Hey there! Are you looking for a little adventure and a taste of history? Rock Hill is filled with fascinating historical sites that will take you back in time. From antebellum mansions to open-air theaters and art centers, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. In this blog, I’ll share with you the top 5 historical sites you can’t miss on your next visit to Rock Hill. So grab your walking shoes, and let’s dive in!
1. The White Home
This beautiful antebellum mansion was built in 1838 by James and Eliza White, who were prominent members of Rock Hill’s early society. The White’s were slave owners and used enslaved labor to build their homes. Today the White Home is open to the public for tours. It serves as a museum, showcasing the lifestyle of a wealthy antebellum family, including the role of enslaved labor on the property. Visitors can learn about the history of the White family, the home’s architecture, and people’s everyday lives during that time.
2. The Old Town Amphitheater
This open-air theater is located in the heart of downtown Rock Hill and is a popular spot for concerts, plays, and other community events. It was built in the 1930s as part of the New Deal program, which aimed to provide jobs during the Great Depression. The Amphitheater was designed by architect William Peeps and was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a federal relief program for unemployed young men. The amphitheater has been beautifully restored to its original condition and remains a beloved gathering place for the community.
3. The Gettys Art Center
This center is located in the historic textile district of Rock Hill and features rotating exhibits of contemporary art as well as workshops and classes for all ages. It was founded in 1978 by philanthropist and art collector Paul Getty and his wife, Charlotte, to provide a space for local artists and the community to engage with contemporary art. The Gettys Art Center is now a vital part of Rock Hill’s arts community, offering exhibitions, classes, and educational programs for all ages.
4. The Catawba Cultural Center
This center is dedicated to preserving and promoting the culture and history of the Catawba Indian Nation. The Catawba Nation is the only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina, and the center is a hub for its cultural and educational activities. The center features exhibits, a gift shop, and a cultural garden that tells the Catawba people’s story and history. Visitors can learn about the tribe’s traditional ways of life, including hunting, fishing, and agriculture, as well as their cultural practices, such as pottery making and basket weaving.
5. The Rock Hill Fire Museum
This museum is located in the historic fire station and features a collection of artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of firefighting in Rock Hill. The museum tells the story of the Rock Hill Fire Department, from its early days with horse-drawn fire wagons to the present, with a collection of equipment, uniforms, and photographs. Visitors can learn about the history of firefighting in Rock Hill and see some cool fire trucks and other equipment used throughout the years. It’s a great spot for kids to learn about the history and for adults to reminisce about the past.