The stories of the groups of people who have impacted Congaree are many and diverse. For thousands of years, Native Americans called this land home, finding life in the many natural resources that the floodplain provided. African-American slaves used the floodplain as a refuge and place to find liberty, and after emancipation they hunted, fished and used Cedar Creek as a place for baptisms. Loggers began harvesting timber for Francis Beidler's Santee River Cypress Lumber Company in the late 1890's, but due to the generally inaccessible terrain, their work had halted by the late 1910's. When logging resumed in the 1960's, Harry Hampton and number of very dedicated conservationists fought to have the land saved as a national park. Knowing their stories is important to understanding the many connections that people have made to this landscape.
Last updated: May 25, 2022