The history-saturated region of South Carolina known as the Olde English District is home to some of the most enriching state parks in the state. Whether it is military history, political history or social history, there is much to discover and to learn in the protected lands of this region.
Kings Mountain State Park
The famous American Revolutionary War battle named the Battle of Kings Mountain adorns the Kings Mountain State Park located in Blacksburg, S.C. The park itself has over 20 miles of hiking trails in the lush forests of the district, perfect for getting active and experiencing the natural wildlife of the state.
But the true value of the park comes in the form of a historical battlefield landmark. The grounds where an estimated 1,211 soldiers died in a symbolic battle that resulted in American victory.
It was a battle that “turn[ed] the tide of success” in the south for the patriots, Thomas Jefferson said of it at the time, according to the American Battlefield Trust.
Not only was it one of the first American victories in the South following defeats in the Siege of Charleston and the Battle of Camden, but it was also symbolic of the loss of loyalty to the British.
The upstate of South Carolina and other colonies were known to be home to Loyalists – Americans with strong loyalty and preference to the British crown remaining in control of the colonies, who were opposed to the revolution. The British were hoping that the Battle of Kings Mountain would prove victory and show the overwhelming support for their side in the war because of its location in the Olde English District.
The battle proved them terribly wrong with only an estimated 7.4 percent of the casualties on the American side, and little to no support from the loyalists of the countryside by their side – most of the unorganized loyalist militias retreating and defecting.
Stepping onto the battlefield adjacent to Kings Mountain State Park can put you right back in Oct. 7, 1780. The essence of history and sacrifice can be felt while navigating the thick deciduous forests that are imprinted by the memory of such a historic battle.
Both literally and figuratively.
In November, many living history demonstrations take place, allowing visitors to experience that infamous day as close as possible to the way it was in 1780. The park allows for a tantalizing historical and environmental experience for visitors.
Andrew Jackson State Park
Despite the modern controversy surrounding America’s seventh president, the Andrew Jackson State Park remains one of the state’s most popular parks because of the rich history and diverse experience it provides.
Honoring the president is a statue depicting Jackson as a barefoot, relaxed equestrian, with his body twisted and focused toward park-goers, named “Boy of the Waxhaws.” The sought-after sculpture was made by Anna Hyatt Huntington, one of the co-founders of the S.C. sculpture garden Brookgreen Gardens, according to South Carolina State Parks.
The late president was born in the backcountry of S.C. before moving and subsequently representing Tennessee in both houses of Congress. The park houses a museum of his life and the history of life in the backcountry of the state, as well as a replica of an 18-century school house.
Its attention to art and history in the community has not made the Andrew Jackson State Park one to miss, despite his contemporary reputation.
PHOTO CREDIT | Nick