UNION — Whether it’s online or in person more and more people in Union County and from around the country are enjoying visits to the Union County Museum and the Cross Keys Plantation.
In her July report, Museum Director Ola Jean Kelly stated that 130 guests signed the museum’s registers. Kelly said that number included guests from both outside Union County and outside South Carolina.
The South Carolinians from outside Union County who visited the museum in July were from Blacksburg, Chapin, Clinton, Columbia, Foutain Inn, Irmo, Newberry, Rock Hill, Simpsonville, Spartanburg, Sumter, and Whitmire.
Guest from outside South Carolina came from Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
In addition to their names and where they are from, guests are also asked to answer the question “How did you learn about the Museum?” The answers left in July included:
• Visitor’s Center on Interstate
• Cross Keys House
The museum’s Facebook page is another opportunity for people from Union County and beyond to visit and learn more about the museum.
Kelly said that in July the “daily reach” for the museum’s Facebook page was “9,534 with total likes rising to 1,660.” She said the top 10 cities and towns where the likes were coming from were Union, Spartanburg, Buffalo, Jonesville, Greenville, Columbia, Charlotte, NC, and Gaffney.
The Union County Museum is owned by the Union County Historical Society which Kelly said had 424 paid members as of July 30.
Kelly added that Facebook is also helping to promote increased interest in the society as well as the museum.
“We continue to receive requests on Facebook for the membership materials,” Kelly said.
Meetings And Tours
In addition to individuals guests, the museum also hosted a number of meetings and tours in July by the following groups:
• Union County Clemson Club
• US Forest Service Summer Youth Workers
• Union County Cancer Service Board
• Dow-Wat-Chers Investment Club
Cross Keys Plantation
The Historical Society also owns the Cross Keys Plantation which became a part of American history in 1865 when it was visited by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, members of his cabinet, and their military escort as they fled south following the fall of the Confederate capital in Richmond, Va. to the Union army.
Its historic nature has made Cross Keys Plantation a popular attraction to a growing number of tourists who travel to Union County to visit and tour not only the grounds but the Cross Keys House itself.
Kelly said that visitors to the plantation are averaging approximately 100 a month.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the construction of the Cross Keys House and is work is now under way on the construction of three new buildings on the plantation grounds.
The project includes construction of a colonial-style building that will provide bathroom facilities for visitors; a brick primitive kitchen; and a brick smokehouse. The new buildings are part of the society’s efforts to fully restore the antebellum character of the house which was built in 1814 while also making it more convenient for visitors.
Among those who visited the Cross Keys Plantation in July were SC House District 42 Rep. Mike Anthony and SC Senate District 13 Sen. Shane Martin and his family.
Kelly said that Anthony and Martin had been invited to a picnic by a one of the directors of the Historical Society. She said the reason for the picnic was to introduce state legislators to the nearby Blackstock Battlefield Site.
Despite the rain, Kelly said those attending the picnic nevertheless made the trek to the site. She said many historians believe that the battle which took place there on Nov. 20, 1780 was the turning point of the American Revolution setting in motion the chain of events that lead to the surrender of the British army of Lord Cornwallis to the Continental Army under George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781.