The Town of Ridgeland has many historic tours, nature centers and museums to make a day, or a few, trips to enjoy it all.
Option 1 – Town Tour
1. Ralph Tuten Memorial Park
- Off I-95 Exit 21
- open 24 hours
Located directly off I-95, this is a great area to get out and stretch your legs. Then you can venture further onto the Blue Heron Nature trail.
2. Blue Heron Nature Center & Trail
- Behind Ralph Tuten Memorial Park
- open dawn to dusk
This nature trail circles a beautiful pond, then meanders through the woods. The nature center is home to a collection which represents lowcountry wildlife.
4. Pauline Pratt Webel Museum
- 403 Russell St.
- open M-F, 9-5
The Pauline Pratt Webel Museum is located inside the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce building. This museum offers a wonderful eclectic collection of artifacts, prints and other items… from ancient Indian pottery & arrow points to Civil War memorabilia.
5. Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage
- (843) 284-9227
- 10782 S. Jacob Smart Blvd. (U.S. 17)
The center preserves the Lowcountry`s history and culture through projects, events and exhibitions that inspire interest and evoke inquiry. The center serves as a vibrant center where a wide diversity of people gather to explore and learn about the region`s distinctive sense of place.
Option 2 – Historic Church Tour
1. Thomas Heyward Burial Site and Cemetery
- Junction of Highways 462 & 336
- open dawn to dusk
Thomas Heyward Jr, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born and laid to rest here. A half-mile avenue of oaks leads visitors to the family burial plot. The state of South Carolina erected a monument and bust of Heyward in 1920. He was a delegate in the Continental Congress. He was also a member of the SC Bar, a statesman, circuit court judge, and founder and first president of the Agricultural Society of SC. This location is a quiet and restful spot to picnic and roam.
2. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
- 2718 Bees Creek Rd.
This historic church was originally a chapel of ease before it became a separate congregation in 1835. The current structure was built in 1858, using the popular Carpenter Gothic Church architecture style. The wheel window, board & batten sheathing and buttressed bell tower are typical features of this style. The three-staged bell tower has an exterior entrance to a stairway that leads to what was once the slave gallery. It now houses the pipe organ.
3. Euhaw Baptist Church
- 2576 Bees Creek Rd.
The original Euhaw Baptist Church was built in 1860. Although it was burned in Sherman’s “March to the Sea”, the building was saved and restored. This Late-Victorian structure proudly displays a three-stepped bell tower and arched windows. Two round windows grace the front facade. Board and batten sheathing make up the first floor exterior, while fish scale shingles cover the second story. Worshippers now use an adjacent building for worship, saving the Victorian structure for special occasions.
5. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
- 7488 W Main St.
This church, organized on 1890, is the oldest in Ridgeland, with its origins in several area Methodist congregations before the Civil War. In 1891, they erected its first sanctuary, a frame building. In 1927 the Gillisonville Methodist Church, organized in 1886, merged with St. Paul’s. The sanctuary, across the street from the original church site, was built in 1949 and was renovated in 1990.
6. Gillisonville Baptist Church
- 10158 Grays Hwy.
This battle-scarred structure was erected around 1836 as a summer church for those moving away from the water to escape insects and fever. The Greek Revival church was used as a hospital during Sherman’s “March to the Sea”. Visible bullet holes can be found on the exterior walls. A Yankee Soldier etched on one of the communion plates which are still on display in the church. The Yankee soldiers burned everything else in the area. But the Confederate army surprised them, and they fled before burning the church. The church cemetery contains unmarked graves of men from both sides of the conflict.