The United States has a 250th birthday coming up, and South Carolina is positioning itself to play a vital role in the celebration.

On July 4, 2026, the U.S. will celebrate 250 years of independence from Great Britain.

Bill Davies, who’s part of the S.C. Revolutionary War Sestercentennial Commission, spoke to a small group of Calhoun County residents on Monday night about how each county can help spark interest in residents and tourists alike.

“Honest to goodness, what we’re trying to do is hook every one of you to being part of this because we think it’s really important,” Davies said.

The S.C. American Revolutionary War Sestercentennial Commission – or SC250 for short – along with the Liberty Trail are working to promote two goals ahead of the nation’s upcoming milestone.

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“The first goal is education. Education should always be first,” Davies said.

“The education we need to focus on is winning back the heritage that South Carolina had before 1860 for having a pivotal role in winning independence from Great Britain,” he added.

“If you read all the books before 1860, it’s recognized that the South is where the war was won. After that, the South got written out of the war. This is something we need to educate people on and reeducate us – all of us, not just some – school children and everybody about our role in that war,” Davies said.

“We also need to educate the visitors because the visitors are coming,” he said.

The second goal “is technically called cultural heritage tourism. What that really means is local economic development. We want to get literally hundreds of thousands of people who are going up and down our interstates, who tour our state every day. We want to get them off the highway – somewhere other than Myrtle Beach and Charleston – we want to get them to rural South Carolina. And when we get them off the highway, we want them to stop and buy gas. We want them to buy T-shirts, belts, hats and maybe a pocketknife or something. And we want them to eat lunch in our restaurants and we want them to spend the night here,” Davies said.

At least 400 Revolutionary War incidents took place in South Carolina, Davies said.

He noted there were two battles each in Charleston and Camden, “and everything else was out in the country.”

“When people go to Revolutionary War sites, they will be in rural South Carolina,” he said.

Davies said tourists and residents are heading to rural areas to visit Revolutionary War sites.

In 2020, Star Fort, a national park in the Ninety-Six district of South Carolina, saw 95,107 visitors. Davies said the visitors invested an estimated $5.7 million in the state.

Cowpens National Battlefield, just outside of Chesnee, saw 227,000 visitors during 2020, bringing an estimated $14.9 million in revenue to the state.

As the state gets ready for the nation’s 225th birthday, each county needs to form a committee to tell of its Revolutionary War sites, contributions and other significant impacts, he said.

“Once your county council recognizes you as the official Calhoun County committee, we have a $3,000 grant that’s not competitive or anything else,” Davies said. “We’ve got grants that will help you locate sites in your county. Grants that will help research history and find the place and provide the archaeology, that will help you set up the pull-offs and will help you with signage.”

Davies said the SC250 Commission is focused on telling factual stories of the Revolutionary War to not only focus not only on the people who fought in battles, but capture the diversity of people who contributed to the efforts.

St. Matthews Mayor Helen Carson noted, “I’m happy to see this. It would be a wonderful thing for our children and grandchildren to know South Carolina played such a vital role.”

“We’ve got to bring others to the table, to the drawing board, because that’s what’s going to make the horse run down the road,” she said.

To learn more about South Carolina’s efforts to celebrate the nation’s upcoming 250th birthday, visit:

The Liberty Trail is a free, interactive phone application that allows users to plan tours of Revolutionary War sites across South Carolina.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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