Historic Markers Across South Carolina

Balloon Landing, 1861

Marker ID: SCHM 44-16
Location: 657 Pea Ridge Hwy. (S.C. Sec. Rd. 44-13), Kelton, SC
County: Union
Coordinates: N 34° 50.025    W 081° 34.776
  34.83375    -81.5796
Style: Free Standing **


On April 20, 1861, only days after the Civil War began at Fort Sumter, scientist and aeronaut T.S.C. Lowe (1832-1913) landed the Enterprise, a large gas balloon, on a nearby farm. Lowe was on a test flight in preparation for a trans-Atlantic attempt. Southeasterly currents had carried him 800-900 miles by air from Cincinnati to Union District in less than nine hours.

Many locals assumed that Lowe was a Yankee spy, and it was difficult for him to convince them that he was not. He was taken to Union and spent the night there under guard. Taken to Columbia, he was allowed to return north by train after several gentlemen vouched for his reputation as a scientist. Lowe later founded and directed a balloon corps in the U.S. Army in Virginia 1861-1863.

Erected by the Union County Historical Society, 2009


Explore more:
Wikipedia - Thaddeus Sobieski Coulincourt Lowe