Heritage USA – Fort Mill, South Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Heritage USA

A Christian-themed amusement park and complex rocked by scandals.  

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Heritage USA was a Christian-themed amusement park opened in 1978 by televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. At its peak, it was the third-largest park in the USA behind Disney World and Disney Land, with almost 6 million visitors annually.

In the midst of massive expansion in the late 1980s, Heritage USA was rocked by two debilitating scandals. The organization had its tax-exempt status removed after Jim Bakker was indicted on various federal fraud charges. He would later be accused of sexual improprieties with an encounter with a church secretary. After the park was heavily damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, it shut down for good shortly after.

Only a few remnants of the park are still visible today. The abandoned 21-story Heritage USA Hotel stands as an eerie and empty shell looming over the suburban landscape. The Upper Room Chapel was purchased sometime after the park’s closing and is maintained as a prayer room for a local ministry. The Heritage Grand Hotel is now the Heritage International Ministries Conference Center. 

Know Before You Go

Most of the land that Heritage USA once sat on is now housing developments and commercial buildings. Only the abandoned 21-story hotel, Upper Room Chapel, and Heritage Grand Hotel (now Heritage International Ministries Conference Center) remain. All areas are privately owned, but you can drive around the developments to check it out. Upper Room Chapel is available to visit during certain hours; check their website for more info.

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