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National Park Mystery Photo 51 Revealed: A Once-Hidden Treasure

The Logan Log House. Bob Janiskee photo.

Mystery Photo 51 shows the historic Logan Log House (interpreted as the "Black Swan Tavern") in South Carolina’s Ninety Six National Historic Site. Attached to the chimney is a beehive oven that was used for baking.

Located about 60 miles south of Greenville, South Carolina, Ninety Six National Historic Site preserves the original site of a small town established in the early 1700s as a frontier trade and communications hub in the South Carolina upcountry region. Also preserved in the 1,022-acre park are a sunken road and the remains of a Loyalist-garrisoned earthen fort (the Star Fort) that withstood a vigorous siege by General Nathaniel Greene’s Patriot forces during May 22 - June 18, 1781.

By the time the park was established in 1976, hardly anything remained of the original settlement (“Old Ninety Six”) and the colonial plantation complex and related Colonial era structures that once existed within the park’s boundaries. The remains of the eight-sided Star Fort, the siege trenches, and some other features associated with the 1781 battle were stabilized and made accessible to visitors. To provide visitors with a better understanding of the site’s historical appearance, functions and importance, some Colonial era buildings, a livestock pen, and related cultural features were reconstructed or moved to the site.

The Logan Log House featured in this mystery photo puzzler is situated near the park’s visitor center. Although it was never part of the Old Ninety Six community, the building is representative of frontier era construction.

There is an interesting story behind the Logan Log House. Andrew Logan constructed this two-story log building in the late 1700s as the first house in the nearby town of Greenwood. The well-preserved log structure was eventually discovered within the core of an old house when siding was removed. The building was moved to its present location in 1968, eight years before the park was established, and cared for by the Star Fort Commission until handed off to the Park Service. Dubbed the "Black Swan Tavern" for interpretive purposes, the Logan Log House is only open on special occasions and during living history events.

Congratulations to the Traveler readers who ID-ed the photo: Rangertoo, viewmtn, Ranger Dave, richp39, and RangerLady. All are eligible for our monthly prize drawing and a chance to win a copy of David and Kay Scott's The Complete Guide To The National Park Lodges, 7th Edition..

Postscript: Just how Ninety Six acquired its odd name, which dates at least as far back as 1730, remains a head scratcher. Conventional wisdom has it that the name originated from the mistaken belief that the community was situated 96 miles from the lower Cherokee Indian town of Keowee near modern day Clemson, South Carolina (this distance is actually less than 80 miles). David P. George, Jr., hypothesized that the name could refer to southerly flowing streams -- nine tributaries of Marion and Henley Creeks and six tributaries of Thompsons Creek – in an area where trunk streams are generally fed by northerly or easterly flowing tributaries. There are other versions of the etymology, including romanticized ones based in Indian legends. Take your pick.


Heh, I learned something new. I'm planning a trip to Greenville this summer so I'll have to check this out. I knew this structure resembled those I've seen in the Southern Appalachians, but the chimney didn't look quite right to me. Great quiz!

Don't forget Cowpens National Battlefield, volknitter.

Built by my 6th great grandfather.

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