Orangeburg County and its county seat, Orangeburg, were named for William IV, Prince of Orange, the son-in-law of King George II. The name was first used in the 1730s for a township on the Edisto River, one of eleven townships created by the governing body of Charles Town. The original township, which was settled along the banks of the Edisto River, was 20,000 acres in size. The head of each family was given 50 acres of land and provisions for one year before departing from Charles Town. Swiss and German farmers moved into this region around 1735, and English settlers from the Lowcountry followed. The center of town in these early years was know as Public Square. The Square was bounded on its four sides by today’s streets of Broughton, Bull, Middleton, and Waring. The site of an early trading post, the Square continued to grow and became the center of downtown business, industry, finance, religious life, and entertainment. By the early 1800s, downtown provided its citizens with blacksmiths, lawyers, doctors, and shopkeepers.
The battle of Eutaw Springs was fought nearby during the Revolutionary War on September 8, 1781; it was the last major battle of the war in South Carolina. Large plantations using slave labor were established in Orangeburg in the nineteenth century, and the county became a major producer of cotton. Railroads arrived in the area early; Branchville became the first railroad junction in the state in 1840. Union troops under General Sherman passed through Orangeburg in February 1865.
The years following the Civil War brought positive changes. The town of Orangeburg was incorporated as a city in 1883. In 1887, a water system was built and leased to the city. A street trolley system was constructed in 1888. The trolley was mule-drawn during the day to carry passengers, but with the aid of a small steam locomotive, it was used to haul freight to various downtown businesses at night. Electricity came to the city in the 1890s, and before the end of the decade, Russell Street, the city’s main street, was lit with electric lights.
In 1926, the land along the Edisto River in downtown Orangeburg was cleared, filled in, and the first azaleas planted. In the early 1950s, 3,500 rose bushes were planted. The bank of the river, which was such a vital part of the early settlement, morphed into a panoply of springtime color. In 1972 the first South Carolina Festival of Roses, now called the Orangeburg Festival of Roses, was held. Each year since, thousands flock to Orangeburg in the spring to enjoy the beauty of the flowers.
Our walking tour will begin in the historic center of town where four courthouses were constructed over the years but none remain...
Russell, Middleton and Church streets
For 100 years after the third courthouse was built in 1826, the Square was the center of town. Two courthouses were built along it, Revolutionary War cannons were placed here, Civil War cannons were placed here and a Confederate Monument, a Fireman Statue, and a Ladies Fountain all built here. When the present courthouse was built two blocks away in 1929, the square was bought by the City for $35,000 and turned into a park renamed Memorial Plaza. The Confederate Monument was erected in 1893 as a memorial, designed by Theo Markwalter. Before the park was reconfigured the 33-foot tall monument of Winnsboro granite stood in front of Courthouse Square. It was later moved to the center of Memorial Plaza.
WITH YOUR BACK TO THE FOUNTAIN, LEAVE THE PLAZA DOWN RUSSELL STREET.
1198 Russell Street
Built in 1904, the late Victorian Louis Building sports a projecting corner turret with a domed roof. The ground floor was the site of Cherry’s Drug Store and Fischer’s Rexall Pharmacy; the second and third floors were used as office space.
1174 Russell Street
The store was established more than 100 years ago in August of 1906 by T. B. Fersner. To that point the 30-year old Fersner had spent his adult life as a farmer. He took $900 in savings and borrowed another $900 from the bank to open “Fersner’s Variety Store.” In 1935 the store moved into this terra-cotta faced buildingconstructed in 1912 for the Edisto Bank and Ferris’ Restaurant. In 1972 the family sold the store which continues to operate today as one of the oldest variety stores, including luncheonette, in the country.
First National Bank
1170 Russell Street
The Edisto National Bank moved into this Neoclassical home with twin Doric columns in 1920 Like all of the banks in Orangeburg, Edisto failed during the Great Depression. building, which is referred to as the Old First National. In January 1934, the bank reopened as First National Bank.
1141 Russell Street
In 1998 the old Edisto Theater was renovated and converted from a movie house into the home to the Orangeburg Part-Time Players. It was rechristened the Bluebird Theatre. The Part-Time Players have been performing in Orangeburg since 1981.
TURN RIGHT ON BROUGHTON STREET. TURN RIGHT ON AMELIA STREET.
1156 Amelia Street
German native Frederick Herman William Briggman, the owner of a general store and Orangeburg’s first mayor, built this house around 1850. He was also responsible for laying out the area now known as Amelia Street. The house, known as “Briggman’s Folly,” was put together using wooden pegs.
1195 Amelia Street
Alton Elvin Bythewood, owner and operator of one of the first funeral homes in Orangeburg, constructed this building in 1915. Bythewood served as Treasurer and Cemetery Manager of the Orangeburg Cemetery Association and the Burial Society for many years. After his death his second son took over the management of the funeral home as well as management of the cemetery.
St. Paul's United Methodist Church
1356 Amelia Street
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church traces its beginnings to 1836 when the first Methodist church was built on this spot. A second church was built on the same site in 1859 and occupied in 1860 when the congregation totaled about 50. By the 1890s, with membership over 400 in number, the current church, laid out in a cruciform plan with a large tower at the southwest corner and two smaller towers, was built from 1896 to 1898.
TURN RIGHT ON GIBSON STREET.
Orangeburg County Courthouse
190 Gibson Street
The first courthouse of Orangeburg was built in 1772 and was destroyed by the British during the American Revolution in 1781. A second courthouse was erected in 1782 in the same area as the first. This building lasted until about 1825 when plans for a new structure were drawn up. The third courthouse was built on Courthouse Square in 1826, but was destroyed during the Civil War by General Sherman’s troops in 1865. It too was rebuilt on the same spot. In 1928, this building, the fifth Orangeburg County Courthouse, was constructed. For the next ten years a temporary courthouse was made in the rooms above Capt. J. A. Hamilton’s store. The ex-president Rutherford B. Hayes spoke there. The fourth building was constructed in 1875 on the same site as the third. When more room was necessary, a fifth courthouse was built 1928. This structure, built on the old Trinity United Methodist Church lot, is the building used today for trials and hearings.
TURN LEFT ON ST. PAUL STREET.
Old Presbyterian Church Cemetery
end of St. Paul Street at Doyle Street
The Old Presbyterian Church Cemetery is the final resting place of many of Orangeburg’s citizens. Judge Thomas Worth Glover is buried here along with General David Flavel Jamison, a founder of The Citadel and the President of the South Carolina Secession Convention.
TURN RIGHT ON DOYLE STREET. TURN LEFT ON RUSSELL STREET.
corner of Centre Street and Russell Street
The seven-story, steel-frame Hotel Eutaw, constructed between 1926 and 1927, was the result a community-action campaign that reflected the optimism of local residents in the future development and growth of Orangeburg. Prominent southeastern architect G. Lloyd Preacher designed the Hotel Eutaw. The Hotel Eutaw was financed through a stock subscription project which involved many citizens of Orangeburg working through three community-action groups, the Young Men’s Business League, the Lion’s Club, and the Rotary Club. These groups met in February 1926 and by April 1926 had raised a total of $233,200 in subscriptions. The building has seen few alterations since its construction. The facade sheathing is extruded tapestry brick in stretcher bond. The façade has a projecting one-story entrance block of cast stone which is six bays wide.
1540 Russell Street
Charles Coker Wilson, South Carolina’s leading architect of the early 20th century, designed the Italianate home for Laurie Moseley in 1921. The house took two years to build and bankrupted two contractors. When it was completed it sported a central vacuum system behind an Italian marble entrance.
Episcopal Church of the Redeemer
1606 Russell Street
This church is noteworthy as the first Anglican church established in the parish of Orangeburg, founded in 1749 by Reverend John Giessendanner Episcopal near the site of the Pioneer Graveyard. The building was erected between 1854 and 1855 on Boulevard Street near the corner of Amelia, where the cemetery remains. It was moved here and renovated in 1895; a brick veneer was added two decades later. The present sanctuary, which features Louis C. Tiffany stained glass, is on the National Register of Historic Places..
RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO ELLIOTT STREET AND TURN LEFT. TURN LEFT ON WHITMAN STREET.
Judge Thomas W. Glover House
525 Whitman Street
Believed to have been built between 1833 and 1838 by Judge Thomas Worth Glover, a leading citizen of Orangeburg and a signer of the Ordinance of Secession, this stately house was used by General William T. Sherman as his headquarters during the invasion by Union soldiers in Orangeburg County. Because of its beauty Sherman left a guard at the house to make sure the structure was not harmed. The house has been substantially altered in the years since.
RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO ELLIOTT STREET AND TURN LEFT TO THE CORNER WITH ORANGE STREET.
William W. Winemaker House
196 Elliott Street at corner of Orange Street
William W. Winemaker, the proprietor of Orange Cotton Mills, director of two banks, and vice president of Orangeburg Railway, built this home in 1917. The front of the home features a flat-roofed porch of raked tile. The porch or portico is arcaded with ionic columns.
WALK TO THE END OF ORANGE STREET AND BEAR RIGHT ACROSS TO WILES STREET. WALK ONE BLOCK TO JUNCTION WITH MEETING STREET.
Orangeburg County Jail
Meeting Street between Wiles Street and St. John Street
The Orangeburg County Jail, or “Pink Palace” as it is often referred to because of its color, was designed by Jonathan Lucas and built in 1860 for $10,000. In 1865 General Sherman used the jail for his headquarters while in Orangeburg and burned it when he left - but it survived. The partially destroyed jail was rebuilt in 1867 by Lucas and later remodeled in 1921. It was used as an active lock-up until 1980.
CONTINUE TO MIDDLETON STREET AND TURN RIGHT.
993 Middleton Street at Fischer Street
The Fire Station was built in 1927. The first fire truck, which is still in the possession of the City, was a 1921 American LaFrance fire engine. The 15-foot bronzestatue depicting a fireman carrying a small child in one arm and an oil lamp with the other was erected in 1902 on the public square. The base was used as a drinking fountain for people with water troughs for the horses and dogs. A block of ice was placed inside the base to provide cool water. In 1946 the fountain apparatus was removed, and the statue was moved to its present location.
979 Middleton Street
Orangeburg’s City Hall, City Jail, police headquarters and an auditorium, The Carolina, were all built in 1927 for $175,000 replacing the old, small, wooden City Hall. Not only did the auditorium serve as a venue for civic events and concerts, but it was also used as a theater by showing silent and “talking” movies until the early 1970s.
TURN RIGHT ON ST. JOHN STREET. TURN LEFT ON CHURCH STREET.
South Church Street
South Church Street is the only remaining brick street in the City. Built in 1910, it is a reminder of how the city streets of Orangeburg used to be a hundred years ago.
First Baptist Church
1240 Russell Street at Church Street
The church had its beginning in December 1858 when land known as the Old Jail Lot was conveyed to the Orangeburg Baptist Church Society. A year and a half later, on the third Sunday in July 1860 a group of Baptists and ministers met at the Orangeburg County Court House to organize the Orangeburg church. Fifteen men and women joined as charter members, and three other women were added after their baptism. During the War Between the States Union troops used the church facility to house stable horses and supplies. A cemetery, where some of the founding members are buried, is located behind the church.
YOU HAVE NOW RETURNED TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT IN MEMORIAL PLAZA.