Skip Navigation
The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina Show SC.gov Links

History

A symbol of past American grace and charm.  Bennettsville stands in the South Carolina Pee Dee Region as a reminder of another era.  Founded in 1819 and named after Governor Thomas Bennett, Bennettsville quickly grew into one of the richest agricultural communities in the entire state.

Legend has it that the land is so rich it once sold by the pound instead of the acre.  The State of South Carolina recognized Bennettsville's prominence by officially designating it South Carolina's "first" Great Town.

The lifestyle and affluence of bygone years are captured in Bennettsville's Victorian and Greek revival homes and public buildings.  The Jennings-Brown House (1827), Bennettsville Female Academy (1833) and the D.D. McColl House (1835) are fine examples of this distinguished architecture.  Murchison School and Auditorium (1903), and the wonderful homes that linethe residential communities in the heart of Bennettsville take the viewer to anothe time. 

For years, the recently renovated Marlboro County Civic Center (1917) served as the county's gathering point for vaudeville acts and other traveling shows on the new York to Miami circuit.

Having a "Grand Ol' Time" in Bennettsville was a common occurence.  The Civic Center, in the midst of the Downtown Historical District, is surrounded by one of the largest stocks of late 19th and early 20th century store fronts in South Carolina. 

Bennettsville's historical significance includes occupation by Union forces in 1865.  The Jennings-Brown House served as headquarters for Union Major General Frank Blair during the Civil War.  The "new" Marlboro County Courthouse built in 1881 is on the largest courthouse square in South Carolina. 

The Marlboro County Museum is a terrific place to gain perspective on Bennettsville's historic significance while viewing many facinating relics, particularly early farm implements.

Today, Bennettsville is also home to Lindsay Park for softball and baseball euthusiasts and those who enjoy a good horse show.  Lake Paul Wallace (600 acres) draws hundreds of visitors every spring and summer weekend for an afternoon of swimming, walking, boating, fishing, or cookouts.

Antique establishments and gift shops provide opportunity to take a piece of Bennettsville's unique past back to your own communities. 

Bennettsville Visitor Center

479-3941

The Visitor Center is located at 304 West Main Street, Bennettsville, SC.  Construction of the Queen Anne style McColl House began in 1882 and was completed in 1884.  Interior features include:  marbleized slate mantels, natural paneled wainscoting, heart pine floors, original silver plated and brass hardware, original gas light fixtures and chandeliers and mahogany newel post and hand rail.  The entrance has double cypress doors and a stained glass transom.

The house was built by Duncan Donald McColl, an attorney and banker.  McColl was instrumental in establishing textile mills in Bennettsville and McColl.  The town of McColl was named for him.  Because of his efforts, the Cape Fear and Yadkin Railroad was extended from Fayetteville to Bennettsville. 

The residents of the house have been direct descendants of McColl until it was acquired in 1980 by Mutual Savings & Loan Association for its Bennettsville Office.  The Bennettsville Visitor Center now calls the McColl House Home.