Tidbits and Trivia

  • Thoroughbred Country encompasses four counties totaling 2,462 square miles.
  • The whole area, a portion of the Old Barnwell District, was known for raising thoroughbred horses after the Revolutionary War and thus has been popular for quite a while with thoroughbred racing fans.
  • Some artifacts found at an archaeology dig in Allendale County are believed to be over 12,000 years old. These artifacts are helping add to the theory that the first North Americans did not walk over in one main migration, but came earlier by other methods such as by boat.
  • Denmark is home to nationally-known artist Jim Harrison. Known for his paintings of rural Americana, Jim has a public gallery here in a restored sign shop.
  • The Aiken County Historical Museum houses a safe from the 1850's that was found in an interior wall of the White House during a 1950 renovation. The safe weighs 99 lbs.
  • The legend of the Healing Springs near Blackville dates back to the 1700's when Indians used its waters to cure their ailments. Many locals still believe in the healing powers of the springs. The acre of land surrounding the springs was legally deeded to God by its owner in 1944.
  • The Town of Salley is known as the "Chitlin' Capital" of the world. To celebrate, the town hosts the Chitlin' Strut every fall.
  • Barnwell is home to what is believed to be the only vertical sundial in the United States. Although erected prior to Standard Time, the sundial keeps within two minutes of that.
  • Allendale County is the youngest county in South Carolina. It was formed from parts of Barnwell and Hampton counties in 1919.
  • The Battle of Rivers Bridge was the only major resistance encountered by Sherman's army on its historic march through the state. Breastworks from the battle can still be seen at Rivers Bridge State Historic Site near Ehrhardt.
  • The wonderful climate and natural beauty of Thoroughbred Country attracted Mennonites from western states. Experience their culture and cooking in Blackville.
  • Blackville is located 50 miles south of Columbia, 50 miles east of Augusta, GA, 30 miles west of Orangeburg and 30 miles east of Aiken. Several small towns, all within a 10-mile radius, surround Blackville.
  • In the early 1900's, North Augusta was in competition with Hollywood, CA to become the new home of the movie industry. Fearing that the industry would cheapen their resort community, local developers allowed the industry to choose Hollywood.
  • General Sherman came through Bamberg because it was home to the President of the South Carolina Secession Convention, David Flavel Jamison. Jamison also introduced the legislation that started The Citadel.
  • Many communities in this area grew up along the Charleston-Hamburg Railway, the first commercial railway in America and the longest commercial railway in the world at that time.
  • Brigadier General Irene Trowell-Harris was born on a small cotton farm in Aiken County. In 1993, she was selected as the first female African-American General in the 357 year history of the National Guard.
  • The Monetta Drive-In opened in 1951 and provided decades of entertainment before closing in 1986. The theater reopened in 1999, reviving a unique tradition and an almost lost past time. The theater is the only operating Drive-In Theater in South Carolina.
  • Bamberg was home to South Carolina's most notable author, William Gilmore Simms. Simms wrote the history of South Carolina in 1841.
  • Langley Pond in Aiken County is the fastest growing rowing venue in the Southeast and the only Olympic size course in South Carolina. Visitors from all over the world compete in national and regional competitions annually.
  • Silver Bluff Baptist Church, located in Beech Island, is regarded as the oldest African-American church in America.
  • Polo has been played in Aiken for well over a century and matches are still held today at several fields. Whitney Polo Field has the distinction of having the longest continuous period of play of any field in the country.
  • In 1934, an innovative coach lit the football field at Denmark High School. Although there is no documentation to prove or disprove the claim, local historians claim this was the first lighted football field in the state.
  • Hitchcock Woods, located in Aiken, is two and a half times the size of Central Park. Known as the largest urban forest in the country, these 2000 acres are great for walking, hiking and horseback riding.
  • Dixie-Narco, located in Williston, manufactures most of the world's vending machines.
  • Dupont Planetarium, located on the campus of USC-Aiken, is a 45 seat theater with a 30 ft diameter tilted dome. The facility is complemented by two large sundials, a variety of telescopes and the only known camera obscura (pin-hole camera) that displays real time, outside images on a planetarium dome.
  • Barnwell's Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles was not burned during Sherman's march but rather it was used as a stable for Union horses. The altar window, which depicts the entire doctrine of the Christian church, was removed and buried before Sherman's troops arrived. The hiding place proved to be a good one.
  • Matilda Arabelle Evans, MD was born in Aiken County. Evans was the first African-American woman to be licensed as a physician in South Carolina.
  • The AT&T Building in Denmark was a significant participant in the first historic transcontinental telephone call, made January 15, 1915. The building now houses an antique store.
  • Thoroughbred Country products include: peaches, passenger and light truck tires, concrete block, metal rims, fertilizer, kitchen and bath cabinets, steel wool, bronze markers, combed cotton, coated textiles, kaolin, tissue products, wine, retail bakery products, poultry, nuclear handling tools, fiber optic patch cables, proprietary drugs, industrial felt, rebuilt railway cars, animal feed, grass and certified seeds.