Care to stroll through the past?
Historic Brattonsville – roughly an hour southwest of Charlotte – is a 778-acre site with more than two dozen historic buildings scattered around an old family plantation. The property includes the original log home of William and Martha Bratton, the classic pre-Civil War Southern plantation house of John and Harriet Bratton and numerous outbuildings. The site has a park-like feel, and walks around the property are self-guided. Costumed interpreters can often be found engaging visitors with discussions about food preparation and diets, or with demonstrations of daily chores and recreational activities.
Homes that are open to visit were built in several different time periods, making it easy to see how standards of living changed and improved over time for people in the Piedmont. Follow the trail map: You’ll arrive first at a replica log cabin, representative of one the earliest settlers to the region would have constructed. Crude and quickly-built structures of this sort, with a dirt floor and only one room, provided basic shelter and met the immediate needs of new arrivals to the backcountry in the mid- to late 1700s.
A two-story, hewn-log structure built around 1820 and moved here from McConnells, S.C., is considerably larger and shows many refinements.
The John Bratton plantation house, built in 1823, is a stately, federal-style home that reflects the wealth and stature of its owner.
Brattonsville hosts living history weekends throughout the year. Two major events are the anniversary of the Battle of Huck’s Defeat, held July 11-12 and featuring a reenactment of the Revolutionary War engagement, and “By the Sweat of Our Brows,” an examination on Sept. 12 of experiences of the plantation’s black population.
Any time of year, explore the 8.5-mile network of trails here – on foot or on bicycle. Various areas show the forests, grasslands and wetlands of the Piedmont. Got a horse? The third Saturday of each month, bikes are banned on the trail and horseback riding is allowed.
Historic Brattonsville, owned by York County, is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: $6; $5 for 60 and older; $3 for ages 4-17. Details: www.chmuseums.org/Brattonsville.