At nearly 1,500 acres, Sesquicentennial State Park is neither the largest nor the most impressive of South Carolina’s state parks. It is, however, just a few miles from the center of South Carolina’s capital city, Columbia.
(Click all photos for larger images)
That suburban location alone makes “Sesqui,” as it’s near-universally known, an outstanding outdoor life resource. Better yet, it’s just a couple of miles from our house. So, when other responsibilities prevent extended camping trips, it’s there. Ready to enjoy for periods as short as two or three hours. And Sesqui has plenty to enjoy.
Like many of South Carolina’s more popular state parks, entrance isn’t free. The $2.00 per car fee helps supplement the very limited resources provided to the Park by the State. So, be sure to drop a couple bucks into the slot, even if no attendant is on duty at the gate you see in the photo above. You’re sure to get your money’s worth. An annual pass makes sense for frequent visitors. It’s a bargain at $50. And even cheaper for South Carolina senior citizens.
The land for this park was donated to the State of South Carolina for creation of a Park in 1937 by the Columbia Sesqui-Centennial Commission. That Commission, created to celebrate Columbia’s 150th anniversary the previous year, sold commemorative coins to raise the necessary funds. The CCC, or Civilian Conservation Corps, then was put to work developing the site. And the Park opened to the public in 1940.
Here’s the “Retreat Center” noted on the sign. I’ve yet to venture inside. Park literature describes it as able to accommodate meetings of up to 50 people. Though from the outside it appears that more could comfortably congregate. Its facilities include a kitchen and “dormitory-style rooms” for 30 overnight guests. It stays quite busy, judging from cars in the parking lot.
Here is a photo above of one of the Park’s most interesting exhibits. At least for me. A 1756 log house. I’m tempted to call it a cabin. But this two-story structure is far more than a “cabin.” It’s described as the oldest known building still standing in Richland County. Discovered during a housing demolition project not far away, recognized for what it is, and rebuilt on this site.
Here is a corner shot that shows just how the logs from which it is constructed were put together. The building is under major renovation at the moment. It’s had a number of tenants during the years I’ve been visiting the park. Including one artist’s studio. Can you imagine working in a building like that! Again, I’ve never been inside, but look forward to a tour once renovation is completed. 1756 is a ways back!
Split rail fences throughout the busiest sections of the park give the space a comfortable feeling. Though they must require a lot of maintenance. Just one example of how Park personnel have attended to upkeep here on a very limited budget. It doesn’t all get done just working eight hours a day!
In the next few Blog entries I hope to introduce you to some of Sesqui’s opportunities for recreation.
And maybe even camping.
So stay tuned!