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Statewide Survey of Historic Properties

The records of the South Carolina Statewide Survey of Historic Properties include information on over 77,000 historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and landscapes. The records include documentation on properties in every county within the state. Relatively few properties have been recorded in some counties, while thousands have been recorded in others. Most records of the South Carolina Statewide Survey of Historic Properties are available for public use. For information about the use of these records see the Consultant's Guide to Survey and National Register Files (PDF). The location of sensitive or endangered sites, however, may be restricted. 

A historic resources survey is the process of systematically identifying historic properties within the boundaries of a specific geographical area, documenting their location and physical characteristics, and evaluating their significance within an appropriate historical context. 

Information produced through historic resource surveys serves many purposes. The SHPO uses survey information to identify properties eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. City, county, and regional planners use survey information to develop preservation management plans and in preparing comprehensive community plans. Economic development programs rely on survey information to attract investors to communities and to promote heritage tourism. Survey information provides educators, civic organizations, and interested citizens with a basis for learning about the history of their community and making decisions about the care of  historic properties.

In some cases, survey documentation may be the only record of buildings and structures that have been destroyed since they were surveyed. As such, it provides an important glimpse into the lives of past generations.

The Survey Process: A Continuing Need

The Statewide Survey is an ongoing process. Many architecturally and historically significant resources have yet to be documented, and comprehensive surveys have not been conducted in many parts of the state. Also as time passes, some properties achieve significance and others are altered or destroyed. These changes must be recorded so that the survey records are  accurate and up-to-date.

Survey Finding Aid

A finding aid index to the survey records with brief information about each survey is listed below by county in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. Survey records are available by request through the Research Room at the SC Archives and History Center. See also Historic Contexts/Survey Reports for select countywide, municipal, and thematic survey reports.

NOTE: The records of the statewide archaeological survey are maintained by the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA). In 1968, the state legislature charged the Institute with creating and maintaining the Statewide Archaeological Site Inventory. Today the inventory includes data on more than 20,000 archaeological sites. Information about using the archaeological site files is available on the SCIAA website.

            Select a County to view the finding aid index:

Abbeville Aiken  Allendale AndersonBamberg
BarnwellBeaufortBerkeley Calhoun Charleston
Cherokee    ChesterChesterfield  Clarendon  Colleton 
DarlingtonDillon    Dorchester EdgefieldFairfield
Two additional category finding aid indexes are available:
Regional Surveys and Thematic Surveys.

An HABS/HAER (Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record) and Other Intensive Property Documentation finding aid index is also available online.