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SCIWAY News No. 58 – August 2008

Previous Issues of SCIWAY News

In This Issue

  1. Tastes of Our State: Key Ingredients Visits SC
  2. August's Top Ten – Notable SC Websites
  3. Rocks, Peaches, Symbols
  4. SC Picture of the Month
  5. Upcoming SC Festivals & Events
  6. Finding Fun in Fairfield County

1. Tastes of Our State: Key Ingredients Visits SC

From enjoying a bowl of she-crab soup to learning to make your grandmother's cornbread, South Carolina is undoubtedly a state where we cherish our connection to food. Many of us identify our culture with the foods we prepare, eat, and enjoy. A draw for tourists and residents alike, our culinary traditions are deeply ingrained and have helped to make South Carolina the place it is today.

You probably know by now that SCIway takes a road trip each month. What you may not have known is how important our lunch stop is to us. From small-town eateries to big-city bistros, we've been lucky to sample a smorgasbord of tastes throughout our state. So when John Singh, Elloree's town administrator, emailed us and mentioned that the Elloree Heritage Museum was hosting an exhibit called Key Ingredients: America By Food, our taste buds were intrigued.

Downtown Shops Snider Cabin Loyns Park

Key Ingredients is a traveling exhibit sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution which highlights the connections we make through the foods of our everyday meals and celebrations. Using photographs, illustrations, and artifacts, Key Ingredients underlines the importance of food in American culture. From advances in farming to technological improvements in our kitchens, the exhibit goes beyond simply what is on our plates to explore the various regional, historical, and social factors that contribute to the diversity of our foodways.

We also had the pleasure to discover the rest of the Elloree Heritage Museum, with its complete cotton gin, life-size dioramas, and welcoming staff. It was a wonderful experience that we would recommend to anyone. Key Ingredients was appropriate for the Elloree museum, which focuses heavily on the agriculture and food of the region.

With food on our minds, we finished our tour of the museum, and walked across the street to have lunch at Amporns Thai Cuisine. Who would think a town as small as Elloree has one of the best Thai restaurants in the state? After lunch we walked around town and peeked into the many antique stores. While exploring, we happened to bump into John, the reader who suggested our trip. He shared some tidbits on happenings around Elloree and showed us the old town jail. It was a pleasure for us to meet one of our readers in person and discover yet another delightful SC town.

Cotton Gin Elloree Town Clock Old Town Jail

Throughout our roadtrips in the state, we've always been welcomed warmly by passionate folks who are excited to share their local knowledge with us. It's yet another reminder that across South Carolina, fascinating stories abound, waiting to be discovered if you stray from the interstate and explore.

Be sure to check out the Elloree photo gallery from our trip.

If you're interested in seeing Key Ingredients for yourself, you can catch it at the following SC museums:

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2. August's Top Ten – Notable SC Websites

Coastal Rescue Mission - Faith-based organization providing health and human services to the homeless of Horry County

Greenville Rape Crisis Center - Provides services to survivors of child abuse and child sexual abuse in Greenville County - page no longer exists

Homeownership Resource Center - First-time homebuyer workshops, mortgage default counseling, reverse mortgage counseling, and credit analysis workshops - page no longer exists

Lake Murray Country Interactive Map - Includes points of interest around Lexington, Newberry, Richland, and Saluda counties - page no longer exists

North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center - Chronicles evolution of fire-fighting methods while teaching about fire safety and prevention - also features antique equipment & tools

Our Region, Our Plan Survey - Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Government's Regional Land Planning Committee wants locals' input on area growth and conservation plans - page no longer exists

SCIWAY's Guide to Preschool and Early Education - Just in time for school, our guide to Head Start programs, childcare centers, and preschools across SC

South Carolina Library Obituary Project - State Library's directory of resources for accessing SC obituaries - page no longer exists

Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution - Historians dedicated to the research and documentation of the Revolutionary War - site includes an online publication

UpstateSORBA - Upstate chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association, serving Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Oconee, Pickens, and Laurens Counties

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3. Rocks, Peaches, Symbols

If you're like us, you may recall sitting in third grade history class reciting a long list of state symbols. They've probably been reduced to trivia status in your mind now, if you can bring them to mind at all. (Did they ever really expect us to remember the State Amphibian?)

Hopefully our recent articles on South Carolina's State Songs and State Dance refreshed your memory a little. Our research for them got us thinking that perhaps all of our state symbols deserve another look.

"The Palmetto State" has no less than 30 such designations, which seems like quite a lot. Of course, making something an official state symbol doesn't inherently change its worth, but it does illuminate a little piece of South Carolina that has helped to shape our identity. Each symbol, no matter how trivial it may initially seem, reveals a tidbit of our culture or history that is worth revisiting.

For the next several months, we'll be highlighting these symbols in SCIWAY News. And don't worry – there won't be any quizzes this time around. With the pressure off, hopefully you'll enjoy learning some neat facts that may not have been in your history books!

August's Featured Symbols:
  • SC State Stone: Blue Granite - Far from being just a nice countertop surface, this blue-grey stone was declared the "Silk of the Trade" after being quarried in Fairfield County for more than 50 years. Indeed, entire homes and churches in Fairfield are built of Blue Granite! Learn more about our state stone, its ties to early SC railroads, and its many uses in SC.

  • SC State Fruit: The Peach - We're in the throes of peach season now, and frequent stops at road-side stands are definitely warranted! Visit this page to learn more about the history of peaches in our state, and even have some SC peaches delivered straight to your door!
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4. SC Picture of the Month

The USS Yorktown seems to majestically glide over the marsh in Charleston Harbor.

USS Yorktown

The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mt Pleasant is home to the USS Yorktown, as well as the USS Laffey, USS Clamagore, and USCG Ingham. Located just across the harbor from the Charleston peninsula, Patriots Point offers an interesting visit to anyone.

This photo was contributed by the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. If you would like to have your local landmark featured, please submit your photo to the SC Picture Project. We select photos for the newsletter from the ones we receive, and it is a great way to bring publicity to you or your organization.

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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 August and early September's highlights:

South Carolina Peanut Party - Pelion - New rides, live entertainment, crafts, parade, library book sale, and of course, a whole bushel of peanuts! - August 7-9 - page no longer exists

South Carolina State Museum's 20th Birthday Bash - Columbia - 20-hour party celebrates South Carolina's diverse culture and includes beach music, vintage cars, fireworks, and more - August 16-17 - page no longer exists

Spittoono - Clemson - Music, dancing, food vendors, free admission - a variation on that "other" arts festival they have in Charleston each year - sponsored by the Redneck Performing Arts Association - August 21-23

Jubilee Festival of Heritage - Columbia - Historic tours, children's activities, storytelling, stepping competition, music, and arts & crafts vendors - August 23

Williamston Spring Water Festival - Crafts, children's amusement rides, 5K run, & antique car show - August 23

BMW Roadster Homecoming - Greer - Plant tour, vendors, dining, and silent auction - August 28-31 - page no longer exists

Upper SC State Fair - Greenville-Pickens Speedway - Live music, farm exhibits, demolition derby, rodeo, helicopter rides, midway, and carnival rides - August 28 - September 7

Beach, Boogie, & BBQ Festival - Myrtle Beach - Free concert with John Michael Montgomery, 5K run/walk, car show, children's rides and games, celebrity meet-and-greet, and of course, a BBQ competition - August 29-30

Balloons Over Anderson - Anderson - Three-day hot-air-balloon festival with children's play area, entertainment stage, and more than 80 balloons! - August 29-September 1 - page no longer exists

Darlington Historic Racing Festival - Legendary 1950s-1970s cars and drivers from NASCAR, Indy, and more - August 30-31 - page no longer exists

Chapin Labor Day Festival - "Chapin Idol" contest, parade, crafts, and local food vendors - September 1 - page no longer exists

South Carolina Apple Festival - Westminster - King and queen contest, river-float, apple-baking contest, road race, and classic car show - September 2-6

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6. Finding Fun in Fairfield County

Check out the Fairfield County photo gallery, with pictures of our trip.

Historic Fairfield County, centrally located just northwest of Columbia, is home to several beautiful towns. If you're looking for a perfect day-trip, Ridgeway and Winnsboro are well suited for nature, history, and architecture buffs of all ages.

The town of Ridgeway boasts a population of 328, a single stoplight, and what may just be the world's smallest police station – it's comparable in size to a small powder room. Erected in 1940, it remained in use for fifty years, until the police department moved into the building next door. (At just about twice the size of the original, at least one author has suggested this new building may well be the world's second smallest police station!) The old station now serves as a tourist information "booth" where visitors can sign a guestbook and collect brochures on nearby attractions.

Charles Wray Home Lauras Tea Room Ridgeway Police Station

A walking tour of the town's historic homes and buildings can be completed in about an hour. Stop by town hall and pickup a walking tour brochure to learn about the historic structures. Beautiful Victorian-era homes line the two main streets of Palmer and Dogwood and are generally well maintained. The architectural details of homes built by families named Ruff (pronounced "roof") and Thomas evoked a period when luxury and beauty were embodied by stunning design.

A stop at Laura's Tea Room is a treat for everyone. The former mercantile has been transformed to accommodate a gift shop on the first floor and a beautiful tea room upstairs. The service is impeccable, and the atmosphere provides a perfect spot to enjoy a few moments' rest before heading to your next stop.

Ten miles from Ridgeway is the lovely town of Winnsboro, a main source of our state stone, blue granite, and site of the longest running town clock in America! Winnsboro is the county seat and headquarters for the Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce. In fact, their office is located inside the town clock building. This makes for a great place to begin a short tour of Congress Street, which runs through the center of town.

Old Brick Church Winnsboro Town Clock Fairfield County Historical Museum

Just up Congress, you'll find the Fairfield County Museum. The three-story brick building in which it is housed was constructed in the early 1800s as a private home, but was later purchased for use as a girls' school. It has since undergone numerous transformations, but it retains many of the original architectural details. Director Pelham Lyles and her small team of staff and volunteers are extremely helpful with their knowledge of the area, and they will gladly point out the most significant sites on a map. The museum itself houses numerous artifacts related to the history of the town and its surroundings, which date back to the Revolutionary War.

A stop by the Old Brick Church is the ideal way to round out your day. This simple structure was built in 1788 by the Scotch-Irish immigrants who worshipped there. It is surrounded by an ancient cemetery which is enclosed by a wall made from the same blue granite that was mined locally for decades. Fairfield County offers more than one might expect, so be sure to leave early and pack your camera for this exciting and picturesque tour of one of South Carolina's most beautiful places!

Incidentally, South Carolina Electric and Gas proposes to build two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, located in Jenkinsville. The utility company is pushing to begin work immediately, despite opposition by Fairfield County residents.

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