UNION — The more than 250 visitors to the Union County Museum in December included two groups from the same town in Oregon who visited the museum independently of one another and for different reasons.
Museum Director Ola Jean Kelly reported that a total of 252 people signed the museum’s guest book in December. Visitors to the museum are encouraged to sign the guest book at the door and include not only their names but where they are from and to leave comments about their visit.
Kelly said registered visitors to the museum in December included residents of the South Carolina communities of Blacksburg, Boiling Springs, Georgetown, Lexington, Moore, Simpsonville, Spartanburg, Travelers Rest and Varnville. She said that out of state visitors were from Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Eight of the out of state visitors were from Hillsboro, Oregon, but Kelly said they were in two separate groups and didn’t each other or that they were each there.
“There was a most interesting event when we had two separate groups from the state of Oregon who did not know each other but came from the same small town,” Kelly said. “One couple was visiting his relatives here. The second, a group of six, were doing genealogical research.”
Kelly said that both groups from Oregon were among those who left comments about their experience at the museum.
Spartanburg — “Great diversity.”
Oregon — “Newest lifetime member. Wonderful.”
Second group from Oregon — “Thanks for your help.”
Union — “Awesome. You never let me down.”
First time visitor — “Great. Want to come back.”
In addition to the main floor which houses most of the artifacts on display, the museum has a meeting room in its basement that is available for use by local and area organizations.
Kelly said that Leadership Union, Youth Leadership Union, and the Union County Historical Society used the room for their meetings in December.
The holiday season also brought more activities to the museum including two Suzy Smith Christmas piano recitals in the meeting room and the Union County Development Board’s Christmas reception which was held on the main floor.
Cross Keys House
The Cross Keys House is another major part of the historical legacy of Union County and, like the museum, is owned by the Union County Historical Society.
Kelly said the house was opened as part of a special Christmas tour and was decorated for the season as it would have been in the early 19th century.
“We opened our beautiful house and the equally beautiful log cabin for the Healthcare Foundation’s Tour of Homes,” Kelly said. “More than eighty visitors came through.
“After searching historical records, board members, staff and volunteers decorated the house and log cabin as they would have been in the early 1800s,” she said. “Fruit, greenery, berries, ribbons, and pine cones were used and the house and cabin were lit by candlelight and lanterns. Beautiful colored pictures of the scenes are posted on the Historical Society’s facebook page ‘Union County Historical Society.’”
The Cross Keys House was visited in 1865 by Confederate President Jefferson Davis who dined there on his way south following the fall of the Confederate capital in Richmond, Va., to the Union army.
Currently, the house is not open on a regular schedule, but is available for scheduled tours. Plans are under way, however, to open the Cross House for six hours on Saturdays beginning in February. The historical society is in the process of hiring two people to work at the house on alternating Saturdays to greet visitors and lead tours of the property.
For more information about the Union County Museum, its displays, genealogical research facilities, meeting room and other services, call (864) 429-5081 or visit www.unioncountymuseum.com. The museum is located at 127 W. Main St. in Union, and is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.