South Carolina from A to Z

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From Hilton Head to Caesars Head, and from the Lords Proprietors to Hootie and the Blowfish, historian Walter Edgar mines the riches of the South Carolina Encyclopedia to bring you South Carolina from A to Z. (A production of South Carolina Public Radio.)

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Spotted salamander. State amphibian. The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) became the official state amphibian in June 1999. The designation resulted from the interest and activity of children in the third-grade class at Woodlands Heights Elementary School in Spartanburg. Students conducted research and a letter-writing campaign to get the amphibian adopted, enlisting support from scientists, public officials, and other third-graders in the state.

"S" is for Spoleto

Sep 29, 2020
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Spoleto. In 1977, the composer Gian Carlo Menotti, backed by the National Endowment for the Arts, chose Charleston as the home for the American counterpart of his festival in Spoleto, Italy. He ran the festival himself. When he angrily pulled out in 1993, few thought that the festival would survive. It nearly did not. But by the turn of the twenty-first century, Spoleto was flourishing. It developed a substantial endowment and an even more substantial reputation for quality, variety, innovation, and, not least, for nurturing young artists.

"S" is for Spirituals

Sep 28, 2020
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for Spirituals. With both sacred and secular influences, spirituals reflect the strong interplay between African American cultural traditions and those of European Americans. Scots-Irish in the backcountry and English and French settlers on the coast introduced a rich variety of church hymnody. Slaves and freedman introduced West African music styles. One of the primary focuses of both black and white spiritual music rests with an emphasis on group participation and improvisation.

“O” is for Ocean Forest Hotel

Sep 25, 2020

  “O” is for Ocean Forest Hotel. In 1930, one of the state's most elegant hotels opened its doors at Myrtle Beach. The Ocean Forest, with its ten story wedding-cake tower and five story wings was a sight to behold. With its pools and gardens, marble stairways, crystal chandeliers, and bathrooms that were piped for both fresh and salt water--the hotel was numbered among the country's world-class resorts. Strict dress codes required that only gentleman wearing tuxedos were allowed to enter the dining room and ladies were expected to wear evening gowns.

“N” is for Nairne, Thomas (d. 1715)

Sep 24, 2020

  “N” is for Nairne, Thomas (d. 1715). Indian agent. A native of Scotland, Nairne was in South Carolina by 1695. He obtained land grants on St. Helena's Island—then the colony's southern frontier. As a member of the Commons House of Assembly, he was an outspoken proponent of regulating the Indian deerskin trade. When the office of Indian Agent was created in 1707, Nairne was named to the post.

“L” is for Lady of Cofitachiqui

Sep 23, 2020

  “L” is for Lady of Cofitachiqui, the leader of a powerful Indian chiefdom. She welcomed Hernando de Soto and his Spanish conquistadors in 1540 when they entered her territory [probably near the present site of Camden]. There are various Spanish accounts of the encounter. One describes her crossing of what is probably the Wateree River to Cleopatra's descending the Nile. However, another account ruefully regrets the Spaniard's mistreatment of the lady and her tribe.

“M” is for Mabry, George Lawrence, Jr. (1917-1990)

Sep 23, 2020

  “M” is for Mabry, George Lawrence, Jr. (1917-1990). Soldier, Medal of Honor Recipient. After graduating from Presbyterian College, Mabry entered the US Army as a 2nd lieutenant. Throughout World War II, he served with the Fourth Division and saw his first combat on D-Day in 1944. By the time his unit had fought the Germans across France, he had earned battlefield promotions to battalion commander. In the fall of 1944 the division was involved in the bloody campaign to take the Huertegen Forest in western Germany.

“K” is for Kalmia Gardens in Darlington County

Sep 21, 2020

  “K” is for Kalmia Gardens in Darlington County. Named for the spectacular display of kalmia latifolia [mountain laurel] growing on a dramatic bluff carved by Black Creek, the gardens opened to the public in 1935.At the top of the 60 foot-high bluff is a one room-deep farmhouse built in 1820. The house overlooks the floodplain of Black Creek and is surrounded by a garden containing many exotic ornamentals planted by the garden's founder, May Roper Coker. When the Cokers purchased the land in 1932, she began transforming what had been a local trash dump.

  “E” is for Earley, Charity Edna Adams [1918-2002], army officer. Earley grew up in Columbia where she was valedictorian of her class at Booker T. Washington High School. She won a scholarship to Wilberforce College in Ohio where she majored in math and physics. She returned to Columbia where she taught school. In 1942 she joined the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and became the first black female officer to receive her commission in the WACs. By war's end she was a lieutenant colonel and the second highest-ranking black female officer in the WACs.

  “D” is for Dacus, Ida Jane [1875-1964], librarian. A native of Williamston in Anderson County, Dacus matriculated at Winthrop College in 1896. She was one of three scholarship girls assigned to care for the school's meager library. In 1901 she won a scholarship to Drexel Institute where she received her professional library training. She returned to Winthrop as the College's librarian where she inaugurated two undergraduate courses in library science. Her methods were so well respected that her courses soon became the model for similar ones around the country.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Caesars Head State Park. Located in Greenville County near to the border with North Carolina, Caesars Head State Park was established in 1979. In 1996 the park became part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, which was also includes Jones Gap State Park and Wildcat Wayside. Formed more than 409 million years ago, Caesars Head rises 3,266 feet above sea level on the southern edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. It is a granite gneiss formation protruding from the valley as a prominent monadnock.

  “B” is for Bachman, John [1790-1874]. Clergyman, naturalist. Born in New York, Bachman moved to Charleston in 1815 to become the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church. He was a leader in the formation of the Lutheran Synod and in the founding of Newberry College. During the 1830s he began to publish articles on native birds, flora, and mammals. A chance meeting with the great naturalist John James Audubon led to a life-long personal and professional relationship.

  “A” if for the ACE Basin. The ACE basin consists of around 350,000 acres in the watershed of the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers in the South Carolina lowcountry. It encompasses a range of ecosystems from forested uplands to tidal marshes. The basin is home to more than 260 permanent and seasonal bird species and seventeen endangered species including the wood stork and the loggerhead turtle. In 1998 Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy, the U.S.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"S" is for St. Mark's Parish. In the 1730s lowcountry planters began moving inland and petitioned to have the inland area separated into a new entity—Prince Frederick Parish. Beginning in 1750, an influx of new settlers from Pennsylvania and Virginia moved into Prince Frederick and soon the frontiersmen outvoted the lowcountry planters. In 1757, St. Mark's, the colony’s first—and largest-- backcountry parish was created as much to protect established lowcountry interests as to promote those of the emerging backcountry.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Ravenel, Harriott Horry Rutledge [1832-1912]. Novelist. Biographer. Historian. A Charleston native, Harriott Horry Rutledge attended Madame Talvande's female academy. She married St. Julien Ravenel and had nine children. Though she wrote poetry, essays, and stories on a variety of subjects, her major works focused on Southern history and manners. Her most successful novel was Ashurst: or "The Days That Are Not," which fondly depicted antebellum lifestyles and landscapes.

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