Some of the oldest sites in South Carolina will be open to the public Saturday during the sixth annual Historical Beech Island Tour.
Held by the Beech Island Historical Society, the tour and the annual fundraising effort will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include 15 stops at sites including churches, plantation homes and the community’s oldest established graveyard – Zubly Cemetery.
Jackie Bartley, the president of the historical society, said buried in the cemetery are direct descendants of Swiss settlers who came to the area in the 1700s.
“It (the cemetery) is evidence we have that you can see the Swiss settled here,” Bartley said. “They left their homes, their country, to come to a new world to be pioneers. They are the ones who started the plantations.”
Among other tour stops are two plantations: South Slope and Redcliffe. South Slope, which is privately owned, is one of the featured visits on the tour, Bartley said.
“South Slope was built in 1832 during the time when all the churches were built,” she said. “A lot of the homes built then burned down; we’ve lost a lot. This is one of the only homes left.”
Redcliffe Plantation State Historical Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to Elizabeth Laney, a park interpreter, the mansion was built in 1859 for South Carolina Gov. James Hammond.
“The mansion is four stories,” she said. “It has 20 rooms, 12 fireplaces and seven bedrooms. There are also two slave cabins on the property, as well.”
Laney said the plantation was home to four generations of the Hammonds family.
Historical tours hold a certain education value about early settlers and history, Bartley said.
“There is a lot of history here in Beech Island,” she said. “If it weren’t for the early settlers, a lot of us wouldn’t be here.”
The historical society will also hold an old-fashioned barbecue lunch for $8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.