Anvil Rock (Winnsboro, SC)

When we visited Winnsboro, SC several years ago, one of our objectives was to find Anvil Rock. We did not succeed, but it wasn't for t...

When we visited Winnsboro, SC several years ago, one of our objectives was to find Anvil Rock. We did not succeed, but it wasn't for the lack of trying. We drove up and down Highway 34 multiple times, peering into the woods, looking for the giant rock. Nothing.

So what is Anvil Rock and why were we so eager to find it? It's not the South Carolina town with the same name. It's not the large rock close to the town of Anvil Rock that was the inspiration for the town's name. The Anvil Rock we were searching for was something a little more magical.

According to local legends, the Anvil Rock outside Winnsboro can hear you. Yes, it can hear you. Not only that, if you make too much noise, the rock spins three times on its pedestal. But despite our best efforts, we couldn't see a 10-foot-tall spinning rock through the trees, so we went home dejected and forgot about Anvil Rock until an anonymous source emailed us photos of Anvil Rock taken in 2013.

According to a historical map of Fairfield County, Anvil Rock is "10 feet high, length 12 feet, and 6 feet wide with an oval shaft about 3 feet by 6 feet of medium grained light gray granite." The Historical Marker Database states the land Anvil Rock can be found on was owned by Thomas Woodward in the 1700s, and he may have named his plantation after the rock. Woodward's home was burned by General Sherman.

But does the rock actually move? According to our source, it does not. Our source has seen the rock multiple times since the 1950s, and has even touched it, but did not experience any strange vibes or feelings from it. Growing up, our source's family would picnic at Anvil Rock. Back then, the rock was in plain view in a field. Trees have since grown up around the rock, making it nearly impossible to see from the highway.

Our source does not believe Anvil Rock is a natrual occurrence, but rather hand carved by man. If so, it would have had to be carved prior to the 1700s if the historical information is correct. The photos are currently in the hands of an archaelogist who believes the rock is a natural phenomenon.

What do you think? Is Anvil Rock a natural occurrence? Does it spin? Have you visited it?

If you have any photos or experiences with Anvil Rock, please share!


Winnsboro 2220989992207498403

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  1. Anvil Rock is a familiar site to natives near Winnsboro, the tales of which many have probably wondered about. The geological oddity has been known historically since the mid-1700s when Thomas Woodward the Regulator built his second home place near the Anvil Rock. During the winter months of 1780-81 British forces were encamped in Winnsboro with Lord Cornwallis, and, as troops made forays in the surrounding countryside for provisions, Woodward's Anvil Rock home of was often mentioned as a roadside marker.
    In the 1890s, a controversial congregation of people known as Latter Day Saints had come to Fairfield County and settled around Centerville near Ridgeway. An early Mormon leader Bishop David Branham was said to have preached from the top of the large rock to try to recruit members from the nearby communities.
    When I was a child, there was an old tale that the huge rock would turn around on its axis if it heard a rooster crow three times or heard the honk of an automobile horn. My father delighted in pulling off the road and laying hard on the horn to awaken the ancient spirits of the rock for us gullible children. When we were disappointed that the rock did not respond, Daddy always pointed out that perhaps this time the rock had just not heard the horn!
    This curious local tradition apparently has deep roots in the old world with the stories of turning stones in England and Ireland and the folks who came to settle our vast continent undoubtedly brought many such traditions with them to apply to the natural environment and phenomena.

    1. Anvil Rock may be seen now that the trees are starting to shed their leaves. It is on the opposite side of Highway #34 and the Norfolk-Southern railroad just a mile south of Bob Ford's airplane tree (which finally had to be taken down as the tree was dead!). If you pass the old Woodward family cemetery going south, you just passed the patch of woods where the rock stands waiting for the rooster call...or my daddy's old Plymouth station wagon horn.



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Strange Carolinas is the Travelogue Of The Offbeat, a wry look at the interesting, unique, and offbeat roadside attractions, people, music, art, food, and festivals in North and South Carolina.


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