Best Historical Sites in the South-Atlantic States Part One In North Carolina vs South Carolina

Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria

North and South Carolina are part of the "South," that region of the United States that seceded from the Union in 1860 and started the very bloody and costly Civil War. In these two coastal states, you'll find buildings, homes, and plantations that date back as far as colonial times. In addition, you'll also find Civil War-era forts and beautiful gardens filled with azaleas and other vibrant flowers. Next time you visit, check out the following historical locations.

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Method 1: In North Carolina

North Carolina is one of the states in the South-Atlantic region of the United States. Considered part of the American South, it has a rich history that encompasses the two great conflicts of the early American experience, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. Cotton plantations dot the countryside, sharing it with old forts, homesteads, and historical villages where you can see the southern way of life from colonial times right up to the present.

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  1. 1
    North Carolina State Capitol Building
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    The State Capitol Building was built in 1840 and remains one of the best-preserved examples of the Greek Revival architectural style common during that time. The building is open for tours, during which you will receive a history lesson, including the tales of some spooky occurrences that are said to have taken place in the building.
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  2. 2
    Reed Gold Mine
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    Try your hand at gold panning at the Reed Gold Mine, the location of the first gold find in the United States. Until California surpassed it in 1848, the mine led the nation in the production of gold; at one point, it made more than one million dollars of gold per year, a huge feat in those days. The tunnels and equipment have been restored, and the mine is open for guided tours where you can see the conditions the miners worked in as well as see the ore-crushing stamp mill.
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  3. 3
    Halifax
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    Halifax was a market town in North Carolina that was established in 1757. There, you can see a number of historical buildings that date back to its origins. Walk in the steps of the American colonists who lived and worked in the town and see where the 4th provincial congress met to discuss and eventually ratify the Halifax Resolves, the document that allowed the colony to join the others in the fight for independence from Great Britain. The Halifax Resolves were signed on April 12, 1776.
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  4. 4
    Historic Bath
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    Bath was North Carolina's first town, starting out as a settlement in the 1690's and eventually becoming a recognized town in 1705. It continued to grow and was soon recognized as the first port, as well. The town was marked by political turmoil and piracy in its early years, including tolerating the residence of Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, the notorious pirate.
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  5. 5
    Biltmore Estate
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    This "little summer cottage" was the summer home of George and Edith Vanderbilt. Construction on this massive 250 room mansion was completed in 1895 and includes an indoor pool and 33 bedrooms. The estate has a total of 8000 acres, with the yards of the manse kept immaculately groomed just as the Vanderbilts kept it when they spent their summers in residence.
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  6. 6
    USS North Carolina, Wilmington
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    The USS North Carolina is a World War II-era battleship that saw action in the Pacific Theater and was awarded 15 battle stars. At the time of her launching in 1940, she was considered a state-of-the-art military vessel, equipped with all of the modern equipment and technology available a the time. She was decommissioned in 1947 and during the 1960's a North Carolina school teacher launched a campaign to "Save Our Ship" and was able, through donations raised by school children, to purchase the ship for $330,000. Since then, the North Carolina has been operating as a museum ship and kept up through donations and revenues raised through charging an admission fee.
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  7. 7
    NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte
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    There's nothing more quintessentially emblematic of modern culture in the South than NASCAR. At the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, you can learn about the history of the sport and about the famous drivers that became NASCAR legends over the years. See some of the famous cars and learn about the 40 current NASCAR tracks, and if you think you've got what it takes to be a NASCAR racer, try your hand at it in one of the Racing Simulators on site.
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  8. 8
    Brunswicktown/ Fort Anderson, Cape Fear
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    This site is actually two historical sites in one: Brunswicktown was a port on the Cape Fear River in colonial America, which was attacked and burned to the ground by the British during the Revolutionary War. When the Civil War rolled around, a fort was constructed on top of the old port and called Fort Anderson and defended the Confederacy until General Lee surrendered in 1865. You can see the remnants of both locations preserved here.
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  9. 9
    Tyron Palace, New Bern
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    Tyron Palace was the seat the North Carolina Colony and was the residence of the Royal Governor. It was constructed in the late 1760's at the behest of Governor William Tyron, who was a former British soldier and became an administrator. He moved into the residence in 1771 but only lived there for about a year before being chased out of the province by the colonists who thought that the house was too extravagant and resented the fact that their taxes were raised to pay for such an ornate building they viewed as unnecessary.
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  10. 10
    Newbold White House
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    Hertford. The Newbold-White House is the third oldest home in North Carolina. It was built in the 1730 and occupied by the Quaker family. Abraham and Judith Sanders. Restored as close as possible to its original condition, including furniture from the time and two large fireplaces.
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  11. 11
    President James K Polk Historic Site
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    President James K. Polk was the 11th President of the United States, serving at a time when the United States was rapidly expanding its territory out west. It was he who brought the Oregon Territory into the United States and presided over the country as it fought in the Mexican-American War in 1846 through 1848. At the close of that war, the United States would acquire California and the Southwest. Born in North Carolina, his home, the James K Polk Historic site has been preserved for posterity.
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  12. 12
    Historic Latta Plantation
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    Originally owned by James and Jane Knox Latta, cotton producers, the Latta Plantation dates back to 1800. It offers an excellent example of how a cotton plantation in the pre-Civil War South operated, including the darker aspects of such an operation: the slaves that toiled in the sun, forced to work on pain of beatings and even death.
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Method 2: In South Carolina

Like her sister state, North Carolina, South Carolina shares a history that is by turns wondrous and dark. Her people fought for their independence during the Revolutionary War, only to continue to own people as slaves through the end of the Civil War. And yet, there is still something whimsical about South Carolina, with its miles of beaches and beautiful plantations that make you want to return there over and over again.

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  1. 1
    Dock Street Theatre, Charleston
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    The Dock Street Theatre opened its doors in 1736 for the first-ever operatic performance in America. The original building was damaged in the Great Fire of 1740 and subsequently fell into a period of disrepair after the Civil War. It was finally rebuilt in 1937 and remodeled and renovated in 2010. It is now the home of the Charleston Stage Company and is a popular place to take in plays and more.
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  2. 2
    Charleston Historic District
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    The Charleston Historic District takes up most of the heart of the city on the peninsula, which was where the city was founded in 1670. As a result, the area has many period houses that date back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th century, their changing architectural styles telling the tale of the advancement of time. Important buildings to see here include St. Michael's Episcopal Church, built in 1752 and the Charleston County Courthouse which was constructed in 1792.
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  3. 3
    USS Yorktown, Charleston
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    The USS Yorktown is an aircraft carrier that served during WWII and the Vietnam War. She was commissioned in 1943 and received 11 battle stars for her service in WWII. Her final mission was to recover the astronauts from the Apollo 8 mission in 1968 She's not only famous for her exemplary service as a naval vessel, but she has also been featured in the movie; she appeared in The Fighting Lady and Tora, Tora, Tora, both Academy Award winning films. She is now a floating museum in Charleston Harbor.
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  4. 4
    Kaminski House Museum, Georgetown
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    Built in 1769, this Georgian home features some outstanding period pieces which exemplify the time in which it was constructed, as well as subsequent generations. The house came into the hands of the City of Georgetown after the last owner of the home, Julia Kaminski, donated it to the City with all of its contents after her husband, Harold died. Her wish was that it be opened as a museum for the public to enjoy.
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  5. 5
    Charles Pinkney National Historic Site, Pleasant
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    Charles Pinkney doesn't figure largely in United States History even though he played a large role in authoring the United States Constitution and signed it, as well. He is the "forgotten founder," and the Charles Pinkney Historic Site is to commemorate his contributions to the beginning of the young nation. The site consists of his home and plantation on the coast of South Carolina, where you can view exhibits, films, and artifacts that honor his life and works.
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  6. 6
    Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor
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    Located on an island in Charleston Harbor, Fort Sumter was constructed in 1829 as a coastal fortress. It was a U.S. installation, under the command of Major Robert Anderson when the Civil War broke out. After the South seceded in 1860, there was a contretemps between Anderson's Union troops and South Carolina militia forces. Ultimately, Anderson was forced to surrender the fort, and Confederate troops took it over until General William Sherman captured Charleston, after which the Union reclaimed the fort.
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  7. 7
    Old Slave Mart Museum, Charleston
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    Come and experience the dark side of American history: the Old Slave Mart was part of a larger complex of auction buildings that were built in 1859. It was here that African men and women in chains were led to from the boats that stole them from their homeland. It was here, that not understanding a word of English, they stood before a crowd of plantation owners and local gentry, and where they were sold into a lifetime of toil and servitude. Learn what happened here through the harrowing stories of the slaves themselves, and find out what life was like for them, from Colonial times up until the 1960's.
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  8. 8
    Magnolia Plantation, Charleston
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    Magnolia Plantation consists of the oldest public gardens in the country and has one of the largest collections of azaleas and camellias. While the land and the gardens date back to the 17th century, the current manor house only goes back to 1873 because the original homes were burned by Union soldiers during the Civil War. The house is a fine example of Victorian fashion set in an antebellum backdrop.
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  9. 9
    Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, Charleston
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    The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon was completed in 1771, and many important events in colonial and early American history occurred in this venerable building. For instance, in 1774, the delegates from South Carolina to the First Continental Congress were chosen here, the Declaration of Independence was announced on the building's steps, and George Washington had a party here in 1791. In addition, the British used the cellar as a Provost prison, and pirates were held on the site from the wall the way back in 1781. There are rumors of hauntings as a result of the darker events that happened on this site, so when you visit, take care that you don't wander off alone!
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  10. 10
    Charles Towne Landing
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    It was on this site that the colony in South Carolina was first established in 1670. It is now a historic park and is composed of 664 acres of nature. Find the replica sailing ship, common house, an experimental garden, and much more in this living historical area. When you're done exploring the human history of the area, go for a hike or walk along one of the many trails where you can take in the stunning natural history there, as well.
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  11. 11
    The Famous Peachoid, Gaffney
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    The Peachoid is a water tower in the city of Gaffney which holds one million gallons of water. It consists of a peach sitting on a gigantic golf tee, and is well-loved by residents who claim that the Peachoid "boldly sets the record straight about which state is the biggest peach producer in the South." It was built in 1981 after being commissioned by the Gaffney Board of Public Works and was created by artist, Peter Freudenberg.
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  12. 12
    Boyce Chapel First Baptist Church, Columbia
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    This church's claim to fame is that it was where the vote to secede from the Union was held in 1860. The reason the vote was held there was that it was then the largest building in Columbia. However, the Articles of Secession was not signed there because of an outbreak of smallpox. The Secession Convention had to be moved to Charleston, and the Articles were signed there.
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Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Kathy McGraw

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