The year was 1781 and a Patriot soldier by the name of James Spears was fleeing from Tory troops during the American Revolutionary War. According to legend, Spears lost his shoe while trying to escape and went back later to find it in a hole filled with water in Blenheim, South Carolina. He sampled the water and was surprised by the heavy mineral flavor. The springs soon became an attraction, drawing visitors who wanted to try it for themselves.
In the 1890s, Dr. Charles R. May was advising his patients to drink the water from the springs to remedy stomach ailments. After several patients complained about its heavy, iron-like taste, May added Jamaican ginger and sugar to make it more palpable. In 1903, May and a partner began bottling the sweetened, spiced mineral water. Built next to the spring, the Blenheim Bottling Company quickly gained fans with its ginger ale, which offered a unique spicy kick.
After the company changed ownership and the bottling facility burned down in 2008, production of Blenheim ginger ale has moved to an amusement park in Hamer, South Carolina.
Know Before You Go
To get to the spring, take 38E out of Bennettsville, South Carolina, into Blenheim. Turn left onto East High Street and follow the signs. The ruins of the original Blenheim Bottling plant are adjacent to the spring.