Top 7 Abandoned Places In South Carolina

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

South Carolina is a state that is famous for beautiful beaches, bodacious babes, and bountiful BBQ pits with amazing meats. Most people are aware of the many cities that the state has, as well as the elegant southern drawl of the locals. What you might not realize is that the state also boasts a ton of abandoned areas that are ideal for urban explorers.

The top abandoned places in South Carolina are:

  • Heritage USA
  • South Carolina Lunatic Asylum
  • The Boynton House
  • Atalaya Castle
  • Salem Black River Church
  • Old Charleston City Jail
  • Rose Hill Plantation

Are you curious about what South Carolina has in store as far as abandoned places go? You should be. The stories behind these cool areas would make anyone consider taking a trip down south.

The Most Interesting Abandoned Places In South Carolina

South Carolina is one of those areas that has a little bit of mystery to it, even today. These locations have amazing stories that just add to the state’s wonder.

1. Heritage USA – Fort Mill

Heritage USA is one of the most famous Christian-fundamentalist flops of its kind. Made by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, the park was made to be a wonderland of all things Christian and Southern-baked craziness. Built in 1978, Heritage USA was supposed to be the next Disneyland. In fact, it wasn’t that bad. It was the third most popular theme park in America at one point.

Unfortunately, fundraising came in the form of a “club” membership where people would spend thousands of dollars for free days at Heritage’s hotel. The truth is that they over begged and couldn’t deliver on the promise. The park struggled with crowds for a bit, then quickly took a major nosedive. The park shut down in 1989.

Since then, Heritage USA has kind of just rotted away. It’s still there, partially. But it’s really spooky to walk through this evangelical post-apocalyptic city.

2. South Carolina Lunatic Asylum – Columbia

Built in 1821, the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum was never meant to ever “cure” people. Rather, it’s the place where people dumped undesirables. As a result, its treatment of patients was never quite nice. Even in the early days of the asylum, the hospital always had several hundred people inside its walls. By the time hospitals became the norm, the place became overcrowded and prone to extreme abuse.

Rumors suggested that there weren’t enough clothes or food to go around. People became violent. Some slept on floors or were assaulted by the nurses. By 1914, the asylum was known for exceptionally unsanitary conditions as well as unusually high mortality rates. Despite that, the hospital remained in business for years after. At its peak in 1950, the hospital held 4,000 patients.

Due to the excessive harm that the medical community did, the state announced that the hospital would close in 2003. The place is slated to be converted to apartments in 2022, but has been delayed as a result of the pandemic. Now would be the time to visit this potentially haunted area.

3. The Boynton House – Green Pond

Not many people remember that certain parks were once private property. That’s what happened with the Boynton house. This house was bought and erected by the Boynton family. It was a farmhouse that overlooked their property. Unfortunately, the family farm didn’t work out and the Boyntons left. The house remained there until the land became part of a park.

Nowadays, park visitors can see the abandoned home as a part of the trail. Sometimes, people also go inside, though that isn’t the safest thing to do. This home isn’t haunted like the Lunatic Asylum probably is, but it still captures a certain forlorn vibe that’s hard to shake.

4. Atalaya Castle – Murrell’s Inlet

You might have already heard of an abandoned castle, and it’s true. South Carolina does have castles. One of them is located in Huntington Beach State Park, right at the heart of the park. The massive castle was once the home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. Archer was a major industrialist of the time, while Anna played the role of socialite and sculptor.

The two lived in the lap of luxury in the middle of the inlet. The castle had a sprawling cement courtyard, massive statues, as well as a truly jaw-dropping facade. When the two passed away, the home was abandoned soon after. It became a part of a public park named after them. Today, people see the 30-room house, adorned with palm trees, alone in the park.

The place is now a part of the National Historic Places Registry and is a regular place for wedding photoshoots. Though, it’s still abandoned.

5. Salem Black River Church – Sumter

Well, isn’t this foreboding?

This massive, black-painted church is just as unsettling on the outside as it was on the inside. The church got closed down for reasons that I actually wasn’t able to find online. Or rather, I wasn’t able to find out a mundane reason as to why this church just wasn’t there anymore. However, there are a lot of rumors about this church that are enough to hit the pause button.

The biggest rumor that we were able to find was that there was a murder involved on the church grounds. It was said to be due to a wedding gone wrong, but there were other indicators that something bad happened here. Along with a slave galley being in the church’s interior, there are longstanding rumors of a priest who lost his entire family to a plague. Some say it was God punishing him for an unspeakable sin.

Whatever the reason was, bad luck followed this church until it closed. Today, people who wander the grounds claim that there are shadow people who can be seen peering out from the corners of the rooms.

6. Old Charleston City Jail – Charleston

We often have at least one abandoned school or hospital in the ranks of these articles, but this time around, we’re going to

take a look at a jail that closed its doors. This jail, to many peoples’ surprise, is right at the heart of Charleston. It’s Old Charleston City Jail. The towering sculpted stone walls give the place a feeling quite similar to a fortress. To a point, it was.

The way that prisoners were assigned to rooms was pretty interesting. The worse the offense, the higher the floor would be. “Gentlemen offenders” who were liked by the community were on the bottom floor, often next to jail staff members’ rooms. Prostitutes would be on the floor above. Above that were people who fought or otherwise did something worse, like stealing large sums of money. At the top floor were the worst offenders, like murderers.

In the Civil War, it acted as a holding cell. A large earthquake shook up the foundation and by the 1930s, it was very worn out. It was eventually decommissioned and abandoned. Recently, the jail was given some love in the form of a restoration project. Out of all the abandoned venues, this is the easiest to access.

7. Rose Hill Plantation – Union

Would it really be a Southern state if there wasn’t at least one good story about a forgotten plantation? We think not. Such is the case with Rose Hill. The plantation was one of many that thrived in the pre-war South, and it was a family affair. The family that owned the plantation lived, worked, and died there. When someone died, they were buried on the property. It was the way of the South.

Rose Hill’s family had to leave when the Civil War happened, and Union soldiers took over the area. They freed the slaves, but left some rather alarming messages. Most famously, one man wrote on the wall that “Hell is here.” Once the war finished, people came back to the plantation. Needless to say, the slaves were gone and all the soldiers wrecked the interior.

Financially and structurally ruined, the Rose Hill family left. The area was then converted to a historic venue later next century after it switched hands. It was never quite the same. People claim to still see the ghosts of a grieving war widow as well as mysterious lights. Sometimes, people also see Union soldiers who walk into a room, never to come out again.

Related Questions

There was one neighborhood that was meant to be a major up-and-coming region, but it never panned out. It was part of the “New Deal” of 1936, and it was named Ashwood Plantation. Ashwood had 136 houses and was made as a part of the revitalization efforts post-Depression. Unfortunately, the neighborhood never worked out.

The neighborhood was occupied for a short period but fell into abandon after everyone moved out.

Where is the best place to find abandoned properties for sale in South Carolina?

The best way to find abandoned properties for sale is to look up foreclosure auctions or to go for a drive. Most of the time, you will be able to get a good grip on which properties can be bought up by looking for ramshackle buildings and contacting the owners. You would be shocked at how often you can get a bargain buy.

Are foreclosed homes abandoned?

Technically, they might be. If a home doesn’t have anyone living in it or maintaining it, it’s abandoned in both the legal and literal sense of the word. If someone is maintaining it but no one lives there, it’s not entirely abandoned but may still be seen as abandoned.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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