Leadership North Augusta learns history of the area

Members of the Class of 2013 of Leadership North Augusta spent Wednesday, Nov. 14, immersed in the history of the area.

Under the direction of Brenda Baratto, president of the Heritage Council of North Augusta and assistant director of the Aiken County Historical Museum, the group of 13 budding leaders began pretty much where North Augusta began - with Hamburg.

The group assembled at First Providence Baptist Church in the building that was transported plank-by-plank from Hamburg to the spot where it now sits on Barton Road.

Elliott Levy gave a brief history of Hamburg, begun by Henry Shultz in the 1800s.

Then, Wayne O'Bryant relayed the circumstances during Reconstruction that led to the Hamburg Massacre, which resulted in the death of one white man and seven black men.

The group saw some of North Augusta's history first-hand with a tour of the area that was Hamburg and Schultz Hill Cemetery, followed by a look at some of the significant buildings in North Augusta - Star of Edgefield, home of the Butlers who owned the property that became North Augusta; Pine Heights, which served folks who stayed at the Hampton Terrace Hotel; the site of Seven Gables, also a lodge associated with the Hampton Terrace; and the McKie-Meriwether marker, dedicated to the memory of the one white man killed at the Hamburg Massacre.

From there, the group toured Rosemary and Lookaway inns under the guidance of owner Diana Combs, who shared many insights into the family of James U. Jackson, founder of North Augusta.

The group enjoyed lunch at the tavern in the Living History Park.

After lunch, Lauren Virgo of the Arts and Heritage Center of North Augusta shared a presentation on Jackson and the Hampton Terrace Hotel, with input and artifacts from Tony Riley.

The place of pottery in local history was detailed by Riley, traditional potter Gary Dexter, Tony Carr and Elliott Levy.

The day's activities closed at the Aiken County Historical Museum, where the group was able to see some of the artifacts significant to the history of the entire county and to the North Augusta area specifically.