the Barnwell community

DoTheLightSwitch.com - Information from the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina on how to save energy and money by using compact fluorescent light bulbs - resource no longer exists

Great Dane Rescue of South Carolina - No-kill sanctuary for abused, neglected, and abandoned Danes throughout the state

Hard Rock Park - Myrtle Beach's newest attraction - Learn about rides and buy tickets online - Update: Park closed in Sep 2008 - site no longer available

League of Women Voters of the Clemson Area - Nonpartisan political organization advocates education and citizen participation

Marion County Economic Development Commission - Promotes new businesses and relocation of existing businesses to Marion County

Shout About Carolina - Blog highlights family-friendly places in SC - Tips, photos, and videos will help you make the most of your vacation

Your Rec Connection - Great guide to Greenville County parks and events - site no longer exists

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3. The Shag: Our Swingin' State Dance

The Carolina Shag was designated the official state dance of South Carolina in 1984, but for more than a half-century, it has been synonymous with warm sand, cold beer, and beach music. A form of Southern swing, it's said to have begun along the Grand Strand as early as the 1920's. The Shag's smooth rhythm has been described as "the jitterbug on Quaaludes" 1 – indeed, the gliding steps may have begun as an adaptation to avoid kicking up sand. (Some also say limiting upper body movement helped prevent spilled drinks!)

The Shag may have originated in part at Charlie's Place, a black nightclub in Myrtle Beach owned by Charlie Fitzgerald. Charlie's Place was located in an African-American section of town called The Hill, and despite segregation laws and customs, white and black dancers alike packed the club each night to dance to the music they loved.

As Beach Shagger's Hall of Famer Harry Driver explains, "We were totally integrated because the blacks and whites had nothing in our minds that made us think we were different. We loved music, we loved dancing, and that was the common bond between us." 2

Before World War II, the Shag was danced to what was then referred to as race music and is now known as rhythm and blues. (Beach music was a later off-shoot of R&B.) Considered illicit, the music was uncommon on radio stations. Many white teenagers flocked to black nightclubs and "juke joints" where it was a staple. The intermingling of blacks and whites, especially in the form of a somewhat suggestive dance, flew in the face of Jim Crow and occasionally met with severe consequences.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, shag or shagging can refer to an act of sexual intercourse. At The Pad, once a hotbed of Shag culture, townsfolk insisted that latticework be constructed over the lower part of the building to prevent anyone from inadvertently seeing the risque moves within. 3

Over the years, the Shag has become a South Carolina institution with a devoted following. Numerous organizations have developed to support and promote the dance that has embedded itself in our culture. Take a moment to explore SCIWAY's Guide to the Shag. There you'll find videos, a directory of Shag festivals and events, SC Shag organizations and venues, info on classic Shag bands, and much more.

One final note: The Shag was designated the state dance of North Carolina in 2005 – copycats!   :)
  1. Walter Edgar, "The South Carolina Encyclopedia" (Columbia: 2006, 859-860).
  2. Charles Joyner, "A Region in Harmony: Southern Music and the Sound Track of Freedom" (Houston: February 2006, 1).
  3. 'Fessa John Hook, "Shagging in the Carolinas" (Charleston: 2005, 47).
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4. SC Picture of the Month

Colorful hot air balloons rise to float in Anderson's azure summer sky.

Anderson Hot Air Balloons

Each year over the Labor Day weekend, Anderson celebrates the Balloons Over Anderson, a three-day festival that welcomes 80+ hot air balloons. The event also features live music, a car show, arts and crafts, and kids' activities. Thanks to Glenn Brill of Anderson for sharing this colorful shot with us.

Contribute your shot to the SC Picture Project or see our most recent photo submissions.

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5. Upcoming SC Festivals & Events

For a complete calendar of South Carolina festivals and events, visit https://www.sciway.net/calendar.html. Here are just a few of July and early August's highlights:

South Carolina Festival of Discovery - SC history, traditions, and culture - Food, music, and amusement rides - July 10-12

SC Genealogical Society Annual Workshop - Columbia - Classes, speakers - July 11-12 - page no longer exists

Beaufort Water Festival - Music, dances, fireworks, Blessing of the Fleet - July 11-20 - site not available

Jammin' in July - Historic Camden - Outdoor music festival - July 12 - site not available

Battle of Huck's Defeat Reenactment - Historic Brattonsville, York County - Revolutionary War demonstrations, music, theatrical performances - July 12-13 - page no longer exists

Junior SOS - North Myrtle Beach - Youth shag dancing competition - July 15-20

Pageland Watermelon Festival - Music, food, crafts, rodeo, classic car cruise - July 18-20 - site not available

Big League World Series - Easley - Baseball tournament for players ages 16-18 - July 26-August 2

Little Mountain Reunion Festival - Newberry County - Rides, food, arts, crafts, parade - August 1-2

Fried Green Tomato Festival - Beech Island, Aiken County - Food, live music, car & bike show - August 2 - site not available

Hunting Island State Park 75th Anniversary Celebration - Tours, kayaking lessons, sandcastle contests, wildlife demonstrations - August 2-3 - site not available

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6. Heritage Corridor Provides Perfect SC "Stay-Cation"

If one of the newly coined "stay-cations" seems right up your alley this year, consider the SC Heritage Corridor's Discovery Route. Stretching 240 miles from Charleston to Pickens, with suggested stops at state parks, county museums, and "discovery sites," the trip is perfect for both adults and children. Diverse bits of our heritage come together across the 14-county journey, joining to tell a more seamless account of SC's history.

The corridor is divided into four regions, making the trip more manageable. We recently followed the route through Region 3 of the Heritage Corridor. Here you can trace the path of what was once America's longest railroad, pamper yourself in the one-time winter resort town of Aiken, and even taste water from an artesian well that was deeded to God by its last owner!

You should devote at least two days to this trip. Spend the first exploring small towns such as Blackville and Branchville, the epitome of rural SC life and perfect places for history buffs to brush up on the significance of railroads and agriculture in 19th century South Carolina. Here are some of our favorite highlights:
  • For a taste of the aforementioned water, visit God's Acre Healing Springs in Blackville. You know it's good when locals can be seen filling up their water jugs too.

  • The railroad played a fundamental role in the development of the area. Towns sprang up every few miles, including that of Branchville, the site of the world's first railroad junction. You can now visit the Branchville Railroad Museum at the site of the old depot.

  • Notice the many hyphenated schools in the area; they exist around the state but seem especially prevalent here as small towns combine resources. Look for Blackville-Hilda, Bamberg-Ehrhardt, Williston-Elko, and Denmark-Olar high schools.

  • You'll pass right through Williston – once known as the Asparagus Capital of the World. The town was also heavily invested in the cotton industry. Keep your eye out for the Williston Gin, which was in operation for over a century.

  • If you have children with you, they'll definitely enjoy the Region Three Discovery Center which features hands-on interpretive activities. (Please note: This park has since closed.)

  • Our Town Clock Photo Gallery gained several new additions on this trip. Town clocks for Aiken, Blackville, and Williston are now in our gallery! Remember to send in your photos!
Blackville Town Clock Aiken County Historical Museum Downtown Aiken Horse Statue

On the second day, change gears and head to the City of Aiken, a popular winter colony in the late 1800's which has retained its upscale feel. It too was influenced by the railroad; in fact, the town is named after William Aiken, Sr., first president of the South Carolina Railroad.
  • Take a tour through the Aiken County Historical Museum. It occupies a 32-room house, part of which dates back to 1840. The rooms are filled with memorabilia relating to everything from the Savannah River Site to the Civil War and includes replicas of an old Aiken pharmacy, a long-time mayor's office, and a post office from Aiken's past. Be warned – the museum practically doubles as a maze!

  • Hitchcock Woods is America's largest urban forest at 2,100 acres. Bicycles are not allowed, but in keeping with Aiken tradition, horses are welcome!

  • Equestrians may also enjoy a visit to the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. The museum is tucked away inside Hopelands Gardens, which hosts evening concerts in the summer.

  • Downtown Aiken is full of unique shops and restaurants and is fun to explore. After a long day of taking in the sights, we felt we deserved a cool treat at Sweet Cow Creamery.
Perhaps you agree that one of the great things about South Carolina is our geographical and cultural diversity – "From the Mountains to the Sea" only begins to tell the tale. If so, we think you'll enjoy exploring South Carolina's Heritage Corridor, which celebrates the variety our state has to offer while showcasing our shared history. If you go, be sure to send us your recommendations & photos – after all, we have three more regions to explore!

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