5 Ruins in South Carolina
Oftentimes when we think of ruins, our minds go to ancient structures such as Stonehenge, Pompeii, Machu Picchu, or the Colosseum, which date back thousands of years and provide invaluable insight into past civilizations. These ruins are certainly breathtaking, and viewing them for yourself can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, not every ruin is accessible solely through a plane ticket to a far-away country. The United States is a relatively young nation in comparison to others, yet it holds a rich history that can be seen through its own interesting ruins, some of which may be a short car ride from your own home. Here is a list of five ruins that are located in our own state of South Carolina.
#5: Guignard Brick Works
Located in Cayce, South Carolina, the Guignard Brick Works didn't actually produce bricks until around the early twentieth century, though the Guignard family had been using the land for their business since long before then, dating back to the early 1800s. Most of the beehive kilns seen on the site today were built in the 1920s, while a fourth was built in the 1930s. The business belonged to the Guignard family until 1955 when Susan Guignard died. Later, tunnel kilns were installed on the property that rendered the beehive kilns useless. The location was used until it was relocated to Lexington in 1974. Today, the location is still owned by Guignard descendants and is listed in the National Register. The Guignard Brick Works is a historical monument that provides insight into the infrastructure and industry of the early twentieth century, and the bricks were even used for the interior of the South Carolina State House.
#4: Pelham Mill
Pelham Mill Park contains the ruins of a cotton mill along with the ruins of a post office. The latter was built in 1870 and closed in 1996 by the textile plant on the site. Although in ruins, the remains of the cotton mill serve as a reminder of the significance of the textile industry to the development of the Upstate. The remains of a stonework dam from the 19th century can be found on the site, along with remnants of the mill, such as underground pipes, turbines, drains, two steam smokestacks, and more. Most of the mill, with the exception of the mill office, burned down in 1943.
#3: Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site
From 1697 until the Revolutionary War, the town of Dorchester prospered through its trade with nearby towns. The Colonial-era town, located in Summerville and situated along the Ashley River, was abandoned after the Revolutionary War. The site is very well preserved, and visitors today can see the remnants of the brick bell tower of St. George's Anglican Church, a fort fashioned out of oyster-shell concrete (known as Tabby), a historic graveyard, and part of an old log-shipping wharf seen at low tide.
#2: Tanglewood Mansion
Tanglewood Mansion, located in Pendleton, was built in 1860 by John Baylis Earle Sloane and his wife Mollie Seaborne Sloane. The mansion was destroyed by a fire in 1908, only to be rebuilt by the family in 1910 using the original columns that had survived the fire. Tanglewood Mansion remained in the Sloane family until it was sold in the 1950s. Unfortunately, the mansion burned down again in the 1970s, once again leaving behind the front portico columns and the rock chimneys that are still seen today.
#1: Old Sheldon Church Ruins
Formerly called Prince William Parish Church, the Old Sheldon Church Ruins are unique because the church was one of the first, if not the first, churches in the US built with the intention of imitating a Greek temple. The church was organized and funded in the 1740s and 1750s. In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, the church was set on fire by British troops and was later rebuilt in 1826 using the remaining walls. Eventually, the building was destroyed a second time, although how is not clear. Many believed that it once again burned to the ground during General Sherman's March to the Sea, however, a letter was found that dated to after the Revolutionary War, in which the letter's writer, Milton Leverett, claimed that the interior of the church had been destroyed by people who needed the materials to rebuild their homes.
Information and picture for the Guignard Brickworks found here
Information and picture for Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site found here