backyard1 blades-thumb2 blades3 blades4 flowers5 footer6 fort_selden_wagon7 masthead8 masthead19
slider by v9.0

. icon icon icon iconWe'd love for you to share our stories.

American Roads and Global Highways has so many great articles you may want to search it for your favorite places or new exciting destinations.
search engine by freefind


american music bookAmerican Music: Born in the USA
My newest book out Feb. 2024.
Follow the birth of American music from the mountains of Appalachia and the cotton fields of the South.  On to jazz, the blues, R&B, and rock and roll.

 Cover of Tenant from Hell
The Tenant from Hell
Book 1 in the Realtor Mystery Series
Casey Clark, property manager, is just trying to evict a bad tenant. Instead she is over her head in murder and mayhem

 Cover of Double Duplicity
Double Duplicity
Book 2 in the Realtor Mystery Series
Trouble  follows Casey like a raging fire.

cover of Missing
Missing-- Gone but not Forgotten

Based on the unsolved abduction of a little girl in a rural  Florida Community.

coverof Under a Bloody Flag

Under a Bloody Flag

Kansas and Missouri were a "no man's land" in the days before the War between the States.

cover of under a black flag

Under a Black Flag
Kansas and Missouri heated to the boiling point during the War between the States. 

cover of For want of a ship
For Want of a Ship
John Roy came to New Orleans looking  for peace instead he found war.

cover of last step
Last Step
Last Step will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you gasping in surprise at the ending

cover of kudzu
Kudzu shows you a different part of the South, past and present. Mystery with a touch of romance and a smidgen of paranormal.

cover of Wild about florida south
Wild about Florida: South FL
The Everglades swarm with wildlife from birds,  to mammals, to reptiles.

cover of Wild about florida central
Wild about Florida: Central FL
Central Florida has the ocean and gulf beaches much like other parts of Florida but in many other ways it is distinct and unique. 

cover of Wild about florida north
Wild About Florida: North FL
Come explore caves, hills, whitewater falls and lots of other fun things you didn't expect to find in Florida.

cover of georgia's ghostly getaways
Georgia's Ghostly Getaways 

Who is not fascinated by mysterious things that go bump in the night? Are there some places where departed souls still linger?

cover of hosts
Hosts With Ghosts
The South has long been famous for its Southern Hospitality. Hotels throughout Dixie vie with one another to offer their guests more service and more amenities. Many have guests that never depart.

cover of finding florida's phantoms
Finding Florida's Phantoms
Florida! The land of sunshine and wide-open beaches. But even the Sunshine State has its dark secrets. Places where centuries old spirits remain tied to earth. Beneath the facade of fun and make believe lurks the real Florida.

cover of color st augustine coloring book
Color Saint Augustine
This is a way to virtually visit Saint Augustine. It's a coloring book for grown ups (but kids will love it too.)  with an actual photo of the attractions in Saint Augustine. The opposite page is the same photo converted into a black and white line image for you to to color. It's 64 pages with 30 photos and 30 pages for you to color. On each photo and each color page there is a little about the story of the image . 

History Museums in Greenville, South Carolina

Story and photos by Tom Straka


Some cities are full of museums. For a history buff like me, it is fortunate cities often put a priority on preserving local history, making history museums fairly common. Greenville, South Carolina has an unusual assortment of museums, including two military history museums, a creative arts center, museum of art, children’s museum, music museum, and even a Shoeless Joe Jackson museum and baseball library. One of the art museum collections in the city is said to be the second largest collection of religious art in the world (second to the Vatican). Most of these museums are walking distance from one another, so Greenville offers a great opportunity for museum-lovers. This museum-lover will report on two first-rate history museums, about a mile apart, in downtown Greenville. One of the museums focuses on regional history. The other, probably the more interesting, focuses on a politically incorrect history topic. Combined they make wonderful way to spend the better part of a day immersed in history.

The Upcountry History Museum is the regional history one. First, what is the Upcountry? A more modern term for it is the Upstate of South Carolina. Historically, South Carolina was broken into the Lowcountry (coastal and coastal plain counties) and the Upcountry (the counties, higher up, above the coastal plain). Prior to the Revolutionary War, it was called the Backcountry and later became the Upcountry and even later the Piedmont. It is the northwestern part of the State, the part that abuts the Blue Ridge down to above Columbia in the center of the State. The museum covers the pioneer development of the region, its politics, agrarian roots, industrial development (mainly textiles), wartime development, and even Shoeless Joe Jackson.

The Museum and Library of Confederate History is the politically incorrect one. The 16th Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers, Museum of Confederate History has a mission “to protect, preserve and defend the memory, history and heritage of the two hundred fifty thousand (250,000) gallant Confederate soldiers who gave their lives during the War Between the States,” by providing a “true and accurate historical perspective of the War period in an educational manner and to preserve the cultural heritage and artifacts of the South.” Thus, the museum may have somewhat slanted perspective of Confederate History, but nonetheless, a super interesting one.  



The museum begins with the Upcountry as frontier inhabited by the Cherokee Indians. This is Richard Pearis, a defiant frontiersman and opportunistic entrepreneur. He was a trader from Virginia who developed a relationship with the Cherokees, allowing him to develop a grist mill and trading post in the area that would become Greenville.  

artifacts at museum

As you’d expect, there are many artifacts scattered around the frontier section of the museum. Many are Native American and many are natural history specimens.

dueling pistols in case

A pair of dueling pistols and a case. Near the pistols is a copy of “The Code of Honor” for southern gentlemen. The weapons used by dueling southerners were described as: “The arms used should be smoothbore pistols, not exceeding nine inches in length.” Dueling occurred in South Carolina from colonial times until outlawed in 1880.

farm wagon with women sitting on bench in fornt and man loading in back of wagon

The early Upcountry economy was based on small farms.  A wide variety of fruits and vegetables were produced and transported them to market in rugged wagons. Later cotton would be a major crop. With the luck of good weather and hard work, Upcountry soil would produce ample crops of corn, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, beans, peas, barley, apples, peaches, or pears. The crops fed the farm family and provided income.

Vardry McBee founder of greenville sitting in front of store

“Vardry McBee” sitting in front of a storefront. He was considered the father of Greenville. He moved to Greenville in 1836 after expanding his business enterprises into the Greenville area two decades earlier. He saw the potential of Greenville’s location with many crossroads and a river. Greenville grew rich as McBee grew rich from his various enterprises (a sawmill, ironworks, brickyard, stone quarry, flour mill, textile mill, general store, and railroad).     

confederate flag

One of only two know surviving flags from the 4th South Carolina Regiment. The museum covers the Civil War period. Of course, the Confederate History Museum down the street covers that time period in much greater detail.

gas can guitar

This is “Maggie Mae,” Mac Arnold’s two-string gas can guitar. Not something you ever expect to see in a museum. Mac Arnold is best known for his legendary blues music. He is also known for making music from reconditioned gasoline cans. His trademark red gas can guitar, named “Maggie Mae,” is in the display case.

red shirt

Anyone who knows anything about South Carolina history will know what this red shirt represents.  The Red Shirts was a paramilitary group organized with the objective of achieving white Democratic control of political power after Reconstruction in the South in the 1870s.  They used intimidation and violence to achieve their objectives. 

textil mill machine and worker

The Upcountry had a dominant industry in the early twentieth century and Greenville was noted as the “Textile Capital of the World.” Greenville was so well known for the textile industry that people from all over the world came to Greenville to study the industry.  

 wwii uniform

Military history is a large part of the museum, including the Army Air Corps base near Greenville during World War II. Much of the military history is regional, emphasizing the role of the Upcountry in the war effort.

handmade quilt

The museum has lots of nooks and crannies with unexpected history. The quilt here is part of the “We Didn’t Wait for Freedom” collection, Civil War narrative quilts by Vera Hall.

statue of nathanuel green

Statue of General Nathanel Greene at the front of the museum (holding a Christmas wreath during the holidays). General Greene was active in the Southern campaign during the Revolutionary War and was credited with turning the tide of battle to the Patriots. Some of those battles were in the Upcountry. Greenville was named for him.


This museum is in a small building, but has an immense inventory of historical items. The Upcountry History Museum is large, a regular sized museum, with its materials arranged loosely. The Confederate Museum is just the opposite, with every space utilized for some sort of display. The displays lean towards firearms, with some very old specimens. Political documents are numerous and, as you’d expect, are slanted towards a Confederate view of the War Between the States. The curators, almost as interesting as the museum itself, have that same slant. Stumbling into an unusual museum is always a treat and this is definitely one of those. The tone of the museum is somewhat solemn; this is a serious history museum, with some political thought thrown in. The gift shop has any sort of Confederate bumper sticker or souvenir you might think of. The size of the building is misleading; give yourself plenty of time for a thorough review of the gems in this museum.

confederate museum

The exterior of the museum, a cannon and Confederate flags, clearly indicating what to expect.    

interior of museum 

One of three views of a museum section. All seem to center on weapons, uniforms, portraits, and documents. Note the Ellsworth gun on a carriage.

interior of museum

One of three view of a museum section. All seem to center on weapons, uniforms, portraits, and documents.  

interior of museum

One of three view of a museum section. All seem to center on weapons, uniforms, portraits, and documents.

interior of museum

Not all the rooms were war related. More general historical items are in various parts of the museum.   

interior of museum

Each room is full of display cases with fascinating artifacts, like medical instruments used during the War. 

interior of museum

Some sections of the museum center on currency, documents, and books.

gift shop in museum

The museum gift shop contains books, CDs, postcards, flags, toys, and “memorabilia from the War for Southern Independence.”


Author/Photographer. Tom Straka is an emeritus professor of forestry at Clemson University. He has an interest in history, forestry and natural resources, natural history, and the American West.