Reenactors make ‘movie’ about Fountain Inn’s history

Grant from South Carolina Humanities helps to fund $11K video project
Dozens of actors help to bring Fountain Inn's history to life
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 9:22 PM EDT
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FOUNTAIN INN, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The Fountain Inn Museum’s deftly arranged displays of relics and art already provide glimpses into the community’s past, but the museum board wanted to highlight key moments of history with help from the living.

Dozens of professional and amateur actors gathered along Durbin Creek by the old Jones Mill, each dressed as if they were plucked from a specific moment within the past three centuries.

“We’re filming a movie that we believe will tell the story of Fountain Inn’s history,” Peggy Nickson, president of the museum board, told FOX Carolina News. “We’re going to use this for educational purposes. The film will be taken into schools and shown constantly at the Fountain Inn Museum.”

A matching grant from South Carolina Humanities has helped to fund the $11,000 project. Much research went into making sure the actors’ costumes accurately portrayed the time period, and extensive legwork went into procuring live animals for the production.

“We want to make it as authentic as possible,” Ron Urso, vice-president of the museum board, told FOX Carolina. “We want to capture history starting off with the Cherokee and go through the years up to the present time.”

Fountain Inn’s history is shown through a series of vignettes filmed at the same spot along the creek. The actors did not have to memorize any lines but instead used gestures and props to highlight their moment in history. The “silent movie” will be used to supplement other history lessons being taught at school.

The first vignette features an actual member of the Southeast Cherokee Nation, whose ancestors were the first inhabitants of the area. The subsequent vignettes introduce European settlers who intermarried with the Cherokee and also created communities with fellow immigrants. The roles of slaves and soldiers from multiple wars are also represented.

“We know that all of the vignettes are not all happy but they are historically accurate and that is our goal,” Nickson said.

Changes during Reconstruction, new jobs created by Woodside Mills and the growing Latino population are featured in the production. The final vignette shows a land surveyor to represent proposed changes to Jones Mill, which includes building a replica of the grist mill and creating a public park.

Urso estimates that the final cut of the movie to be no longer than 15 minutes in length.

“That way you don’t get anybody falling asleep,” he said.