Old Santee Canal Park
Enjoy enriched educational experiences at the Old Santee Canal Park, 195-acres located on the site of the first true canal in America. The park, which sits on the historic Stony Landing Plantation, was an important site for trade and transportation since colonial times. It served as an early trading post for Native Americans, and, the first semi-submersible torpedo boat, CSS Little David, was built on these grounds. You will also find a beautiful 19th century plantation house, four miles of boardwalk which takes visitors through deep woods; near the Old Santee Canal and the Canal bed at Biggins Swamp. Our impressive 11,000 square foot Interpretive Center tells the story of the engineering feat required to dig a canal from the South Carolina’s midlands to the Cooper River back in the 1800s.The Interpretive Center also houses cultural and natural history exhibits, an interactive computer, live snake aquarium, two theaters and more.
Educational programs highlight a wide range of historical events which took place on, or around, Stony Landing Plantation, such as children’s life, archaeology and canal history. Environmental programs emphasize the vast diversity of plant and animal life found throughout the park, including insects, reptiles, trees and wetlands.
The Berkeley Museum
The 5,600 exhibit Berkeley Museum, located in old Santee Canal Park, traces the area’s history back 12,000 years. From the Native American residents of the Ice Age, to the famed “Swamp Fox” Francis Marion’s battles during the American Revolution, to the planters who settled the area, the Berkeley Museum provides an entertaining and lively perspective of Berkeley County’s rich and exciting history.
Churches and History
Berkeley County is rich in history, and legends. Many who visit the area tour the historical churches located throughout the county.These churches date back from the 1700s and have been immaculately maintained so locals and visitors
can step back into time.The St. Stephen Episcopal Church dates back to the early 1700s and has been preserved in original condition. The church features beautiful stained glass windows and original woodwork throughout.
Visitors can view Strawberry Chapel’s holding tombs and also hear the infamous story of “Little Miss Chicken”. As legend tells it, back in the 1700s, a teacher tied a young girl to one of the tombstones overnight (we don’t want to spoil it for you so you will have to visit to catch the rest of the story!)
When viewing the St. James Church in Goose Creek, you will be transported to a time when ladies wore flowing gowns and men wore long tails and vests. Other area churches afford visitors the opportunity to experience the “feeling” during the time when our nation was young and just becoming established. Contact the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce for more information as church tours are by reservation only.
Thirty-two of the 166 Revolutionary War battle sites in South Carolina are located in Berkeley County. Berkeley is also home of the legendary “Swamp Fox,” General Francis Marion. Marion is known for, and credited with, developing the first guerilla war tactics. He kept the British searching the forest and swamps for his elusive militia.While in Berkeley, it’s well worth a visit to Bell Island Plantation, where Marion and his wife Mary Esther Videou are buried.