Along US 78 West From Charleston To Aiken
Aiken, South Carolina
November 11, 2021
Yesterday I drove from Seabrook Island to Aiken primarily along US 78. I wasn't prepared for the memory lane aspect of the drive as I passed through towns where as a member of the St. Angela Academy Fighting Saints we had done battle. The three-hour drive included a variety of sites -- poverty, cotton fields, plantation homes, beautiful views.
I've highlighted some of the towns I drove through.
Bamberg is a city in and the county seat of Bamberg County, South Carolina. The population was 3,607 at the 2010 census.
Bamberg is named after early resident William Seaborn Bamberg. Members of the Bamberg family continue to live in the county to this day. The Bamberg City Hall, Bamberg Historic District, Bamberg Post Office, Gen. Francis Marion Bamberg House, Cal Smoak Site, and Woodlands are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,733 people, 1,383 households, and 923 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,058.1 people per square mile (408.3/km2). There were 1,537 housing units at an average density of 435.6 per square mile (168.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 45.22% White, 53.58% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.11% from other races, and 0.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.48% of the population.
There were 1,383 households, out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.2% were married couples living together, 25.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.7% under the age of 18, 12.6% from 18 to 24, 23.4% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,736, and the median income for a family was $28,309. Males had a median income of $38,068 versus $20,815 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,512. About 21.4% of families and 28.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.2% of those under age 18 and 18.9% of those age 65 or over. Bamberg is the home of Mary Jane's School of Dance.
Justin Bamberg, state representative, and attorney in 2015 police killing of Walter Scott
Da'Quan Bowers, former football player for Clemson University, defensive end in the NFL
A. J. Cann, offensive lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars and former Bamberg-Ehrhardt standout
Zack Godley, Major League baseball pitcher
Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina (2011-2017), and United States Ambassador to the United Nations (2017–2018)
Julius B. "Bubba" Ness, former Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court
Mickey Pruitt, NFL linebacker
Ricky Sapp, former Clemson football player, NFL football player
Rodney Wallace, three-time State Champion in wrestling; former UFC light heavyweight fighter and current mixed martial artist
Mookie Wilson, Major League baseball player, 1986 World Series champion
Preston Wilson, Major League baseball player
Denmark is a city in Bamberg County, South Carolina, United States. The population at the 2010 census is 3,538.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,328 people, 1,331 households, and 846 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,096.0 people per square mile (422.7/km2). There were 1,537 housing units at an average density of 506.2 per square mile (195.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.91% African American, 12.74% White, 0.09% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.75% of the population.
There were 1,331 households, out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.2% were married couples living together, 27.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.8% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $17,578, and the median income for a family was $22,346. Males had a median income of $22,110 versus $13,767 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,243. About 33.4% of families and 35.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 51.9% of those under age 18 and 30.8% of those age 65 or over.
Cleveland Sellers shares memories of growing up in Denmark, South Carolina, especially the influence of Voorhees College in the community. He organized a Youth Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Denmark, and he describes the group's activities. He discusses his first impressions of Howard University, where he joined the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG). He shares memories of the March on Washington and the role of students in organizing it, his involvement in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and his role in the Mississippi Freedom Project. He also describes the goals of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the tensions that developed within SNCC in the late 1960s.
Denmark was originally called Grahams Turnout, as it was founded in the 1830s for a railroad extension and turnout. It was later renamed after B. A. Denmark, a railroad official.
In April 1893, Mamie Baxter, a fourteen-year-old girl in Denmark, alleged that an African American unknown to her had attempted to attack her. John Peterson, a suspect, appealed to South Carolina Governor Benjamin Tillman for protection, fearing he would be lynched if taken to Denmark, and saying he could prove his innocence. He was taken by the mob, put on "trial" and, after the mob found him guilty, was murdered by hanging.
Shown Peterson before the crowd killed him, Baxter reportedly testified:
"I don't know him sir, that don't look like him at all. He is the same color, that's all. He don't talk like the man; he is thinner in the face, he was as dark as this man, but his eyes don't look like him."
The American Telephone and Telegraph Company Building, Denmark High School, and the Voorhees College Historic District, part of the campus of the historically black college, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Amtrak serves Denmark, operating its Silver Star daily in each direction, between Miami, Florida by way of Tampa, Jacksonville, and Savannah, and New York, New York by way of Columbia, Richmond, Washington, and Philadelphia.
Denmark contains two colleges: Denmark Technical College and Voorhees College.
Denmark has a public library, a branch of the ABBE Regional Library System.
Arts and culture
Denmark is home to the Dog Wood Festival, which is a festival that includes rides, games, and food/drink stands and was originally hosted 517.01 ft (15758.4648 cm [estimated]) from Beech Ave to South Beech Ave, but was moved to Cypress St as of 2019. According to the history of the Dog Wood, it first began in the year of 1985 and still goes on once a year. This usually happens in April on a sunny day. This festival benefits the community.
Each year of the festival visitors region-wide come to Denmark, usually stopping by one of Denmark's retailers and restaurants before or after going to the festival. This has a good effect on the local economy. A restaurant like McDonald's usually has an average of 14 cars located on the property, but on a festival day, locals say that the car population gets boosted by more than half.
Elizabeth Evelyn Wright, founder of Voorhees College
Ted Potter Jr.- PGA Tour Golfer- Resided as a child in Denmark - Parents former owners of Crestwood Country Club
Priya Gill- Former Indian actress
Robert Satcher - American physician, chemical engineer, and NASA astronaut.
Blackville is a small town in Barnwell County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 2,406 at the 2010 census.
The town was named after Alexander Black, a railroad promoter.
On December 22, 1781, a band of British Loyalists fought with a group of local Patriots two miles north of Blackville. The location, called Windy Hill at that time, is slightly east of the present-day Healing Springs Park and Church. The commanding officer was Captain Benjamin Odom, Jr. who was a member of Colonel William Harden's regiment. Sixteen Patriots were killed. Major “Bloody Bill” Cunningham was believed to be the commander of the Tory company. The area was known for many years as "Slaughter Hill".
Longtime state representative Solomon Blatt, Sr. was born in Blackville.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,973 people, 1,145 households, and 800 families residing in the town. The population density was 324.7 people per square mile (125.3/km2). There were 1,332 housing units at an average density of 145.5 per square mile (56.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 23.65% White, 75.61% Black, 0.07% Indian, 0.20% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.50% of the population.
There were 1,145 households, out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.2% were married couples living together, 29.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.1% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 29.2% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $21,316, and the median income for a family was $28,537. Males had a median income of $25,150 versus $20,742 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,881. About 27.0% of families and 29.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.6% of those under age 18 and 28.5% of those age 65 or over.
God's Acre Healing Springs is a small patch of land whose legal owner is "God Almighty". The land includes a natural spring whose water local tradition holds has healing powers.
Montmorenci is an unincorporated community in Aiken County, South Carolina, United States. The community is located along U.S. Route 78, 5.3 miles east-southeast of Aiken. Montmorenci has a post office with ZIP code 29839.
The small community may have received its name from a landowner who thought the area resembled a village in France of the same name [spelled Montmorency]. Montmorenci was comprised mostly of cotton plantations until train tracks were laid here by the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company in the 1830s. Opulent Greek Revival homes were built in the early nineteenth century by wealthy planters, and many of these houses remain today.
In February of 1865 the Battle of Aiken occurred when Federal troops, led by General Hugh Kilpatrick, entered the area on their way from Columbia to Savannah. Federal troops used the grand homes of Montemorenci as their headquarters, and a skirmish broke out in the town between Kilpatrick and the Confederate General Joseph Wheeler.
The conflict culminated in nearby Aiken, where Kilpatrick was defeated by Wheeler and his men, giving the Confederacy a minor victory. The community rebuilt after the Civil War, repairing homes and establishing businesses and churches, such as Montmorenci Baptist Church, which was founded in 1870.
Montemorenci may be small in population, but it is big in beauty, featuring expansive rural landscapes. Some of the historic homes that were witnesses to the Battle of Aiken now serve as inns, affording guests the opportunity to experience a bit of local history. Because the community is so close to Aiken – “The Horse Capital of the South” – some of these grand inns even include horse boarding and pasture grazing for equine family members.
Aiken is the largest city in, and the county seat of, Aiken County, in western South Carolina, United States. With Augusta, Georgia, it is one of the two largest cities of the Central Savannah River Area. It is part of the Augusta-Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in 1835, Aiken was named after William Aiken, the president of the South Carolina Railroad. It became part of Aiken County when the county was formed in 1871 from parts of Orangeburg, Lexington, Edgefield, and Barnwell counties.
Aiken is home to the University of South Carolina Aiken. According to 2019 U.S. Census estimates, its population was 30,869. The National Civic League gave Aiken the All-America City Award in 1997. Aiken was also named "best small town of the South" by Southern Living.
Geography and climate
Aiken is located at 33°32′58″N 81°43′14″W (33.549397, -81.720689), near the center of Aiken County. It is 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Augusta, Georgia, along U.S. Route 1 and 78. Interstate 20 passes 6 miles (10 km) to the north of the city, with access via South Carolina Highway 19 (Exit 18) and US 1 (Exit 22).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 20.8 square miles (54.0 km2), of which 20.7 square miles (53.6 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.68%, is water.
Aiken has a humid subtropical climate characterized by hot, humid summers and cool, dry winters, but experiences milder temperatures throughout the year than the rest of the state. Precipitation is distributed relatively uniformly throughout the year, with mostly rain in the milder months and occasional snow in the winter. The coldest recorded temperature was −4 °F or −20 °C on January 21, 1985 and the hottest 109 °F or 42.8 °C on August 21, 1983.
As of the census of 2010, there were 29,524 people and 12,773 households with a population density was 1,416.3 people per square mile (604.6/km2). There were 14,162 housing units at an average density of 703.1 per square mile (271.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 66.8% White, 28.5% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 1.28% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.6% of the population.
There were 10,287 households, out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 29.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.2% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $49,100, and the median income for a family was $63,520. Males had a median income of $51,988 versus $28,009 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,129. About 10.1% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.0% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.
Between 1890 and the 1920s, many Jewish immigrants settled in Aiken. The Jewish immigrants were from Eastern Europe, including Russia and Poland. Many were from Knyszyn, Poland. In 1905, a group of Russian-Jewish socialists from New York founded a farming colony in Aiken County that was known as "Happyville". Adath (Adas) Yeshurun (Congregation of Israel) Synagogue was chartered in Aiken in 1921 and the cornerstone was laid in 1925. An historical marker was added to the synagogue in 2014, sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina.
The municipality of Aiken was incorporated on December 19, 1835. The community formed around the terminus of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, a rail line from Charleston to the Savannah River, and was named for William Aiken, the railroad's first president.
Originally it was in the Edgefield District. With population increases, in 1871 Aiken County was organized, made up of parts of neighboring counties. Among its founding commissioners were three African-American legislators: Prince Rivers; Samuel J. Lee, speaker of the state House and the first black man admitted to the South Carolina Bar; and Charles D. Hayne, a free man of color from one of Charleston's elite families.
Aiken was a planned town, and many of the streets in the historic district are named for other cities and counties in South Carolina, including Abbeville, Barnwell, Beaufort, Chesterfield, Colleton, Columbia, Dillon, Edgefield, Edisto, Fairfield, Florence, Greenville, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Marion, Marlboro, McCormick, Newberry, Orangeburg, Pendleton, Pickens, Richland, Sumter, Union, Williamsburg and York.
In the late 19th century, Aiken gained fame as a wintering spot for wealthy people from the Northeast. Thomas Hitchcock, Sr. and William C. Whitney established the Aiken Winter Colony. Over the years Aiken became a winter home for many notable people, including George H. Bostwick, James B. Eustis, Madeleine Astor, William Kissam Vanderbilt, Eugene Grace, president of Bethlehem Steel, Allan Pinkerton, and W. Averell Harriman.
Savannah River Plant
The United States Atomic Energy Commission's selection of a site near Aiken for a plant to produce fuel for thermonuclear weapons was announced on November 30, 1950. Residences and businesses at Ellenton, South Carolina, were bought for use for the plant site. Residents were moved to New Ellenton, which was constructed about eight miles north, or to neighboring towns.
The site was named the Savannah River Plant, and renamed the Savannah River Site in 1989. The facility contains five production reactors, fuel fabrication facilities, a research laboratory, heavy water production facilities, two fuel reprocessing facilities and tritium recovery facilities.
Aiken Golf Club
Aiken Polo Club
Aiken Preparatory School
Aiken Tennis Club
Old Aiken Post Office
Palmetto Golf Club
St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church
The Aiken Colored Cemetery, Aiken Mile Track, Aiken Training Track, Aiken Winter Colony Historic District I, Aiken Winter Colony Historic District II, Aiken Winter Colony Historic District III, Chancellor James P. Carroll House, Chinaberry, Coker Spring, Court Tennis Building, Crossways, Dawson-Vanderhorst House, Immanuel School, Joye Cottage, Legare-Morgan House, Phelps House, Pickens House, St. Mary Help of Christians Church, St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church, Charles E. Simons, Jr. Federal Court House, Whitehall, and Willcox's are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Aiken Steeplechase Association, founded in 1930, hosts the Imperial Cup each March and the Holiday Cup in October, both races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. This event draws more than 30,000 spectators.
The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 1977 as a tribute to the famous flat racing and steeplechase thoroughbred horses trained at the Aiken Training Track.
Aiken hosts many polo matches at its numerous polo fields. Other local events include:
Aiken Triple Crown
Battle of Aiken Reenactment
Hops & Hogs
The Lobster Races
Western Carolina State Fair
The Whiskey Road Race
Aiken City Limits (ACL)
Aiken Center for Arts - Hosts educational classes, fine arts gallery, and exhibition opportunities.
Aiken County Farmers Market - The oldest food market in South Carolina.
Aiken County Historical Museum - A living museum, also known as "Banksia" after the banksia rose, displays special exhibits of items from residents.
Aiken State Park
Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum - Displays the area's rich thoroughbred history with memorabilia, photography, and trophies.
Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum - The railroad depot is on the second floor and had nine dioramas depicting railroad history.
Center for African American History, Art and Culture - Hosts special events of African American history.
DuPont Planetarium and RPSEC Observatory - Provides live presentations of stars, constellation, and visible planets.
Hitchcock Woods - One of the largest urban forests in the United States, at 2100 acres. Provides hiking, walking and equestrian trails.
Juilliard in Aiken - Live artistic performances, classes, lectures, and workshops.
Redcliffe Plantation State Historic - slaves' and owners' lives depicted.
Rose Hill Estate - Historic housing for overnight stay, weddings, reunions, meetings, and dinner parties.
In the late 19th century and the first part of the 20th century, Aiken served as a winter playground for many of the country's wealthiest families, such as the Vanderbilts, Bostwicks, and the Whitneys.
Lee Atwater (1951–1991), Republican strategist, advisor to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush; raised in Aiken
Charles E. Bohlen (1904-1974), U.S. diplomat; raised in Aiken
George H. Bostwick (1909–1982), court tennis player, steeplechase jockey and horse trainer, eight-goal polo player; "Pete" was grandson of Jabez A. Bostwick, wealthy Standard Oil partner
Anna Camp, actress, played Sarah Newlin in the HBO series True Blood and Aubrey in the film Pitch Perfect
Jimmy Carter, boxer, member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame
Barney Chavous, NFL player for the Denver Broncos
Corey Chavous, NFL player
F. Ambrose Clark, equestrian, heir to the Singer Sewing Machine Company fortune
Robert C. De Large (1842–1874), born in Aiken, U. S. Representative from South Carolina
Pam Durban, American novelist and short story writer.
Matilda Evans, first African-American woman licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina
Thomas Hitchcock and wife Louise owned a 3,000-acre (12 km2) estate near Aiken where in 1892 he founded the Palmetto Golf Club; in 1916, Louise founded Aiken Preparatory School. They built a steeplechase training center and in 1939 founded Hitchcock Woods with 1,191 acres of their estate.
Tommy Hitchcock, Jr. (1900–1944), son of Thomas and Louise Hitchcock, born in Aiken; polo player; veteran of the Lafayette Escadrille in World War I, killed in World War II.
Hope Goddard Iselin, wife of Charles Oliver Iselin and original owner of Hopeland Gardens in Aiken
Kevin Kisner, PGA Tour Golfer
DeMarcus Lawrence, American football linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys
Fred L. Lowery, Southern Baptist clergyman, began pastorate at Bethel Baptist Church in Aiken in 1960
Devereux Milburn, grandson of Charles Steele, a senior partner at J. P. Morgan & Company, a 10-goal polo player and one of what was known as the Big Four in international polo
Janie L. Mines, First African-American woman to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy (1980)
Eugene Odum, author of Fundamentals of Ecology, founded Savannah River Ecology Laboratory south of Aiken to study ecological impacts of the nuclear facility
Michael Dean Perry, former NFL defensive lineman, six-time Pro Bowl selection (1989–91, 93–94, 96), NCAA first-team All-American (1987)
William Refrigerator Perry, former NFL defensive lineman with Super Bowl XX champion Chicago Bears and 3-time NCAA All-American (1982–1984)
Frederick H. Prince, financier who purchased William Kissam Vanderbilt's cottage Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island
Pat Sawilowsky (b. 1930), past president of National Ladies Auxiliary of Jewish War Veterans; her father, Herbert B. Ram, owned and named Patricia Theater in downtown Aiken after her, and the companion Rosemary Theater was named for her sister.
Charlie Simpkins, silver medalist, triple jump, 1992 Summer Olympics
Marion Hartzog Smoak (1916-2020), lawyer, United States diplomat, and South Carolina state senator
Grace Taylor, gymnast
Dekoda Watson, athlete, linebacker with San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
William C. Whitney, helped establish "Winter Colony," a 69-room winter residence
Paul Wight (Big Show) (b. 1972), professional wrestler and actor, seven-time world champion in wrestling
Troy Williamson (b. 1983), professional football player
Gamel Woolsey (1895–1968), writer, coined phrase "pornography of violence" in her Spanish Civil War memoir, Death's Other Kingdom (also published as Malaga Burning), born in Aiken
Marly Youmans, novelist and poet, born in Aiken