In a day focused on exploring the unique amenities that shape the quality of life in Orangeburg County, this month members of Leadership Orangeburg County met with committed neighbors who are working to enrich our present and future by not losing sight of our history.
The day began with a visit to the Cecil Williams Museum which is being established to “exhibit and preserve the South Carolina events that changed America and destroyed segregation.”
While the museum is not yet complete – in fact, Leadership Orangeburg County was the first group to visit the facility – Mr. Williams presented a short overview of the points in his career from which the exhibits are drawn. When complete, the museum will showcase more than 350 images and artifacts to document the beginning of America’s civil rights movement.
Next, the group headed to Santee State Park and enjoyed a fantastic tour by Fisheagle Tours. The excursion included stories recounted by Captain Rick (ably assisted by Captain Ray) about the cultural history of the Santee-Cooper Lakes, including area folklore and the natural history of the area wildlife flora and fauna.
After the pontoon tour, class was treated to a delicious BBQ buffet “cooked just like Grandma” at Lonestar BBQ & Mercantile at 2212 State Park Road in Santee.
Sally Joe Couliette served as the docent for our tour of the Elloree Heritage Museum, which portrays rural life when the Town of Elloree was founded by Mr. Williamm J. Snider. Complete with information and stories that ranged from a stroll down Cleveland Street as it appeared in 1900 to a visit to the Snider Cabin and replica farm yard, Ms. Couliette offered dozens of insights and anecdotes to bring the history to life.
No afternoon in the South would be complete without tea, and this day’s tea was enjoyed in a 3,000-square-foot museum that featured thousands of teapots from the collection of the late Mr. Julian Boland. Ms. Penny Garrett hosted our visit and shared information both about the teapots and about the opportunities the museum offers for groups to book everything from tours, to children’s tea parties and even high tea for grown-ups. All profits from the museum, café, tearoom and store benefit For All Paws Animal Rescue, a non-profit thrift store that supports animal rescues .
While the settings of our stops varied widely, the common thread that connects them would be better described a bright cord: dozens of individuals who are giving heart and soul to improving the quality of life that we enjoy in Orangeburg County by making sure that our stories are preserved and shared in glorious color and rich detail and served up with a heaping helping of old-fashioned hospitality.