FORT MILL — History is coming.
This weekend brings re-enactments, demonstrations, games and music – even a submarine – to Walter Y. Elisha Park as part of Fort Mill History Day.
Events run 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“This is just another great way to learn about Fort Mill’s history and culture,” said Ann Evans, chairwoman of the Fort Mill History Museum planning committee.
Visitors will walk a time-line through the walking trail park, including Revolutionary and Civil War encampments and re-enactors of both World Wars, the War of 1812 and Vietnam. There will be sweetgrass basket making, a Catawba master potter and the Greenville Textile Heritage Band.
“We want people to see not just local history,” Evans said, “but for them to see how Fort Mill fits and be able to stand in a place and time in American history.”
A major draw will be a replica of the H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine that was the first to sink an enemy warship. Mayor Danny Funderburk called the Hunley’s inclusion a “stroke of genius” that gives the day a regional appeal.
The town supports the History Museum with hospitality tax money, used for promoting events or venues that generate tourism.
“Speaking for myself, I wholeheartedly support the Fort Mill History Museum’s Fort Mill History Day event,” he said. “It’ll be an exciting and interactive way for citizens to learn more about historical issues, people and events.”
He’s hopeful the event will give Fort Mill a context within larger events of the past.
“Equally important, this event will help lead people to a better understanding of Fort Mill’s place in local, state and national history,” Funderburk said.
Evans, also the curator at the White Homestead, believes “we’re losing so much of what was and is Fort Mill” as more homes come to the area, but the upside is new residents seem interested in learning about their new home.
“We want to do what we can to preserve and promote Fort Mill history,” she said.
This weekend isn’t the first attempt to bring the town’s history to the public. The White Homestead occasionally opens to public events. The Anne Springs Close Greenway hosted several frontier days. Organizers hope History Day will be as impressive and accessible as any event so far, right in the downtown area.
Their hope is the event will join others like the South Carolina Strawberry Festival in the spring and Art on Main in the fall as annual draws to celebrate Fort Mill.
“That is our expectation,” Evans said. “Hopefully we are going to be doing it again next year. And it’ll grow.”
John Marks • 803-831-8166