By Lilly McKinney
Looking for a quick trip on a weekend afternoon? Consider making it an educational adventure. Ninety Six, South Carolina is home to the Ninety Six National Historic Site, where two Revolutionary War battles were fought. The battle at King’s Mountain, N.C., marked the turning point of the Revolutionary War, and many other military events are featured at the King’s Mountain National Military Park. These two small towns, steeped in history, are wonderful places to explore.
Star Fort, built in 1781, is the highlight of the Ninety Six historic site. It remains intact, along with the siege trenches surrounding it. The earthen fort, with walls standing 14 feet tall in places, was built by Loyalists in the shape of a star to allow muskets and cannons to fire in all directions. The Cherokee Path is also an important piece of South Carolina history. The Cherokee Path began in Keowee, near current day Cherokee, S.C. Ninety Six got its name from the distance to Keowee, approximately 96 miles. This important route connected much of the state of South Carolina. It continued through Ninety Six along the Saluda River toward Columbia and on by the Santee River to the lowcountry. The mile-long Historic Interpretive Trail is lined with signs and historical artifacts. The Ninety Six National Historic Site is free to the public and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The Battle of King’s Mountain was fought Oct. 7, 1780, and was the first significant Patriot victory following the Charleston invasion. The King’s Mountain National Military Park offers a 26 minute film to introduce visitors to the history of the area as the beginning of a museum exhibit that recounts the story of the battle and the stories of those involved. The park also has a 1.5 mile walking trail through the battlefield for those more interested in the outdoors. Along the trail, visitors can see three main sites: the Centennial Monument, the U.S. Monument, and Patrick Ferguson’s grave. King’s Mountain State Park also offers camping, fishing, horse trails, and a 19th century living history farm. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with free admission.
Located only an hour and a half from Furman, both of these historic sites are full of fascinating stories and features. Take an afternoon off and head out to explore the many things the Carolinas have to offer.