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South Carolina is a small, diverse state located in the Deep South. From forested mountain scenery in the northwest and the mid-state Piedmont region to the Grand Strand coastline of the northeast and the islands and marshes of the south coast, South Carolina's topography is remarkably varied. The state also features scenic waterways and abundant wildlife as well as antebellum plantations and other historic sites.
South Carolina, officially separated from North Carolina in 1729, was the scene of extensive military action during the Revolution and again during the Civil War. The Civil War began in 1861 as South Carolina troops fired on federal Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the state was the first to secede from the Union.
Once primarily agricultural, South Carolina today has many large textile and other mills that produce several times the output of its farms in cash value. Charleston makes asbestos, wood, pulp, steel products, chemicals, machinery, and apparel.
Farms have become fewer but larger in recent years. South Carolina ranks third in peach production; it ranks fourth in overall tobacco production. Other top agricultural commodities include nursery and greenhouse products, watermelons, peanuts, broilers and turkeys, and cattle and calves. The only commercial tea plantation in America is 20 mi south of Charleston on Wadmalaw Island.
The official South Carolina state license plate includes the logo of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, 'Smiling Faces. Beautiful Places.' A palmetto tree, the state tree, is located in the center of the license plate. The palms of the tree are colored green and the tree trunk is brown. The background of the license plate consists of a border of blue mountains.
Points of interest include Fort Sumter National Monument, Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, and aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Charleston Harbor; the Middleton, Magnolia, and Cypress Gardens in Charleston; Cowpens National Battlefield; the Hilton Head resorts; and the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden in Columbia.
The walls of the American fort on Sullivan Island, in Charleston Harbor, were made of spongy Palmetto logs. This was helpful in protecting the fort because the British cannonballs bounced off the logs. The first battle of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter.
The City of Myrtle Beach is in the center of the Grand Strand, a 60-mile crescent of beach on the South Carolina coast. In the last 25 years, Myrtle Beach has developed into the premier resort destination on the East Coast.
Tyler Brothers Work Shoe and Boot Company in Wagener produces 8 major brands of OSHA approved safety footwear, including such famous brands as Redwing, Georgia, Northlake, and Wolverine.
Every few years, Irmo has a sighting of some kind of water monster that inhabits Lake Murray. The monster first 'surfaced' in 1973 when residents of Irmo and Ballentine saw a cousin of the Loch Ness Monster. It was described in The Independent News in 1980 as "a cross between a snake and something prehistoric."
Fountain Inn is proud of the town's most famous native son. Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates lost his leg in a cotton gin accident at the age of 12; he overcame his tragedy to become a famous dancer. His signature step was the "Imitation American Jet Plane," in which he would jump five feet in the air and land on his peg leg, with his good leg sticking out straight behind him. During his career, Bates performed more than 20 different times on the Ed Sullivan television show more than any other artist.