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As the eighth state to join the United States, South Carolina has a long history that dates back to the 1700’s after splitting from North Carolina. Today, August 31st is National South Carolina Day and we’re celebrating with a few of the state’s less-known, but very interesting facts:
1. The South Carolina dairy industry is a multi-million dollar industry
Dairy farmers can be found in 39 out of 46 South Carolina counties and while milk production has decreased in the state, there are still around 90 dairy farms that still in existence in South Carolina. Thus, explaining why milk is the state’s beverage.
2. South Carolina is the birthplace of the first American-born architect
Robert Mills was born in Charleston in 1781 and graduated from the College of Charleston at nineteen years old. Mills moved to D.C. as a student of James Hoban with whom he helped construct The White House. He went on to design many well-known structures and monuments including the Washington Monument and United States Treasury.
3. Shag is the official state dance of South Carolina
Born on the beaches of South Carolina, The Shag became the official state dance in 1984. Following a step pattern, The Shag is danced to rhythm and blues music with the goal of each partner mirroring the others movements and staying in sync.
4. South Carolina was the first state to plant tea
South Carolina was the first state in the United States to plant tea in the late 1800’s. The first successful tea plantation was founded in Summerville, South Carolina by Dr. Charles Shepard and only closed upon his death in 1915. Shepard’s tea plants were then moved to Wadmalaw Island where the Charleston Tea Plantation opened and is still running and open to visitors.
5. The first US senator elected by write-in was a South Carolina senator
After South Carolina Senator Burnet Maybank’s death, a seat in the Senate opened up and former governor, Strom Thurmond announced his decision to run for the seat as a write-in. A write-in meaning he was not on the ballot, but voters could vote for him by writing in his name. In 1954 he won the election with 63% of the vote and became the first official elected to the Senate by write-in.
6. South Carolina’s first capital was Charleston
The first capital of South Carolina was Charleston with the first State House located on the corner of Broad and Meeting Street. In 1786, a vote was made in favor to move the State House to Columbia and make the city South Carolina’s new capital due to its centralized location.
7. Barbeque was born in South Carolina
Barbecue got its start in Santa Elana, now known as Parris Island when the Spanish and American Indians gathered together. The Spanish were raising pigs, while the American Indians knew how to cook in a pit and together they created the first version of barbecue.
8. A third-grader led the successful effort to make collard greens the official vegetable of South Carolina
After former Governor Nikki Haley visited a South Carolina elementary school, one third-grader took her advice and became involved in her government. Mary Grace Wingard, then nine years old, wrote to former Senator Jake Knotts proposing that collard greens become the official state vegetable. In 2011, Nikki Haley signed a bill making collard greens the official vegetable of South Carolina.