12 Short St Wagener, SC
Museum Hours: Friday, 8 am – 5 pm,
Saturday, 10 am – 2 pm and Sunday, 2 pm – 5 pm
803-564-3412 or 803-564-3507
Journey back in time to the era of the family farm and “The Swamp Rabbit” train. Enjoy artifacts and documents of the community since the coming of the railroad in 1887.
Wagener dates back to 1887 when the early settlement was known as Pinder Town and later as Guntersville or Gunter’s Crossroad, after the large number of North Carolinian settlers named Gunter. These men helped make up Company I of the 20th SC Infantry, which was part of Kershaw’s Brigade during the Civil War. The town is situated on what was once farm land belonging to Elridge Gunter. The influence of J. A. Gunter, a prosperous local farmer, that the town received the honor of using the name of George Wagener, a huge supporter of the railroad.
In the 1920’s and 30’s, asparagus was grown here and exported across America. Cotton was also a successful product and huge bales lined the streets awaiting departure via train. The children of Wagener frolicked among the hay bales during their games of hide-n-seek. A central town park is located where the railroad beds were.
Salley Historic District
161 Railroad AVE N Salley, SC
Pine, Ferguson, Poplar, and Aldrich Streets
The historic district consists of 60 Victorian and Art Deco homes. Homes in this district have remained unchanged since the 1930’s. The Salley Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hemrick House (Circa 1867)
124 Pine Street, Salley, SC
The first home built after Sherman’s Civil War destruction of John Town.
The unusual southern cuisine of chitlins’ is on the table! Carnival rides, crafts, parade, car show and there’s even a Hawg Calling Contest to top it off!
Battle of John Town Memorial
Route 394, Salley SC
The memorial is 2 miles west of Salley. On May 4, 1782, Patriots fought to defend two bull pens where British and Tories were imprisoned during the Revolutionary War.
Drive-Thru Safari Park
Wednesday-Sunday from 10am-6pm
Monday-Thursday by appointment only.
Private tours by appointment only.
*dates & times are subject to change
Admission fees apply.
Salley was settled as “John’s Town” in 1735 by three Swiss-German families given land grants from King George II. The 1787 Revolutionary War ‘Battle of Dean’s Bridge’ took place in Salley resulting in 17 Tories buried in an unmarked grave.
“John Town” became “Salley” on December 19, 1887 honoring SC Legislative member, Dempsey Salley.
The town of Perry was named for Benjamin Perry, a Provisional Governor during the Civil War. Both Benjamin Perry and John Wagener were key players in bringing the railroad through the town. Originally, the town was named Wagener but changed names to Perry in 1888 when the present day Wagener was officially given the name.