As governor of South Carolina, "Fritz" Hollings was a progressive leader who altered both the face of South Carolina and the fabric of the office itself. During his term, he made constant efforts to improve the state's educational system at all levels, to develop industry, and to create jobs.
When Hollings brought his wife and three, soon to be four, children to the Mansion, the home was very different than what we see today. He noted when he arrived, “You looked out on the big expanse that's the lawn now. It was a corn field. They had the help sleeping up above the garage. . . . I got Clemson to dirt-scrape the whole red clay clean of the corn and weeds and trash,” and had the yard landscaped and even added a “little golf hole,” where he’d often strike balls in the early morning. To accommodate his young family, Hollings also had a small family dining room added to the Mansion in addition to a guest wing.
The prison trustees long employed at the Mansion are a feature in one of Hollings’ most dramatic recollections. He received an urgent call one day that he was needed at the Mansion, where a Civil Rights demonstration was taking place. By the time he arrived, all was quiet; the demonstrators had fled after being threatened by trustees working on the grounds,“they had these machetes to cut grass. So, they just walked on the inside of the fence, the demonstrators were on the outside and they were told in very certain terms, ‘You so-and-so.’ I don't want to use the terms they called them. But these black prisoner trustees, said, ‘You come back around here, I'm already in here for killing one. . . .’ My prisoners had cleaned them out. I had a loyal bunch of prisoners working there.”
Visit SCPC to learn more about Governor Hollings and his collection.