Lexington County Museum’s “Murders and Mysteries” tour a big hit

The Town of Lexington’s history goes back to the days before the Civil War. Saturday night, a crowd of several hundred gathered to explore some of the darkest parts of that history.

The Lexington County Museum’s “Murders and Mysteries” walking tour had the crowd assembled and waiting well before the 8 p.m. start time, filling the area near the Pitter Platter on Main Street.

“This is the third time we’ve done this, and it gets bigger and better every time, I think,” said Lexington County Museum Director J.R. Fennell.
Fennell divided the large crowd into two groups for the tour, and portable public address systems were used so all could hear the guides.

“If you’ve been here a while, we may talk about some of your ancestors, so please don’t get upset about that,” Fennell told the crowd, drawing laughter.
Both groups explored Main Street between Church Street and South Lake Drive as the museum guides pointed out buildings tied to moments of murder, mystery and other mayhem from Lexington’s past, including some of the few that survived the 1916 fire, the most recent of three large fires which devastated the town.

PHOTOS:  Lexington County Museum Director J.R. Fennell directing tour. (By Allen Wallace)

Fennell shared stories with his group including the saga of the 1903 shooting some still refer to as South Carolina’s “crime of the century.” Lexington was the scene of the trial which followed the stunning moment when Lt. Gov. James Tillman fatally shot Narciso Gonzales, editor of The State newspaper.

“It’s just all so fascinating,” said Jenny Weathers as she walked from one tour stop to the next. “I’ve lived here most of my life and I had no idea some of these things happened.”
Museum officials plan to host another “Murders and Mysteries” tour later this year. Information on that once a date is set, along with other events, is available at the museum website.