Along with a deep rice culture, Colleton County is home to the charming town of Walterboro. The town began as a summer retreat for early planters and many of the historically significant buildings still stand today, dotting the streets among the antique shops, the official South Carolina Artisans Center, a history museum and farmers market, and locally owned restaurants. Surrounding Walterboro you will find remnants of a past era where you can truly go back in time.
From the hive to the jar, Bee City guides visitors through the honey-making process. You will also find a petting zoo and café and gift shop on site, where you should be sure to pick up some of their specialties like chocolate covered honey, spun honey or honey comb.
Colleton State Park overlooks the scenic EdistoRiver, one of the longest free-flowing black water rivers in the world. The park is the headquarters for the Edisto River Kayak and Canoe Trail, which is a 21-mile stretch of the Edisto River that ends in the neighboring Givhans Ferry State park. The park features the Cypress Swamp interpretive nature trails, a canoe launch boardwalk and is also a great place to spot wildlife such as birds, deer, turtles and snakes! History Trivia: The park was built by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression as a wayside for picnicking travelers.
Located in Walterboro, known as the front porch of the Lowcountry, the Colleton Museum & Farmers Market is a must stop. You'll find exhibits on the deep history of the area, including agriculture and plantations. The farmers market is located just outside the museum building, which makes it a convenient and yummy stop!
The South Carolina Artisans Center is home to the state’s most talented artists and artisans. Whether the medium is clay, metal, glass, wood, fiber or film, more than 250 juried artists guarantee work of exceptional quality. Here you'll definitely find South Carolina’s most unique garden sculptures, loomed shawls, hand-made jewelry, photography and sweet grass baskets to name just a few!
According to the SC Department of Archives & History, Pon Pon was established in 1725 by an Act of the General Assembly, Pon Pon Chapel of Ease was one of two churches serving St. Bartholomew’s Parish after the Yemassee War (1715) aborted plans for a parish church. The chapel site was located on Parker’s Ferry Road, the busy stagecoach thoroughfare that connected Charleston and Savannah. In 1754, a brick chapel was erected to replace the earlier wooden structure. This brick chapel burned around 1801, causing Pon Pon Chapel to become subsequently known as the Burnt Church. The chapel was rebuilt between 1819 and 1822, and was in use until 1832 when it was again reduced to ruins. The chapel’s historical significance is due in part to Rev. John Wesley preaching two sermons here on April 24, 1737 and for its burial ground that contains the remains of Congressmen Aedanus Burke and O’Brien Smith, in addition to numerous local leaders.
Walterboro Army Air Field was established in 1942 as a sub-base of Columbia Army Air Field. It was a part of the overall network of army air corps training facilities that sprang up across the U.S. during WWII. The base provided advanced air combat training to fighter and bomber groups, hosted the largest camouflage school in the U.S. as well as a 250 person POW camp. In 1944, the air field changed commands and became an advanced combat training base for individual fighters, primarily the black trainees graduating from Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Ala. Over 500 of the famed Tuskegee Airmen trained at Walterboro Army Air Field between 1944 and 1945 including individuals training as replacement pilots for the 332nd Fighter Squadron and the entire 447th Bombardment Group. Racial tension between white soldiers, black pilots and German POWs was rampant throughout the base and nearby town resulting in several racial incidents. The base closed in 1945 and returned to its origins as a local airfield. Most of the original structures have disappeared from the landscape but the airfield is still remembered through crumbling foundations in the woods, the memories of many local residents and the Walterboro Army Air Field Memorial Park and Tuskegee Memorial at the current site of the Lowcountry Regional Airport.
This welcome center will be proud to introduce you to Walterboro. Here you can stroll through the streets of this former summer community for local rice plantation owners. Officially incorporated in 1826, Walterboro today is a mix of the past and present. There's charming boutique shops, dining and a museum and farmers market downtown. There's also historic houses, churches and rarities like the doll museum and the SC Artisan's Center. The town is remarkably walkable, so stop by the Welcome Center to get you started!