in the north-central section of South Carolina, Chester County
is convenient to both the mountains and
the sea. Nearby major urban areas include Charlotte, NC, approximately
40 miles to the north, Columbia, SC, 55 miles to the south, and
Greenville-Spartanburg approximately 70 miles to the west. The
Catawba River forms the countys eastern border, while the
Broad River serves as its western boundary. Chester County is
traversed by Interstate 77, providing excellent north-south access,
as well as connections to other interstates and to major urban
areas. I-85 and I-26 are within one hours drive.
All incorporated areas are minutes
from the interstate and are connected by South Carolinas
magnificent state highways. Along with I -77, which is a primary
north-south route, the County has S.C. Highway 9, the primary
east-west route, and a major line from the South Carolina mountains
to the coast.
Air travelers can reach Charlotte
Douglas International Airport, located on NC Highway 160 in just
under an hour, by traveling I-77. This international facility
provides heavy air transport and hundreds of daily scheduled air
The Chester Municipal Airport
is located 5 miles north of the City of Chester, near Lowrys.
The facility, with two 5,000-foot runways, may be used by either
private or corporate aircraft. Recent improvements include a new
terminal building with a conference room, new hangers, fuel tanks,
a new runway lighting system, and a renovated taxi way.
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"on the hill," as the downtown area is called, is a
unique experience. Many of the older buildings are being revitalized
and brought back to life with original wooden floors and decorative
tin ceilings. Downtown shops carry a large variety of merchandise
including: men and womens apparel, antiques, books, pets,
and hardware. Scattered throughout the circumference of the
county are strip malls which contain grocery stores, drug stores,
and general merchandise. Major shopping centers may be reached
in 30 or 40 minutes in neighboring counties.
Dining choices in the Chester
County area range from "fish camps" to pub-style restaurants
to fast food eateries. International cuisine restaurants include
Chinese, Mexican and Greek choices. Several restaurants have facilities
for club meetings and private parties.
Accommodations include a bed and
breakfast in the historic district of the City of Chester and
several motels in Chester as well as in the Richburg area.
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activities are fostered by such organizations as the Arts Council
of Chester County, the Chester Little Theatre, the Chester County
Library, the Chester Historical Society and local historical and
Annual festivals draw large numbers
both locally and from out of state. The Flopeye Fish Festival
is held Memorial Day weekend in Great Falls. Regular activities
include arts and crafts, a variety of entertainment, car show,
carnival and food. In the fall, the City of Chester is host to
the Chester Downtown Development Associations HILLarity
Festival. This multi-cultural event features a wide variety of
entertainment, crafts and food. Also, Lily Fest, a celebration
of the rare Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies is held in May at Landsford
Canal State Park.
The Chester County Historical
Society Museum, opened in 1960, contains many notable collections
including the Claude E. Gatlin Indian Collection. This amazing
collection contains over 30,000 projectile points. The Museum
houses pictures of the four signers of the Ordinance of Secession
as well as a copy of the Ordinance donated by the family of one
of the signers. Several battle flags are on display. In 1995,
the Museum acquired the Henry Orion Nichols photograph collection
of nearly one million photographs and negatives taken in Chester
and Chester County from 1917 to 1990.
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wide variety of recreational activities are available in Chester
County, ranging from neighborhood playgrounds to state parks and
National Forest lands. Active recreation departments are operated
by Chester County in cooperation with the City of Chester and
the Town of Great Falls. Facilities of these departments include
playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts and ballfields for
softball, football and soccer. These facilities are clustered
in the Chester and Great Falls areas. There are small town parks
in Richburg and Lowrys, and an area park in west Chester County.
A new YMCA opens in early 1999.
18 hole golf course located east of Chester is operated by the
Leroy Springs Company, and is open to the public. Republic Golf
Course, a nine hole course in Great Falls
is also open to the public.
Water based recreation is available
in a number of areas. In addition to private ponds and lakes,
water sports such as swimming, boating and skiing are available
at Fishing Creek Lake, an impoundment on the Catawba River above
Great Falls. The lake has public landings as well as a number
of private residences and cabins. Canoeing is increasing in popularity
along the Catawba River above Fishing Creek Lake and on the Broad
River all along the western boundary of the county.
State Park, located south of Chester on SC 72/121, offers camping,
picnicking, fishing, a playground, and nature trail. Landsford
Canal State Park is located on the Catawba River in the northeastern
part of the county. This park is located at an ancient crossing
point of the river which has a rocky shoal. In the 1820s, a canal
was built to allow barge traffic around the shoals for the transportation
of cotton and other crops to market in Charleston. This
canal area, unused for many years, is now an interpretive site.
The park also has a picnic area, a nature trail, and opportunities
for fishing and canoeing.
Portions of Sumter National Forest
are located in western Chester County. The forest provides areas
for hiking, hunting, access to the Broad River, and a developed
recreation area at Woods Ferry.
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