Named for railroad developer Alexander Black, the town of Blackville, S.C., has a rich industrial history, originally chosen as an overnight stop for the train between Charleston and Hamburg, S.C. Drawing on its history back to the 1700s as well as the landscape's natural beauty, this small town (population 2,951) has several attractions to offer visitors and residents alike.
The story of Blackville's healing springs (no website, Springs CT, Blackville, SC 29817) dates back to before the American Revolution, when American Indians used the natural mineral waters to heal a variety of ailments. According the South Carolina board of tourism, legend says four mortally wounded British soldiers were buried here during the Revolutionary War when, six months later, they returned to Charleston in full health. Today the springs are open daily from sun up to sun down, and admission is free.
Agricultural Heritage Center
Made up of the Agricultural Heritage Museum, Discovery Center and Hands-On Learning Center, Blackville's Agricultural Heritage Center (scagheritage.com) seeks to provide visitors with a clear grasp of the influence South Carolinian agriculture has on the state's economy and culture. It also provides the rural history of Bamberg, Barnwell, Orangeburg and Aiken counties. The center is open Tuesday through Friday, and admission is free for small groups of visitors. For groups of 10 or more people, admission is $2 a person.
Barnwell State Park
Just south of Blackville is Barnwell State Park, which, according the South Carolina parks department, "may be the best fishing hole in South Carolina that not many folks know about." This 307-acre park features picnic areas, cabins and campgrounds, as well as a nature trail that wraps around two ponds stocked with fish such as bass and bream. Admission to the park is free, and hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day, with hours extended to 9 p.m. on the weekends during daylight savings.
The city of Blackville offers three options for touring its history. The Blackville Historical Tour is a 90-minute drive through Revolutionary and Civil War sites, downtown and Mennonite country. The Mennonite Church History and Culture Tour lasts 45 minutes and is led by a church elder, focusing on the Mennonites' way of life. Lill's Herb Garden Tour includes hands-on secrets on growing and maintaining an herb garden in the South Carolina soil, and includes homemade tea.
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