Hear this Here: EXIT 5 Onramp I-95n Hardeeville, to Switzerland, South Carolina
Welcome to Switzerland, South Carolina, capital of the so-called “Low Country”, full of bogs and swamps, named for a land of Alpine snow clad peaks and clearly — CLEARLY- a place of weird inversions.
About being named for frigid Switzerland; the first Europeans in this region were surprisingly folks for whom high country had been the norm. They were Swiss Protestants. Most Swiss came here by the first half of the 1700’s seeking religious liberties not allowed at home where Catholics persecuted the Protestant minority.
Then in the last century, the area became renowned for its timber operations.
Unique to the area is the swamp logging procedure, which makes operations far more interesting than standard logging.
Across the low country of South Carolina, pine and cypress were harvested into the late 1800’s. Most logs were lashed together with metal "spike dogs" and floated downstream to mills. Inevitably, many of the timbers broke loose and tumbled to river bottoms.
You are crossing numerous so called "black water" rivers — the color of black tea because of tannins released by rotting vegetation. Tannins also perfectly preserve the wood. The logs spend generations in waters depleted of oxygen that would normally cause decay. Instead it preserves and beautifies mature wood. The century old sunken black stained product is valuable to make nuanced exposed wood furniture such as dining tables, saloon bars, even chess tables.
Salvaged from the alligator and snake infested swamps, that old wood becomes very valuable lumber. Maybe that is where the term “sink wood” comes from.
So surprisingly, these Carolina Lowlands are renown for Swiss lumber jacks and filled with even more weird inversions. To harvest tall timber here, lumberjacks toss the chain saw and take off their clothes. Instead they don scuba gear and dig in the mud. The men of Switzerland, South Carolina dive for dollars! Now, what could be more inverted than that?
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