Fountain Inn takes its name from the old inn with a fountain that attracted travelers seeking a rest from the tiresome stagecoach journeys between Greenville and the Low Country in South Carolina. It is a small town filled with historic landmarks, interesting anecdotes and historical figures.
History is cherished in Fountain Inn and to honor one of the town's most famous native sons, the Peg Leg Bates Foundation erected a statue of Clayton Peg Leg Bates in the downtown area. Bates, who lost his leg in a cotton gin accident at the age of 12, overcame his tragedy to become a famous dancer. His signature step was the Imitation American Jet Plane, in which he would jump five feet in the air and land on his peg leg, with his good leg sticking out straight behind him. During his career, Bates performed more than 20 different times on the Ed Sullivan television show - more than any other artist - and performed before the king and queen of England.
But Bates isn't the only artist with ties to Fountain Inn.
Commercial artist Art Frahm, who brought life to the old gentleman on the Quaker Oats oatmeal box and the Coppertone Suntan Lotion girl, lived in Fountain Inn more that 20 years. While in Fountain Inn, Frahm portrayed Southern architecture and lifestyles in his artwork.
In addition to Frahm, internationally-known humorist and syndicated writer Robert Quillen contributed to the early cultural life of Fountain Inn by starting the newspaper, The Fountain Inn Tribune, in 1911. Readers found the news of the day and comic characters such as Aunt Het (who is recognized each year with the Aunt Het festival) and Willie Willis among the pages. Although Fountain Inn City Hall stands on the grounds where Robert Quillen's house once stood, the Robert Quillen Library with its beautiful water fountain and the infamous Monument to Eve still remain on the premises.
Fountain Inn also boasts being home to two past Miss South Carolina's. In 1968, Peggy White Nickson took the crown. In 1998, Wendy Willis won the title. Candace Richards was crowned Miss South Carolina USA in 2001. With these rich facets of cultural history, it's easy to see why Fountain Inn today is known as, The place where the past and present coexist in harmony.