Andrew Jackson State Park.
Andrew Jackson's South Carolina birthplace monument: "I was born in South Carolina."

President Jackson Born Here, Maybe

Field review by the editors.

Lancaster, South Carolina

Future President Andrew Jackson was born March 15, 1767, on the border between North and South Carolina. The two states seemed content to live-and-let live with it for nearly 150 years -- until North Carolina put up a monument on what it said was the birth spot. South Carolina, which had no other birthplace Presidents (North Carolina had two), responded with a flurry of its own he-was-born-over-here tributes: a monument, a fancy bronze statue, a mini-museum, and an Andrew Jackson birthplace state park.

Andrew Jackson State Park.
Replica humble pioneer bed of a future President.

The casual visitor to this region would never guess that Jackson could've been born anywhere other than South Carolina, although history suggests otherwise. As Bill Howie, a North Carolina Jackson historian, admitted of South Carolina, "They got the jump on us."

The monument (and a historical marker by the park entrance) repeatedly assert that Jackson was born in South Carolina, even quoting Jackson himself on the subject (North Carolina contends that Jackson made that claim for political reasons). Nearby, the "Boy of the Waxhaws" sculpture has a youthful bronze Jackson sitting on a tired farm horse; it stands ten feet high and weighs nearly 14 tons. It was paid for by the nickels and dimes of South Carolina schoolchildren, to honor "the only South Carolinian to become President," according to its accompanying sign. The statue was dedicated on Jackson's 200th birthday.

Andrew Jackson Statue.
Teen Andy was the last sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was 91 at its dedication.

Inside the small museum, visitors can see a bed similar to the one that Jackson shared with his poor pioneer family in the "Living With Relatives" exhibit, and the sword hilt stolen from the Andrew Jackson statue in New Orleans in the 1950s. There's an exhibit about Jackson's battle-scarred body, and an impressive hunk of his actual hair. What you won't find is any suggestion that he could have been born anywhere other than South Carolina.

There's also no hint of the modern-day reexamination of Jackson's legacy, the suggestion that he may have been a bad guy. South Carolina's birthplace monument praises him as, "Brave, Truculent, Noble, Able, Honest." The sign at the Jackson statue calls him "champion of the common man" and "a larger-than-life hero." South Carolina didn't go to all this trouble for a flawed President; Andrew Jackson will always be praiseworthy here.

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Also see: North Carolina Birthplace | Museum of the Waxhaws

President Jackson Born Here, Maybe

Andrew Jackson State Park

Address:
196 Andrew Jackson Park Rd, Lancaster, SC
Directions:
Andrew Jackson State Park. On the east side of US Hwy 521, nine miles north of Lancaster. The official brown entrance sign comes up quick; if you drive too fast you'll miss it.
Hours:
Park daily 9-9. Museum open Sa-Su (Call to verify)
Phone:
803-285-3344
Admission:
Park $2 (suggested). Museum is free.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

President Jackson Born Here, MaybePresident Jackson Born Here, Maybe, Waxhaw, NC - 2 mi.
Statue of Andrew Jackson's MomStatue of Andrew Jackson's Mom, Lancaster, SC - 4 mi.
Museum of the Waxhaws and Andrew JacksonMuseum of the Waxhaws and Andrew Jackson, Waxhaw, NC - 7 mi.
In the region:
Unloved MLK Statue, Charlotte, NC - 26 mi.

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August 21, 2017

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