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Sumter County, located in the heart of South Carolina, has a rich history that has contributed significantly to the creation of the state. Here are some of the interesting facts that you may not know about Sumter County.

1. The Origins of Sumter County

Originally, Sumter County was a part of the larger Camden District. However, when the district system was disbanded in 1785, Sumter County became a part of Claremont County. In 1800, the county was renamed Sumter in honor of General Thomas Sumter, a Revolutionary War hero.

2. The First Public College

In the early 20th century, South Carolina was still recovering from the devastation of the Civil War. Sumter County played a significant role in the state’s recovery when it became home to the first public college in South Carolina. This college, named Morris College, was founded in 1908 and still stands to this day.

3. Shaw Air Force Base

In 1941, the US Army Air Corps began construction of a new military base in Sumter County. Today, that base is known as Shaw Air Force Base and is home to the 9th Air Force, which provides support to thousands of service members.

4. Fort Sumter

During the Civil War, the Union Army built Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. However, the fort was named after General Thomas Sumter, who had become a hero to both sides of the conflict.

5. The State Capital

Many people might not know that Sumter County was briefly the state capital of South Carolina. In 1865, the state legislature met in private homes located in Sumter County. This event only lasted a few weeks, but it is an important part of the state’s history.

6. Biking Paths

Sumter County has always been known as an excellent place for outdoor activities. The county is surrounded by a variety of biking paths, allowing locals and tourists alike to explore the natural beauty of the area.

7. The Sumter Opera House

Constructed in 1894, the Sumter Opera House stands as one of the most impressive buildings in the area. The building has undergone many renovations over the years and now hosts a variety of events, including concerts, plays, and other cultural events.

In conclusion, Sumter County has a rich and diverse history that has shaped the state of South Carolina for many years. From its humble beginnings as a part of the larger Camden District to its status as a hub for military activity and higher education, Sumter County has left an indelible mark on the state. Whether you are visiting the area or calling it home, there is no denying that Sumter County is a place of great historical significance.

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