Button Button Who Has the Button?

Dad and I were returning home from our road trip to Maryland. We were approaching our last hour when I noticed trouble ahead—a bridge under repair and an accident. Rather than face sitting in traffic for who knows how long, we switched our setting on our GPS to “avoid highways” and exited the interstate before the trouble would begin.

As we meandered through Bishopville, admiring the beautiful farms and old houses, I noticed a small sign begging us to go down another road. I told Dad I wanted to make that right turn and do a little spontaneous sightseeing, but he was too tired by then. “This is what I have been talking about,” I explained. “My idea of a fun trip is having a start and a finish but also including random unplanned stops along the way.” Sad to say, he did not buy it.

What we did not do that day, but what I hope to do with my friends on another (with lunch and a glass of wine thrown in of course), is a trip to this very fun-sounding museum known as the “The South Carolina Button Museum.”

According to the sign along Route 1, this was not your run-of-the-mill button museum that we are all familiar with. No, girls. This was “the SC Button Museum”–one of our state museums!  Who knew?

Further research showed that this very fun place was born when its founder, a man named Dalton Stevens (currently 86 years old), began to have difficulty sleeping. Back in the days when there was not twenty-four hours of television, Mr. Stevens needed something to do to pass those late-night hours when insomnia got the best of him. His solution was to sew buttons. First it was a suit, which he filled with 16,333 buttons. This project took nearly three years to complete.

He moved onto cementing buttons onto an outhouse, car, hearse, piano, and two caskets. (One of which he plans to be buried in. He is my kind of guy!)

His project gained him fame, so much so that he has been on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, the Letterman Show, and several other local and national news shows as well as featured in Star Magazine.

He eventually opened his museum, and I am very fortunate that it is a mere forty-five minutes from our house. I will be sure to follow up and let you know about it after my visit. Are you all jealous?

By the way, I got the photo of the casket from a sight that I didn’t know about—Roadside America. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/about/   (I have heard of it but never explored it.)

Check it out. See what unusual sites exist in your area. I, for one, cannot wait to visit the monument to the father of gynecology right here in Columbia.

button casket

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