Battlegrounds & Heroes

Explore the beginnings of our nation at Ninety Six National Historic Site. New Park Superintendent Joshua Manley is excited to show off the park’s rich history, as well as nature, science and recreational opportunities.

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Most visitors go to Ninety Six

National Historic Site to learn about our nation’s early years, but they find so much more. And the park’s new Superintendent, Joshua Manley, can’t wait to tell everyone about all the things to do here.

“I quickly discovered that this is not just a place for people who love history,” he says. “This is a place where people who love science can come and learn about STEM opportunities, a place where anyone who loves bird or wildlife watching can come. Anyone who likes to trail run or hike can get on our 10-plus miles of trails. Horseback riders have miles of trails to enjoy.” Avid fishermen, like Josh, can catch largemouth bass, catfish, black crappie and bluegill in the 27-acre pond.

Small Town, Big Impact

While the town of Ninety Six is now a small community with a big history, it played a crucial role in the birth of the new nation. Located at the junction of 12 roads and trails, the frontier village grew into an important backcountry town with taverns, traders, shops and a courthouse and jail. Ninety Six soon became a strategic location in the Revolutionary War. 

In 1775, the first land battle south of New England was fought here. Five years later, the British began construction of the Star Fort to fortify the town. The unusual eight-point star shape allows cannon and musket fire in all directions. “It’s the only eight-point earthen star fort in existence today,” says Josh. Visitors can also see a Mayham Tower, or rifle tower, used to fire on the fort. 

From May 22 - June 18, 1781, 1,000 patriot troops led by Major General Nathanael Greene laid siege to the fort and the 550 loyalists defending it. It became the longest field siege of the Revolutionary War.  

Among the other historic structures at the park are the one-of-a-kind Kosciuszko Mine and the Logan Log House, the oldest known surviving structure in the county. Built in the 18th century in Greenwood County, the cabin was found during a demolition in 1967, preserved and moved to the park. The cabin now is outfitted as the Black Swan Tavern for living history events.

Spend a Day Exploring

“The best way to start your tour is at the visitor center,” Josh says. There are museum exhibits, archeological artifacts, and items from other Revolutionary War sites to illustrate life and battle in that era.

“One thing I absolutely love about Ninety Six is that it’s accessible to every visitor,” Josh adds. “You can be a family with children in strollers. You can bring your furry friends on leashes. We have a one-mile paved walking path that will take you all the way around the most important sites at Ninety Six and bring you right back to your car. “

His new role comes with something of a sacred trust. “As superintendent of a National Park Service site, I have the honor of leading a team as we care for a place that is so important in our nation's history and connected to the community around us today. Our main goal is to preserve this place for the current generation, as well as those generations to come after us,” he says.

Walk to the Star Fort and battlefield, see the seigeworks, stroll through town and enjoy lunch at the picnic site.

While the park was created because of its pivotal role in the Revolutionary War, it offers a diverse slate of activities. Natural resources for a variety of kinds of recreation are abundant.

Star Fort Pond is open for fishing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from April 1 - November 1 (SC fishing license required). There is a free fishing derby with prizes each year for junior outdoor enthusiasts in conjunction with the SC Department of Natural Resources. 

The pond is also a great place to enjoy kayaking and canoeing. Non-motorized boats and those with an electric powered motor (no gas motors) are also allowed.

Always Something to Do 

“Another reason that I was so excited to accept this position is that it presented the perfect opportunity to use all my experience, skills and passions to build relationships,” Josh says. “I get to be a professional friend maker; I get to build rapport with the community and surrounding area, create exciting opportunities for events and projects to get local citizens involved.”

Periodically throughout the year, the park hosts other opportunities to enjoy the 1022 acres. There are guided battlefield tours, stargazing events, hiking and nature tours, animal and birdwatching tours and, of course, living history events. 

Re-enactors in period clothing set up camp and show how militias lived, cooked, camped and prepared for battle. 

A new exhibit space is in the works for 2023, with a total redesign and new artifacts discovered during recent excavation at the Star Fort, and space to rotate items found during archeological field schools. The new design will also make the experience more interesting and accessible for visitors with auditory or visual challenges. 

Check the park’s website for events throughout the year. “We’d love to have you come explore with us,” Josh says.

Read 'The Heartbeat That Built Greenwood' >>
Ninety Six National Historic Site

Explore the Revolutionary War beginnings of Greenwood’s history, and enjoy the natural and educational attractions at this national park.

Lake Greenwood State Park

Play in the water, camp beside the lake, hike the trails, try geocaching and explore wildlife, history and nature.

Town of Ninety Six

Visit the historic town of Ninety Six, home of a Revolutionary War site, golf courses, historic homes and buildings, with a picturesque walking trail through town.