The past is honored, the present is engaging and the future is inviting in the City of Gaffney, South Carolina. It used to be said that “the sun never set on the British Empire.” Well, when the sun did set, it happened here. In the backcountry of South Carolina, the spirit of independence was strong. Patriot fighters from South Carolina, joined by militia from beyond the Blue Ridge, had the right combination of courage and wit to defeat the most powerful military force in the world at the pivotal battles of Kings Mountain in 1780 and at Cowpens in 1781.
Gaffney is situated on the trail of the Overmountain men, right between the two biggest battles of the Southern Campaign, Kings Mountain National Battlefield and Cowpens National Battleground. “Most Americans don’t realize the Revolutionary War was won in South Carolina, right here in our own backyards,” said John Slaughter, group superintendent for the Southern Campaign of the American Revolutionary parks.
The City of Gaffney hosts thousands of visitors during Revolutionary War Weekend in October, and welcomes travelers and participants in the Overmountain Victory Trail Association’s annual commemorative march. The Cherokee County History and Arts Museum maintains a permanent exhibit called “Land of Revolutions.”
The Gaffney Visitors Center and Art Gallery is an attraction of its own, preserving history and highlighting arts. Once a U.S. Post Office, this century-old facility displays its unique character with original flooring, arched ceilings and enormous windows, as well as an art gallery where works of local artists and traveling exhibits are shown. The downtown area features the Michael Gaffney Log Home, the City Hall Park with its historic water fountain, and the Gaffney City Hall, where the bell ringing from the clock tower is from the City Hall constructed in the late 1800s.
The Nationally Registered Historic Commercial District embraces Gaffney’s downtown streets with locally owned venues of antiques, jewelry, framing and more. The Gaffney Station Farmers Market is the destination to buy local and eat fresh. Located across from the Visitors Center, this site was once the transportation connection where local farmers brought cotton, hay, and other materials to the depot of the historic rail system. Today local farmers gather at this same location to transport their produce from “farm to fork.”
Gaffney’s Residential Historic District includes homes constructed between 1890 and 1930, generally of frame or brick construction, with fine examples of Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Neo-Classical, Victorian and Bungalow styles. The residential district leads to the Limestone Springs Historic District, encircling much of the Limestone College campus, Nesbitt’s Quarry, the Limestone Springs Baptist Church, and Limestone Springs, wherein lie three British soldiers fatally wounded at the Battle of Cowpens.
In addition to its rich history, arts are happening here. Downtown Gaffney is home to the Gaffney Little Theatre, and Limestone College hosts educational, theatrical and musical performances. Year-round exhibits are hosted at the Cherokee County History and Arts Museum, Gaffney City Hall, and the Gaffney Visitors Center and Art Gallery.
For sheer beauty, traveling the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, also known as South Carolina Highway 11, is a great way to catch a first glimpse of the Upstate’s beautiful mountain views. You’ll find super travel tips at the Visitors Center by requesting the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway Travel Guide. Looks like it’s still happening right here in Gaffney.
Share this article: