The Cherokee Historical and Preservation Society, Inc. was formed in 1969 by a group of citizens concerned about the rapid loss of Cherokee County's historical heritage to development and progress.
The group now consists of over two-hundred members and has taken great strides to educate the public about the significance of the county's numerous historical sites.
The Society is pleased to announce the opening of the Cherokee County History and Arts Museum at 301 College Drive in Gaffney, South Carolina on May 17, 2008. The artifact-based, interactive facility adds a new dimension to the area's already rich culture.
In addition to the History & Arts Museum, CHAPS, Inc., owns Possum Trot School, located at Exit 90 on I-85, the Vinson-Blanton Burying Ground, and Fort Thicketty, a pre-Revolutionary War structure which is currently undergoing restoration.
CHAPS is often involved in the upkeep of the Furnace Mill historic site, a property owned by Cherokee County, by assisting volunteers in periodic cleanups. Located at Furnace Mountain and once known as Nesbitt's Furnace, this Revolutionary War ironworks has been damaged extensively by vandals. While the mill was destroyed by fire, the waterwheel remains. The mill was still in use during the 1960s.
Built in 1869 as the first African American church in the area, Mulberry Chapel is constructed of clapboard over a log frame. The building has not been used for regular services since the 1940s. CHAPS, Inc., is currently in negotiations to assist in the stabilization of the structure.
The CHAPS board recently adopted a three year strategic plan to guide the organization over the coming years. View the entire plan here:
CHAPS Strategic Plan
In 1971, the S.C. Appalachian Council of Governments conducted a study into the region's historical sites. Out of 43 sites identified in Cherokee County, only 27 remain.
Demolition is forever! Cherokee County is quickly loosing its identity to suburban sprawl. When historic sites are destroyed, they cannot be replaced and future generations lose the opportunity to learn about our cultural heritage. Without these sites, there is no connection to the past and no pride in one's present. Help us in preserving the cultural heritage of Cherokee County. Preservation keeps materials alive, whole, and available for use so that they can be authoritatively used as long as possible to document our heritage and our society, and to guide others who will come in the future. As Philip Ward poetically states,
"Our heritage is all that we know of ourselves; what we preserve of it, our only record. That record is our beacon in the darkness of time; the light that guides our steps."