Darby Road Discoveries

Double Springs School

Double Springs School, Greer, SC

I got a message from one of my compatriots on the Abandoned, Old, and Interesting in South Carolina group on Facebook. She was telling me about a couple of old schools in the area that I might have missed. One of the schools in question was Double Springs School, just around the corner from Double Springs Baptist Church on Highway 290 north of Greer. My FB friend said that her father had attended school there, so I figured the claim was legit. I checked out one of the locations in Streetview, and, sure enough, there was a school I had completely overlooked.

Since was it was fairly close, last Tuesday afternoon I decided to check it out. I had to run up to Furman, so I was cutting across country, across the back side of Paris Mountain, to get to the location. Along the way, I made a few other discoveries. (more…)

MLK Weekend Ramble 2015 – Part 3, Winnsboro


Winnsboro Clock Tower

Houston, Alan, and I were on our annual MLK Weekend photo trek. So far we had visited churches, old schools, and cemeteries across Newberry and Faifield Counties. We had just wrapped up at Ebenezer ARP Church and were about to head into Winnsboro proper.

Along the way we turned onto the road that leads to the Anderson Quarry. We didn’t linger or stop for photos, but I pointed out the mine and all of the houses and other structures built from Winnsboro Blue Granite. Most impressive was the granite serpentine wall that encloses the Kincaid-Anderson Plantation on Landis Road. The Georgian house is made of brick, which seems out of character with the rest of the houses in the community. Apparently, this house was build first, and a ten-acre rock consisting of the blue granite was discovered, leading to development of the quarry. So, the house predates the quarry. Later out buildings are made of the granite. (more…)

MLK Weekend Ramble 2015 – Part 2, Jenkinsville School Ruins

Jenkinsville School and Teacherage-012

Jenkinsville School Ruins

Houston, Alan, and I were on our annual MLK Weekend photo trek. So far we had stopped at several historic churches in Newberry and Fairfield County. One of the places we spent the most time was the ruins of the old Jenkinsville High School.

I had visited this site once before with Glynda back in 2010. We did more extensive exploration this time, but the site was very much as we found it back then.

Jenkinsville School and Teacherage-015


MLK Weekend Ramble 2015, Part 1

Jenkinsville School and Teacherage-012

Jenkinsville School Ruins

The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend seems to be the perfect time for exploration. Leaves are gone from the trees so you can see hidden buildings better. In our area, usually the weather is cool, but mild. More importantly, some of my fellow explorers are off work and able to join me. Even before I retired, this became one of our weekends to ramble. Often it was with my brother, Houston, or fellow explorer Alan. This time, for 2015, it was both.

Alan has been trying to track down family history through his great-great-grandfather’s diary. David Wyatt Aiken was a Confederate veteran, and later served as a US Congressman. Aiken was born in Winnsboro, so we decided that would be one of our stops on this ramble. We also found several old churches and schools along the way through Newberry and Fairfield Counties – plenty to keep us and our cameras busy. (more…)

Laurens Cemetery Ramble

Little Earle Martin

Little Earle Martin

A few weeks ago Facebook user Tim Bray posted an intriguing photo on the Abandoned, Old, and Interesting Places in South Carolina group.  The photo was of a statue on the grave of “Little Earle” Martin, located in the Laurens City Cemetery. As I read Tim’s descriptions of his visit, I realized that even though I’d grown up in Laurens County, I had never visited that cemetery. It was high time to check it out, and that opportunity finally came on Friday of this week.

All week the sky was a hazy shade of winter. Friday was the first clear day to lighten our moods in quite awhile. Makes sense that we’d go on a cemetery ramble. That wasn’t our first intent, though. Sister Glynda had just returned from Florida visiting grandkids. She had stayed at our house the night before, and I drove her home that morning. The heat had been off while she was gone, so we decided to go for a drive while the house warmed up. Laurens is only ten miles from Gray Court, so it looked like this would be the perfect time to visit. In addition to the Laurens Cemetery, we explored some family history, and even found another old school. (more…)

9 Bits of Advice for the Casual Adventurer


“What’s in Your Haversack?” from the Adventure Archives Blog.

Over the past year I’ve joined several Facebook groups focusing on local history. I’m most active on the “Abandoned, Old, and Interesting Places in South Carolina” group, but there are similar groups for North Carolina, Georgia, and the south in general. I’ve seen some fantastic photography and learned about some new locations to explore from participation in these groups. However, to be honest, I was starting to suffer from a bit of “decay fatigue.” I was starting to see the same photos of old falling down farm houses and barns over and over, often with no explanation as to their history or significance.

Those minor sins aside, what most of the participants share is a sense of adventure. I decided to put together my own thoughts on advice for casual adventurers. (more…)

A Mid-Winter Table Rock Hike


Old color photo

I should have known better. I thought I’d be ready for the challenge of Table Rock. After all, I’d hiked it many times before. I’d even run it once, hiking to the top quickly, then coming down in a flat-out run. However, that was 30 years and 80 pounds ago. This would be almost more of a challenge than I could handle.

This was a Second Saturday, which meant a Lowcountry Unfiltered outing. Lately our group has been ranging much further than traditional Lowcountry locations. Last fall they came up for Jocassee, and for our 2015 adventures we’ve decided to take some longer trips. (more…)

Winter at the SC Botanical Gardens


South Carolina Botanical Garden-007

Wednesday was my one day this week without a singing engagement. I had originally planned to drive down to Columbia with Ken to see this Norman Rockwell exhibit, but we had some family business that needed tending. I was able to see my niece, Olivia, in her kindergarten Christmas play, and they didn’t have a single lobster.

I was able to wrap things up by lunch time, and I wanted to get out and do some photography. Even though we didn’t have time for Columbia, I called Ken to see if we could do something local. We decided to check out the South Carolina Botanical Garden at Clemson. (more…)

Birthday Hike to the Top of the World

Whiteside Mountain-33

View from Whiteside Mountain

Sunday was my birthday, and it was going to be tough. In addition to the realization that age is rapidly advancing, Laura had to leave last week to go assist with her mom, which meant I was on my own. This was also the first birthday without my own mother, and her usual phone call would be sorely missed. I decided that rather than mope around the house, I was going to head out on an adventure.

If you’re approaching Greenville along I-385 on a clear day, off in the distance is a striking angular peak. At 4390 ft above sea level, Whiteside Mountain isn’t the tallest peak in the Appalachians by any stretch of the imagination. However, it does boast the largest exposed granite cliffs of any in the Blue Ridge. Back in my rock-climbing/rappelling days the sharp peak always intrigued me, and always seemed slightly out of reach. While I did lots of climbing and rappelling along Glassy Mountain (before the desecration of The Cliffs), Devil’s Courthouse, and other points in the Blue Ridge, I never made it to Whiteside Mountain. I decided that would be my goal for the day. (more…)

Spontaneous Fall Lake Connestee Hike


Lake Connestee-37

November 6, 2014

Election day – always a bummer in South Carolina for someone of the political persuasion like mine. Even so, I walked down to our local polling place to cast my ballot. While I was in line to vote, my good friend Tim Taylor came up behind me. We caught up while in line, and decided to have lunch together. Since Tim had the Election Day off from his job at the Roper Mountain Science Center, over lunch we decided to head over to Lake Connnestee Nature Park.

We drove over to the park headquarters. There we met Gina Varat and David Hargette, who work at the park. They filled me in on some of the happenings at the park, such as some of the history walks and an upcoming Nature Journaling class with author John Lane. Tim chatted with them a bit, then we headed on our way.

Lake Connestee-1 (more…)

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