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Sep 14

A Bit of History

By Randy DuTeau |

At the turn of the 20th century, the Hampton Terrace Hotel opened at the top of a hill overlooking North Augusta. At that time, North Augusta founder, James U. Jackson, was working to make the city a resort town. And when the Hampton Terrace opened, it was billed as “The most magnificent winter resort in the world.” Tragically, the Hampton Terrace burned to the ground in the early morning of December 31, 1906. Though thankfully there were no fatalities, the lustrous resort was reduced to ashes, never to be rebuilt.

The history of the Hampton Terrace is one facet of this city’s rich history that is told at the Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta. And if you are a history buff wanting to learn more, you may want to pay a visit. Located on the ground floor of the North Augusta Municipal Building (100 Georgia Ave.), the Arts and Heritage Center serves as a history museum, art gallery, and retail space. Through static and interactive exhibits, the museum provides a remarkable emersion into our community’s past.

The Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta is affiliated with the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor. This partnership helped the Center acquire regional history exhibits that tell the story of North Augusta and surrounding communities. The AHCNA hosts numerous events throughout the year. Functions include artist exhibits, special history exhibits, and more. As a 501©(3) non-profit, money generated by special events is used to operate the facility.  

If you’re going to go all-in on your history day tour, we suggest you next visit Living History Park (299 W Spring Grove Ave.). This nine-acre passive recreation space resembles North Augusta and the surrounding area as they would have appeared circa 1735 to 1785. The park includes several structures, including an 18th-century Grist Mill, The Trader’s Cabin, a Spring House, and many more. The park also has an eighteenth-century cannon, Stocks, and numerous natural springs that run beneath the park.

The park is home to several events throughout the year. The most popular, “Colonial Times: A Day to Remember,” is held annually on the third week of October. Other popular events include “Christmas in the Backcountry,” which is held the weekend after Thanksgiving and shows how the colonists would have celebrated Christmas, and “Colonial Times: Under the Crown.” 

Historical markers are located throughout the city, identifying the location of key events and sights of the city’s storied history. Popular markers include the Hampton Terrace Motel, The Martintown Road, The Hamburg Massacre, and War Between the States. 

For a fully-immersive experience, consider a stay at Lookaway Inn (103 W Forest Ave.) and take part in their North Augusta magical history tour. Built in 1898, Lookaway Hall is on the National Register of Historic Homes and still maintains the original opulence provided by its founder, Walter Jackson. Walter was the brother of North Augusta founder James. U. Jackson, who built Rosemary Hall across the street from the Lookaway Inn. While Rosemary Hall is no longer an inn, it is another historical sight that must be appreciated. 

You’ll probably work up an appetite while you’re out and about. Since it’s a history tour, we suggest you stop by for a meal at the Sno-Cap Drive In. The 60’s-era drive-in is a popular location for burgers, shakes, and fries. If you’re lucky, your visit may fall during one of the vintage car shows held at the restaurant throughout the year. 

There are plenty more historical sights to see that aren’t listed here. Inquire with the Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta before your visit. We encourage everyone to learn about our little town. We think you will have a lot of fun in the process!