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Aiken County in South Carolina is a beautiful and historic place with a rich culture and history. Steeped in southern heritage, this charming area has a lot of interesting stories and unique features that make it stand out from the rest. Here are seven fascinating facts about Aiken County's history:

1. Aiken County is named after William Aiken Jr.
William Aiken Jr. was the former governor of South Carolina and one of the most influential figures in the state's history. He was also an important figure in America's industrialization movement in the 19th century. Aiken played a crucial part in constructing a railway from Charleston to Hamburg, which eventually led to the creation of Aiken County. The town of Aiken was named in his honor, as was the county.

2. Aiken was originally a wintering town for wealthy Northerners
During the late 1800s, wealthy northerners would flock to Aiken to escape the cold northern winters. They would stay in luxurious hotels and cottages, play golf and polo, and indulge in the warm southern climate. Some of the prominent figures to visit Aiken include Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, William Vanderbilt, and William Astor.

3. Aiken was home to the world's largest cotton exchange building
In the early 1900s, the world's largest cotton exchange building was located in downtown Aiken. The building was the central hub of cotton trading for the entire southeastern United States and was essential to the economy of the region.

4. Aiken County was a central battleground during the Civil War
During the Civil War, Aiken County found itself at the heart of the conflict. The county was home to many plantations, which produced valuable crops such as cotton and tobacco. Union troops targeted these plantations and destroyed much of the county's infrastructure, including bridges, railroads, and telegraph lines.

5. Aiken County was a major center for horse racing
Aiken County is also renowned for its equestrian heritage. It was one of the most important towns in the country for horse training, horse racing, and polo. Aiken County was the winter home of many famous racehorses and horse trainers, including Man o' War, Seabiscuit, and many more.

6. Aiken County played a key role in desegregation
During the civil rights movement, Aiken County played a pivotal role in promoting desegregation. In 1949, a young African American girl named Barbara Johns led a school strike for equal rights in nearby Farmville, Virginia. Her efforts eventually led to the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ended racial segregation in public schools. Johns later moved to Aiken County, where she continued her work to promote equal rights for all.

7. Aiken County is home to a historic Civil War battle site
One of the most significant Civil War battle sites in the county is the Battle of Aiken. The battle was fought on February 11, 1865, and was a crucial Confederate victory. Though the victory was short-lived, it helped the Confederacy to keep their forces together for a few more months.

In conclusion, Aiken County in South Carolina is a fascinating place with a rich history and culture. From its role in the Civil War to its importance in the horse racing industry, this area is steeped in interesting stories and unique features. Whether you are a history buff or a curious traveler, Aiken County is worth a visit!

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