Boykin is a small community nine miles south of Camden on SC 261. Founded by the arrival of the Boykin family in 1750, Boykin soon had a mill pond powering a grist mill. Milling brought activity and several other buildings were erected, including a church, general store, post office, tavern, and cotton gin.
Today, Boykin is home to the Broom Place, the Boykin Company Grille, and the Mill Pond Steakhouse. Grits milled at the Boykin Mill can be purchased at the Boykin Company Store.
Broom Place, pictured below, is located within a restored settler’s residence dating to the 1740s and is used to house the studio and storefront of Susan Simpson. Susan is an artist who creates traditional straw brooms, with a colorful twist, for customers far and wide.
Susan went from secretary to broom maker all on a whim after buying machinery, some 170 years old, from a woman in the local area. She is completely self-taught and is eager to share her techniques and passion to anyone who stops in. Because of this, business has boomed, so much so that she is no longer taking any new orders at the time due to a backlog of brooms she still has to create.
In 2017, the store was closed for an extended period of time while Susan underwent knee replacement surgery. Because of the closing, business backed up extensively. When photographer Brandon Coffey visited her studio, Susan remarked: “I’m not sure how I am going to continue with the brooms since it requires standing for long periods of time and kneeling to get excess materials off of the floor.” Even though she isn’t taking orders at the moment, she gladly accepts curious onlookers who want to sit and talk for a while, she enjoys sharing her process.
The Boykin Spaniel, South Carolina’s state dog, is named after L.W. Boykin, a resident of Boykin and first breeder of this hunting dog. The breed was developed by hunters needing a compact dog to accompany them on boat trips on the nearby Wateree River and its associated swamps.
Just a short distance, down the winding road leaving Boykin, is the second oldest remaining building in the Boykin Mill Complex. Towering over the road, this Greek Revival church, known as Swift Creek Baptist, was built in 1827. The church is located on the National Register of Historic Places.