South Carolina Department of Archives and History
National Register Properties in South Carolina

Camp Welfare, Fairfield County (S.C. Sec. Rd. 234, Mitford vicinity)
S1081772000601 S1081772000602 S1081772000603 S1081772000604 S1081772000605
Zion Church Arbor "Tents" "Tents" "Tents"

Camp Welfare is significant as an excellent example of a black religious campground. Camp Welfare was founded shortly after the Civil War by the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The trustees of Camp Welfare acquired the present property, which had been their meeting place since at least 1876, from L.G.H. McMaster in 1878. The meeting was held annually during the last week in August, traditionally “lay-by” time, the time between final cultivation of cotton and corn crops and harvest time. The camp is a collection of approximately 100 one-story, frame, weatherboarded cabins called tents. The gable-roofed tents, probably constructed around the turn of the century, have one room and a center front entrance sheltered by a shed-roofed porch. Some of the tents have been altered with the addition of corrugated metal or plywood siding, and a few of the more modern ones are constructed of concrete block. The tents were designed for sleeping only, cooking was done outdoors and there were community bath houses. Many of the families who attended the camp continued to attend through several generations, passing their tents down through the family. The cabins are arranged in a double U shape. The focal point of the camp is the arbor. Originally a true bush arbor, the arbor is now a rough, gable roofed wooden shelter with wooden benches. Also located at the camp is Zion Church. Built ca. 1930 the church is a frame building with a gable roof surmounted by a belfry. Listed in the National Register December 6, 1984.

View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property. In addition, the Historic Resources of Fairfield County includes historical background information for this and other related National Register properties.

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