Surfside Beach will hold its first Living History Day on Nov. 5 as it commemorates the indigo plantation that used to sit on the same land as the town does today.
The Ark Plantation was in operation from the mid 1700s to around 1860, said Ben Burroughs, director of the Horry County Archives Center at Coastal Carolina University. The plantation was as large as 3194 acres in 1838, he said, and also produced turpentine and other products associated with the pine forests in the area.
“If you were a traveler coming from Boston, you would look at it and think ‘this is just a forest, and nobody’s doing anything here,’” Burroughs said. “It’s a misconception that people had that shaped the way people think about Horry County.”
The day will include reenactments of what life would have been like in the late 1700s and early 1800s, he said. Some of the actors will be descendants of the slaves who worked on the plantation when it was in operation. A peak of 63 slaves lived on the plantation in 1860, he said.
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“There’ss a big communtiy of people who live in the Burgess area today that can trace their ancestry back to the people back at the Ark Plantation,” Burroughs said.
Mary Beth Mabry, a former town council member on the board of the group hosting the event, said the event will have activities for children, like a butter-churning station.
“This is a really family-friendly event,” she said.
Mabry said that shuttles will take visitors from the town’s downtown to the event, which will be held between South Willow Drive and 3rd Avenue South. She also said the Surfside Beach historical society is hoping to make the event an annual one.
Overall, the event is meant to make Surfside Beach, and its history, stand out, Burroughs said.
“Most people come here [and] they have no idea that anything was ever there until they built those hotels,” Burroughs said. “[It will] give the area a sense of place and set it aside from just every other place.”