Riverbanks Zoo and Garden not only serves to protect rare and endangered wildlife and wild places, but also safeguards a number of South Carolina’s significant historical landmarks. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973, Riverbanks’ 170-acre site has a deep-rooted history dating back to the early 1800s with South Carolina’s textile industry and the Civil War. Today visitors can view structural remains that reveal this rich past from several vantage points within the Zoo and Garden.
Video : Walk Through History at Riverbanks
Covered Bridge Abutments
In February 1865, Confederate troops burned down the old State Road Bridge in a futile attempt to keep General William T. Sherman’s army from entering the city of Columbia. Riverbanks’ visitors can see the remains of the covered bridge just east of the Saluda River footbridge connecting the Zoo and Garden properties.
Saluda River Factory Ruins
A wooded trail leads visitors from the Saluda River footbridge along a paved path to the ruins of the old Saluda River Factory, which dates back to the 1800s. Visitors can see remnants of the mill’s granite foundations, picking house and millrace as well as a striking keystone arch.
Saluda Factory Interpretive Center
A modest museum was built adjacent to the historic mill site in 1999. The log cabin houses important artifacts and graphics revealing the site’s history and its connection to the Civil War.
This serene half-mile trail through the woods leads visitors past the historic Saluda Mill Ruins and Interpretive Center.