Once you get past the fast-food restaurants, apartment complexes and big-box stores that line Garners Ferry Road as it heads out of town toward the coast, you might be surprised to learn that the southeastern portion of the county is rich in history.
Consider:• The original county seat was located in Lower Richland
• South Carolina’s geographic center is located in Lower Richland. According to legend, a massive rock once marked the exact spot.
• Daniel Huger II purchased and consolidated about 3,500 acres of land to form Goodwill Plantation in 1795.
• Ships once traveled the waters near Highways 601 and 378, carrying cotton, rice and other products from Goodwill Plantation to the coast.
• The Greek revival mansion that presides over Wavering Place Plantation was built for Francis Tucker Hopkins in 1855. The plantation has been in the same family since 1768. The outbuildings date from 1790 to 1810.
• The Harriett Barber House is still owned by the family of Sam and Harriet Barber, who purchased the property in 1872 through the state’s Land Grant Program, which allowed recently freed slaves to purchase land at a low rate. The house was built in 1880.
On Thursday, June 19, South East Rural Community Outreach (SERCO) will present FOCUS: Richland, a three-day event that will offer opportunities explore the region’s history through tours of Wavering Place Plantation, Goodwill Plantation, several other historic sites, and the Harriett Barber House, which is rarely open to the public. The event also includes a Juneteenth celebration and a farm-to-table feast.
All the events are free, but registration is strongly suggested. For more information, or to register, visit sercosc.org.
Katie McElveen, Special to The State