Camden Historic District
- Grand Strand Weekend
- South Carolina for Kids
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- Civil War Adventures
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- Three Days in Horse Country
- South Carolina for Seafoodies
- South Carolina Kitsch
- Gullah and African American History
- Upstate Weekend
- South Carolina’s Top Ten for Golfers
- South Carolina’s Offbeat Festivals
- Southern Comforts
- Lowcountry Romance
A short drive north from the Revolutionary site, the small and tidy downtown area hosts over 60 antebellum structures. It has seen more vibrant days, but there are a number of key historic buildings.
Your first stop should be the Robert Mills Courthouse (Mon.–Fri. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Sun. 1:30–5 p.m., free), fully restored to its original 1845 state and now the home of the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center (800/968-4037, www.camden-sc.org). Get a brochure for a self-guided walking tour of downtown here, and enjoy the handiwork of Mills himself, architect of the Washington Monument and protégé of Thomas Jefferson.
The stately Camden Archives and Museum (1314 Broad St., 803/425-6050, Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., first and third Sun. 1–5 p.m., free), housed in a former Carnegie Library built in 1915, is a great way to soak in the details of local history. One of the coolest artifacts is the DeSaussere Weather Book, containing some of the oldest known meteorological records in the state. The South Carolina Daughters of the American Revolution are based in the building, and the South Carolina Society of Colonial Dames have their genealogical libraries here.
Another notable building is the restored Bonds Conway House (811 Fair St., 803/425-1123), an 1812 structure that was once the home of the eponymous Mr. Conway and family, first African Americans in town to purchase their freedom. This well-restored vernacular cottage, with extensive heart of pine interior, now houses the Kershaw County Historical Society (803/425-1123, Thurs. 1–5 p.m., free).
The very symbol of Camden is on top of the circa 1886 Opera House Tower (corner of Broad and Rutledge Sts.). Now a private storefront, the Opera House is topped by a large weathervane depicting King Haiglar, a local Catawba chief who befriended early settlers to the area.
Still in use today, the Quaker Cemetery (700 Meeting St., 803/432-4356, daily 8 a.m.–6 p.m.) only contains a few actual Quaker graves, with no headstones and recognized only by the distinctive brick arch (Quakers frown upon monuments). Here you’ll find the final resting place of several historical figures, most notably Abraham Lincoln’s brother-in-law, George Rogers Clark Todd.
Find the Neil Smith monument and note the scars; these are bullet marks made by Henry Nixon as he prepared for a duel with Thomas Hopkins (Nixon lost, and he’s actually buried nearby). But the most poignant graves here are much younger—the triple plots of the Roberts brothers, all killed in the line of duty in World War II. Adjoining the Quaker Cemetery are two other small burial grounds, the Beth El and Old Presbyterian cemeteries.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition