The South Carolina Cotton Trail™, stretching from I-95 to I-20, traces the influence of cotton on the lives and towns of six South Carolina towns: Clio, Bennettsville, Cheraw, Society Hill, Hartsville, and Bishopville. The Trail visits museums, gardens, market towns, cotton fields, homesteads and more.
Things to do in Bennettsville while exploring the South Carolina Cotton Trail™.
First stop: the Bennettsville Visitor Center, where you can pick up local and area brochures, soak in the fine architectural details in the center, and take some time to rock "Southern style" on the Victorian porch rockers.
843-479-3941 304 West Main St. www.visitbennettsville.com
The Courthouse Square is centrally located in Bennettsville's downtown. It is the state's largest courthouse square and is surrounded by late 19th and early 20th century commercial buildings. Behind the courthouse is Bennettsville's own "Rainbow Row", where picturesque connected buildings pose as a colorful backdrop for the Confederate Monument on the southeast corner of the square. The monument made Ripley's Believe it or Not because it is said to have a Union Army field cap atop the Confederate soldier's head.
Next stop is the Marlboro County Historical Museum. The museum complex comprises four historic buildings for touring.
Hours are 8:30-5:00 M-F 843-479-5624.
The South Carolina Cotton Trail™ has many African American sites not to be missed.Pearl Fryar's Topiary Garden in Bishopville, the home site where Simon Brown first spun tales of Brer Rabbit in Society Hill, and Dizzy Gillespie's home town of Cheraw, where an impressive annual jazz festival is held in his honor. The childhood home of Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund can be visited in Bennettsville. The Children's Defense Fund, headquartered in Washington, D.C., houses their regional office and a book store in the Bennettsville office. Several history books penned about Bennettsville and Marlboro County African American's, including Annie Short Harrington, one of several Aunt Jemimas, can be purchased at the Children's Defense Fund, the Bennettsville Visitor Center, The Marlboro Co. Historical Museum and Shiness Gift Shop. An excellent African American history book penned by Jerry Thomas Kendall of Bennettsville, is entitled, Rediscovering the Gulf - Bennettsville's Colored Business District 1876-1976.
Thirsty? Stop in at Breeden Grocery, in business for over six decades, where you can dare to sip a Blenheim Ginger Ale. A recipe concocted in the late 1800s by Bennettsville Dr. C.R. May as a cure for his patients stomach "ale"ments.
Lake Paul Wallace is a 600-acre manmade lake in close proximity to Bennettsville's downtown. The Lake has two trails: one centers the lake with water on each side, while the other is elevated and views the lake. Each trail is 3.3 miles if you walk across and return to the starting point. Picnic shelters are offered on each side of the lake. In addition to walking the trails, picnicking, birding and swimming can be enjoyed at Lake Wallace. Boating and fishing are permitted. Lake Wallace is also a waterfowl refuge. Nesting boxes can be seen at the end of the lake and Eagles have been spotted and photographed nesting in a cypress tree. The sunsets at Lake Wallace are beautiful and the lake walk is softly lit at night.
Bennettsville has a cotton gin, which runs from fall into winter, where visitors can watch the fascinating ginning process from a careful distance.
Bennettsville is the county seat for Marlboro. Marlboro County is one of the state's largest cotton producers. Many antebellum and Victorian homes have stood the test of time and reflect the success farmers have had with this fabric of our lives crop.
Breeden Inn invites you to come stay. Let us spoil you with our Southern hospitality. By lodging in Bennettsville's Historic District, the five other tour towns: Bishopville, Clio, Hartsville, Society Hill and Cheraw-are within 10-60 minutes away. Be sure to explore these other Pee Dee Region towns included on the tour. Note: do not speed through Society Hill.
CHERAW: Located 15 miles from the Inn. Cheraw Visitors Bureau 843-537-8425
The town of Cheraw, S.C. bears the Indian name of the tribe whose main village was
located there. Founded in 1740, it boasts more than 50 antebellum buildings. Many additional Victorian and revival structures are scattered throughout the 213 acre Cheraw National Register Historic District. Cheraw was occupied by the British during the 1760 Revolutionary War and by the Union Army in 1865 during the Civil War. An antique mall and other nearby shops on the Inns antique directory and several downtown restaurant choices can be enjoyed. Home to jazz pioneer Dizzy Gillespie, his seven foot bronze statue has an impressive presence in The Cheraw Town Green.
For more information about the South Carolina Cotton Trail™ please visit: www.sccottontrail.org.