Rambling

Winter at the SC Botanical Gardens

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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

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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

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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…)

Oconee Color

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Oconee Mountain Color-31

It started with a mystery. Fellow photographer Hank Myers and my friend Tara Bailey down at SCIWAY.net had a question about Shiloh School, and whether or not it was a Rosenwald School. The extant school is a brick building, but the Fisk Rosenwald database show a classic two teacher Nashville design. I decided that a trip to the school was in order, to see if there were any stone markers that might indicate when the school was built. It would also give me an excuse to check out some fall colors.

Since I would be passing right past his place, I swung by and picked up Ken Cothran in Clemson. We got coffee, then took a quick tour through the heart of Clemson. However, our first target was the school. I plugged it into the GPS and we headed that way. (more…)

Even More Schools and Celestia

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Bradley School Tintype

Bradley School

Monday, October 20, 2014

I had started off the morning with a nice visit with Nicole and Carrie at the Pottersville site, just north of Edgefield. On my previous visit to the site, Carrie had told me about the old Tompkins School, where Sue Logue had been a teacher. I didn’t find it on that trip, but was able to locate it in Google Earth. Since I had the location pinpointed, I was determined to find it this time.

To recap, Sue Logue was the first woman to be executed by electric chair in South Carolina. Logue was sentenced for orchestrating the death of Davis Timmerman, as well as being implicated in the shooting deaths of Sheriff Wad Allen and Deputy “Doc” Clark. She was also rumored to be having an affair with Strom Thurmond. The Tompkins School was not only where Logue taught, but where it was rumored that she had several rendezvous with Thurmond when he was superintendent of schools for Edgefield County. (more…)

Pottersville Follow-up

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Pottersville Excavation-027

October 20, 2014

When I visited the Pottersville archeology dig last week, they were just getting started. I wanted to see how they were progressing, so I headed back down there. Plus, I wanted to get back to some of the school locations I’d missed.

I headed down early, but not as early as I had last time. I wanted to make sure they were underway when I arrived. I drove straight down without distraction, and made it there by about 10:00. Once again, only Nicole and Carrie were at the site. (more…)

Topiary, Camden, and More Schools

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Kershaw House

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It had been a busy week. I had been to Georgia, Laura had been to Florida and returned just in time for her birthday, and now it was time for another ramble through South Carolina. Several weeks ago, before all the craziness began, Dwight and I had agreed to try a phototrek down his way. Dwight said he had never been to Camden, so we decided to head that way. We would also throw in a trip out to Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden.

I picked up Dwight in Columbia, and we headed east out of town in I-20. We passed the exits for Lugoff and Camden, then took an exit we thought might be the correct one. Turns out we still had a few miles to go. No matter, we took two lane roads on into the town of Bishopville. Along the way we spotted a couple of interesting sites, such as an antique hearse and a Hogwarts wannabe. We even crossed the Scape Ore Swamp, home of the legendary Lizard Man.

Antique Hearse
Little Wizards

We entered Bishopville and turned south onto Highway 15. At Broad Acres Road we saw the sign for Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden, so we turned that way. (more…)

A Tour through Mid-Georgia – Part One

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Philomath Church

Philomath Presbyterian Church

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Houston had stayed overnight after our Ghost Tour of Woodburn Plantation the night before. He had Monday off, and since Laura was out of town, Glynda and I decided to head down to Athens with him for a road trip. Of course, this would be one of our typical rambling road trips, full of history and interesting sights.

…and, of course, we couldn’t really take interstates. We headed down Augusta Road, then cut through Belton, Antreville, and the town of Iva. Just out from Iva we spotted a sign for one of my ghost towns.

Moffetsville (more…)

A Tour through Mid-Georgia – Part Two

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Central School

Central School

Monday, October 12, 2014

On Sunday we toured several historic Georgia communities, including one with family ties. After spending some family time with Glynda and Houston at his house in Athens, we decided to head out for more exploring.

After a big breakfast we headed south on Highway 441. Just southwest of Watkinsville we came to the area’s Heritage Park. The first building you see was the old Central School, which used to be on Colham Ferry Road.

Central School (more…)

The Schools of Edgefield and Saluda Counties

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Fruit Hill School HDR Texture

Fruit Hill School in Edgefield County

I had finally found a practical way of uploading my list of extant schools into my GPS. Rather than upload them as favorites, I was uploading them as custom POIs. The only drawback was that they didn’t show up on the map unless I specifically selected one. Oh well. It was a start.

My maps and several online sources indicated that Edgefield and Saluda counties were full of cool old schools that were still standing. Armed with this tool I set in search of a few.

My primary goal for the day had been a stop by the Pottersville Excavation Site just north of Edgefield. I had described that stop in the last post, so in this one I’ll focus on the schools. (more…)

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