The Lyceum in historic Cheraw was built around 1820 as a Court of Equity. When town hall was built in 1858, the court moved there and the small Greek Revival building became a library known as the Lyceum. During the Civil War, Confederate troops used the Lyceum as a telegraph office from 1863 until 1865 as well as a quartermaster headquarters. Once the war ended, the building once again became a library until books were transferred to the Matheson House in 1961. Today the Lyceum is a museum.
Many thanks to Cheraw’s Director of Tourism and Community Development, David Sides, for the above photo and information.
The Lyceum is listed in the National Register as part of the Cheraw Historic District:
Around 1736 Welsh Baptists came to South Carolina and settled in the Pee Dee region. In 1766 Eli Kershaw, who had been given a grant of land along the Pee Dee River, laid out the town of Cheraw. It was incorporated in 1820. Located at a key navigational point, Cheraw began to develop as a commercial center of interior South Carolina; however, the Civil War and Reconstruction temporarily halted this progress. For a time development was impeded and rebuilding was delayed. Although the town eventually prospered, much of its physical character remained unaltered. The town of Cheraw also played an important role in South Carolina military history.
During both the American Revolution and the Civil War, British and Union troops used St. David’s Episcopal Church as a hospital. The meeting house style church still stands today. Additionally in 1825, Revolutionary War figure Marquis de Lafayette stayed in Cheraw during his tour of the United States. Located within the district are a variety of architectural styles that include the early frame homes of the 1800s (often called upcountry farmhouses, or essentially I-House in type), antebellum structures with Classical Revival details and Greek Revival porticos, and Victorian houses from the turn of the century. The district also includes several churches, a cemetery, and the towns’ original boundary markers dating from 1766.