Hilton Head Historic Sites

History of the Island and Historic Sites

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Hilton Head Island was first "discovered" in the early 1500s by the Spanish on their way to Florida but it didn't get its "European" name until about 140 years later (in recognition of Captain William Hilton of England) and it was not settled until the late 1600s-early 1700s. This island was home to earlier inhabitants, however, as far back as 8,000 BC; proof lies in remnants of shell rings found on land within some of Hilton Head's plantation communities.

History buffs can visit the Shell Ring sites dating from the Archaic Period's Woodland Indians, for example. Hilton Head Island was named much later in 1663 and soon after, the first colonial settlers established dwellings. This Island was a battleground during the Revolutionary War and sided with the Colonists while neighbor Daufuskie Island sided with the Tories, but most of our historic sites are from the Civil War. The Gullah culture, developed from traditions shared by African slaves, still endures. Island natives proudly share this history with tourists daily, through Heritage Tours.

Hilton Head Island's history is littered with battles of all sorts. It has survived the American Revolution, slavery, the Civil War, the Depression, and the boll weevil. In the aftermath of so many conflicts, Hilton Head's rich and unique culture continues to prove itself among the top island destinations as a formidable, time-weathered staple in the vacation industry. Come see for yourself why this little luxury island stands the test of time where others have fallen aside.

The first vacation cottages were built along Folly Field Beach in 1955, just before a man named Charles Fraser started development of Hilton Head Island's first modern plantation community, Sea Pines Resort. Since 1956, this island has welcomed 10 additional plantation communities, hundreds of shops and restaurants, and thousands of visitors each year.

Coastal Discovery Museum


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70 Honey Horn Plantation Rd
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
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843-689-6767
http://www.coastaldiscovery.org

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Gullah Heritage Trail Tours


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70 Honey Horn Drive
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
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843-681-7066

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