Visitors to Bennettsville can take a walking tour of key sites in the city. Pick up at walking tour map at the Visitor Center.
1. D.D. McColl House/Visitor’s Center
304 West Main Street
This two-story Queen Anne-style brick house, built in 1884, features a turret and one story porch with trim. It is made from yellow brick stained to simulate red brick. Mr. McColl operated Marlboro County’s first bank (1886) and brought the railroad to the county (1884). He also established the Bennettsville Cotton Mill in 1897. The town of McColl is named for him. The house is now the home of the Bennettsville Visitors Center.
2. Thomas Memorial Baptist Church
308 West Main Street
Built in the late 1890s to replace an earlier structure, the church has a large belfry tower, arched entrances and notable stained glass. The church was established in the 1830’s and was the first church in Bennettsville.
3. J.L. Powers Home (c. 1906)
411 West Main Street
This home was designed by Ernest Richards, a prominent Bennettsville architect.
4. D.D. McColl House (c. 1826)
300 West Main Street
Built in 1826, it was purchased from H. H. Covington by D. D. McColl in 1871 and he lived in the house until 1884. The house was restored and given to Marlboro County by Hugh L. McColl Jr., great-grandson of D.D. McColl, in 1991 and is used for receptions and public meetings.
5. Shiloh Baptist Church (c. 1886)
121 Cheraw Street
Organized in 1867, this is the oldest black congregation in Bennettsville. The first building was built on this site in 1886 and stood until it burned in 1930. The present building was built in 1932-1933. The white building adjacent to the church was the parsonage and the childhood home of Marian Wright Edelman. It is now the home of the Children’s Defense Fund founded by Mrs. Edelman.
6. St. Michael’s United Methodist Church
116 Cheraw Street
Organized in 1868 as the first Methodist Church for blacks in Bennettsville. The first building on this site was in 1872 and the present building constructed in 1918-1923.
7. The Gulf (c. 1876)
From 1876-1976 Bennettsville had a prosperous Colored Business District called the Gulf. Located on Market Street going west from the corner of Liberty Street down to Cheraw Street, it was a small area of little more than 100 yards. Prior to integration it was the only place African Americans could go for shopping and entertainment in Bennettsville. On weekends 200-300 people would come to the Gulf to drink, dance and socialize. It is thought the Gulf got its name from a Gulf Oil Station on the corner of Market and Liberty Streets. Businesses opened and thrived until 1930 when it began to decline due to the Great Depression. In the mid 1930’s, near the end of the Depression, the area was revived and businesses flourished. Black doctors, pharmacists and dentists worked there. African American men met at Chestnut and Quick barbershops to discuss issues and set the political and social agendas for the Black community in Marlboro County.
8. Bank Building (c. 1886)
104 South Liberty Street
This was the home of Marlboro County’s first bank, the Bank of Marlboro, founded by D.D. McColl.
9. 106 McColl Street (c. 1912)
The ground level of the three story brick Masonic Building is a variation of Italianate architecture and features horizontal bands executed in brick. Stone is used for decorative features. It is one of only two three story buildings in the downtown.
10. First Presbyterian Church (c.1911)
130 Broad Street
This two story, eclectic style church building features a large central portico and was built to replace a newly completed church building, which was destroyed by fire in 1907.
11. The Strauss House (c. 1906)
Broad Street and Fayetteville Avenue
Built in 1906, this is home of Douglas Jennings Law Firm. This Victorian, two story, clapboard house is typical of early 20th century homes.
12. Shiness (c. 1903)
100 Fayetteville Avenue
Built in 1903 by Alexander James Matheson, it is named Shiness for his paternal grandmother’s home in Sutherlandshire, Scotland. The building was purchased in 1984 by W. L. Kinney Jr. and now is the home of the Marlboro Herald-Advocate and Shiness Gift shop. The building is a two story brick, Georgian Revival house featuring a central two story portico supported by Ionic columns, elaborate entablature and bracketed eaves.
13. Matheson Street School (c. 1920)
100 Matheson Street
Built in 1920 as the Bennettsville Primary School and continues as offices for the school district.
14. Murchison School (c. 1902)
Marlboro Street and Fayetteville Avenue
Built in 1902, the Italian villa-style brick building features a three story central bell tower, low hip roof and extensive interior and exterior decorative work. The building also contains a lovely, small Victorian auditorium with excellent acoustics.
15. The Matheson Building (c. 1915)
120 South Marlboro Street
Originally built for a hotel, this two story turn-of-the-century brick structure features a second story iron piazza. Designs are executed in contrasting colored brick.
16. Dr. J. F. Kinney home (c.1902)
123 South Marlboro Street
This home now houses the Marlboro County Historical Museum. The small white building in the front right of the museum was originally Dr. Kinney’s office and is now the Doctor’s Museum.
17. Jennings-Brown House and the Bennettsville Female Academy
121 South Marlboro Street
Built in 1826, this house was used as headquarters for Union troops in 1865. The house was restored and decorated to its c.1850 appearance in 1976 and is open to the public by appointment. It features a stenciled ceiling (c.1830) discovered during the restoration.
The building, which housed the Bennettsville Female Academy, was built by the Bennettsville Academical Society organized in 1828. The Female Academy used the oldest part of the building from 1833 to 1881 when it was located on East Main Street opposite the First United Methodist Church. It was moved to Cheraw Street and in 1977 to its present location.
18. 119 South Marlboro Street (c. 1930)
The small brick building was constructed during the 1930s under the Works Project Administration (WPA). For many years it was the Women’s Home Demonstration Market Building. It was converted in 1969 to the county museum. In late 2001, the City of Bennettsville renovated the building and moved its Planning and Zoning Department to the location. The building is also home of the Bennettsville Downtown Development Association (BDDA).
19. The Kinney Building (c. 1909)
200 East Main Street
Built in the early 20th century and featuring bracketed eaves and paired windows, this building is a variation of Italianate architecture. It now houses retail and apartments.
20. The McCall Block Building (c.1889)
112 East Main Street
With an elaborate cast-iron façade, it is considered one of Bennettsville’s finest architectural treasures. General John McQueen, born February 9, 1804, served as a United States Congressman from 1849 to 1860. He established his law offices at this site in 1828. McQueen was General of the SC Militia and a member of the First Confederate Congress. Apartments and retail are located here.
21. Marlboro County Courthouse (c. 1881)
Main and Broad Streets
This is the third structure to be located on this site. The court room portion (third structure) of the building was constructed between 1881 and 1885. The rest of the building was altered extensively in 1951. Several historical markers and monuments are located on the grounds.
22. William P. Wallace Administration Building (c. 1929)
205 Market Street
Built in 1929 as the Marlboro County General Hospital, it now houses the administrative offices of Marlboro County government.
23. American Legion Building (c. 1930)
209 East Market Street
An architectural creation by local architect Henry D. Harrall, this building was constructed in the 1930s by the Works Project Administration (WPA). The facility now houses the Marlboro County Council on Aging.
24. The Commerce Building (c. 1936)
214 East Market Street
Built by the Works Project Administration (WPA) in 1936 as the Marlboro County Public Library, the building was designed by local architect Henry D. Harrall. It now houses the Marlboro County Economic Partnership offices.
25. The Weatherly-Walker House (c.1834)
303 East Market Street
Now home to the Marlboro Arts Council, it was originally located on East Main Street and was operated by Mrs. Genevieve Weatherly as an eating-place and boarding house. It was moved to its present location in the 1890s.
26. Marlboro Civic Center (c.1917)
106 Clyde Street
This restored 1917 opera house and former movie theater is in the heart of Bennettsville.
27. First United Methodist Church (c.1834)
311 East Main Street
Built on this site about 1834, with a second building erected about 1871. The Renaissance architecture of the present brick structure features a large belfry tower and a slate roof.
28. The Moore House (c.1860)
402 East Main Street
This two-story clapboard, Queen Anne-style house features turret, turned balusters, and gables with shingles. The house is now the home and law offices of Milton Moore.
29. The Breeden Inn Bed and Breakfast (c.1886)
404 East Main Street
The building that is now a bed and breakfast inn dates from 1886 and is a two story Beaux Arts-style house which features a leaded glass transom, leaded side lights, and a semicircular two story porch with large Ionic columns.
30. “Magnolia” (c.1853)
508 East Main Street
A two-story clapboard house that has a one-story porch, free-standing Doric columns, and boxed cornice with brackets, it is typical of the antebellum homes of the area. Chancellor William D. Johnson, one of three Marlboro County representatives to the South Carolina Secession Convention and a signer of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, built the house. A slave cabin still stands on the grounds.
31. Whitner-Evans Funeral Home (c.1879)
507 East Main Street
Originally built as a private residence by Knox Livingston, a local attorney, the building is a two-story Victorian structure with a marble mantle.