Walterboro, South Carolina
During the summer of 1784, owners of large rice plantations in what is now Colleton County, South
Carolina, began searching for a better location for their summer homes. They chose the most ideal
spot in the area and named it Hickory Valley. This small summer retreat grew and eventually took the name of two of its original settlers, Paul and Jacob Walters. In 1817, the City of Walterboro became the county seat and was officially incorporated in 1826.
Much of the grace and charm of the lifestyle of these early settlers can still be found in Walterboro. The city abounds with fine examples of their architecture, including three structures which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Colleton County Courthouse
The Colleton County Court House is one of these historic buildings. It is an excellent example of the architecture of the noted architect, Robert Mills. Completed in the fall of 1822, the structure is in the Greek Revival style of the period. The outside walls are three bricks (28 inches) thick. The front of the structure is set off by two curving stairways with railings that lead to the second floor projecting portico, which rests on the arch foundation. A single large courtroom occupies almost the entire second floor of the building. A delicate plastered ceiling medallion is the only ornamentation on the cove ceiling. The first nullification meeting in South Carolina was held here in 1828, when Robert Barnwell Rhett called for the immediate secession of the state legislature.
Built by local planter N. Y. Perry in 1820, the Bedon-Lucas House was purchased and originally occupied by Richard Bedon. Clarence Lucas then bought the house in the mid 1800's. It stayed in the Lucas family until the Historical and Preservation Society purchased it in 1996 and has worked to preserve the historic integrity of this magnificent building ever since. The historic house had previously been listed as one of the eleven most endangered structures in South Carolina.
The Bedon-Lucas House is one of Walterboro's five remaining "High Houses," so named for its substantually raised basement, which positions the main living space above the ground to escape malaria-carrying mosquitoes and to catch pleasant breezes in the sweltering Lowcountry summers. The house captures the charmed beginnings of Colleton County's county seat, Walterboro, as a summer retreat for local planters.
Currently, plans for an interior restoration of the house are underway. The historic heart pine floors will be restored and refinished. The walls and wainscotting will be painted as well.
Established by an Act of the Walterboro's third National Register building, the Walterboro Library Society Building (The Little Library), built in 1820, is a small frame building and is an excellent example of Federal style architecture. The Walterboro Library Society was granted incorporation by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1821. When the town was incorporated in 1826, the boundaries were fixed as 3/4 of a mile in every direction from the site of the Walterboro Library. The building served the town until 1955 and is presently the headquarters for the Colleton County Historical Society and Preservation Society.
The swamp consists of hardwood flats which are defined by a series of streams which braided their way through the area. Wildlife is abundant with native populations of wild turkey, deer, raccoons, beaver, otter, mink, opossum, squirrels, fox, and wildcats. There is a large, year round, population of song birds, as well as wading birds, ducks, and predator birds. The area serves as a stopover for transient and migrating birds.
Downtown Historic District
Home to the Antiques, History & Arts Festival, 14 Antiques stores, several locally owned restaurants and specialty shops. Come take a step back time.