100 National Park Road
Congaree National Park
The Santee River Cypress Logging Company harvested timber from land belonging to Francis Beidler from 1881 until about 1914, when Beidler realized the difficulty and unprofitability of the operation and he placed his land under “timber reserve status.” The area remained in private hands within the Beidler family until the 1950s when Harry R.E. Hampton, a member of the Cedar Creek Hunt Club and editor of The State, advocated for the preservation of the Congaree Swamp. Soaring timber prices in the 1960s prompted Hampton and others’ conservation advocacy efforts to ensure the site’s future. Ultimately, their leadership led to the 22,200-acre site being designated a National Monument by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976. President George W. Bush designated Congaree a National Park in 2003 following research that demonstrated the area was the largest intact old-growth, bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States and that it retained many agricultural remnants from earlier settlers such as cattle mounds, dikes and bridges.
Click the link below to see the transcript of President Gerald R. Ford’s Speech designating the park a National Monument. http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/library/document/0122/1253087.pdf