Rambling

Paddling to Andersonville

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Paddling to Andersonville Island

Andersonville Island, Lake Hartwell

Ever since I found out about it I’ve wanted to visit the location of Andersonville. I was finally given that opportunity this week, as fellow paddlers Alan Russell and Jim Leavell joined me for an early week trek out to the island. With this week’s paddle I was able to add another check to my list of South Carolina ghost towns.

Stephen and I had done some previous scouting in this area. Stephen’s brother-in-law, Jim, owns a barbecue place nearby, and he provided some valuable information about the area. Since that time I had been looking for the optimum launch site for a trek over to Andersonville. (more…)

Musgrove Mill and Laurens County

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Horseshoe Falls-007

Horseshoe Falls on Cedar Shoals Creek

A couple of weeks ago my friend Ken Cothran and I were discussing the Musgrove Mill State Historic Site in Laurens County. It seems neither of us had been there in quite awhile, and we wanted to return to do some photography. Even though it was supposed to be scorching hot, we set out early Tuesday morning to see what we could find.

Our route from Clemson took us down Mauldin Road. Ken had not seen the improvements to the Lake Connestee park, so we took a brief detour past the old mill and dam site. I managed to capture a great blue heron with my long lens.

Laurens County Ramble-002

We drove by the old Macbee Chapel, but then from Connestee drove pretty much straight down to the site, taking the Highway 56 exit from I-26 at Clinton. (more…)

From Monck’s Corner to Brazil

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Saint Thomas Church-009

Saint Thomas Church, AKA The Brick Church, AKA The White Church

This weekend was a Lowcountry Unfiltered weekend, and we had a paddling trip planned for the Lower Santee River. I decided to head down early and take some photographs in the wilds of Francis Marion Forest and Berkeley and Charleston Counties.  My brothers, Stephen and Houston, would be down later that afternoon, and we would see what trouble we could create.

I had marked a series of locations in my GPS.  Most of these were historic churches, but there were a few other locations I wanted to check out.  With the car loaded with kayak and photography gear, I headed on down Friday morning.

I got away later than I had thought, and traffic was heavy, but I made it down there right about noon.  Lunch was a sandwich I brought along so I could stick with my diet.  I had that along the banks of the Tailrace Canal, just south of Moncks Corner.

Tailrace Canal-002 (more…)

Lower Richland and the High Hills of the Santee – Part Two

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High Hills of the Santee Baptist Church

Dwight Moffitt and I were out exploring parts of the Cowasee Basin area. This area encompasses the river basins of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers where they come together to form the Santee. The basin name is an amalgam of the names of three rivers.

The area is rich in history and nature, and includes several plantations, ghost towns, and forgotten communities in Lower Richland, Western Sumter, and Southern Kershaw Counties. I’ve spent a fair amount of time kayaking its waters and hiking trails through here, but this time we were after ghost towns.

Earlier in the morning Dwight and I had explored the areas around the Eastover and Hopkins communities. We had already covered a LOT of territory, but our day was just getting started. The morning’s rambles had been confined to Lower Richland, but now we would be crossing the Wateree to explore the High Hills of the Santee area. (more…)

Lower Richland and the High Hills of the Santee – Part One

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Eastover Tilt-Shift

Downtown Eastover

Dwight and I had a day available in common, so we decided to do some exploring. I’ve been trying to work through my list of locations of ghost towns, seeing if there is anything of interest at these locations – ruins, an old church or cemetery, or some actual buildings. I had several possible sites in Lower Richland, Sumter, and Kershaw Counties.

As is typical with one of our expeditions, we didn’t get to all of the spots we had marked on the map, and we found a few new interesting places along the way. Plus, I got a chance to try out my new GPS (which is basically a larger version of my old GPS.)

Minervaville

First on my list of places was Minervaville. It had an interesting, but somewhat brief history in the early 1800′s. I really didn’t hold out a hope of finding anything there, but wanted to check it out anyway. (more…)

Hamburg and the Atomic Towns – Part Two

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Ellenton Sign

Ellenton Sign

“It is hard to understand why our town must be destroyed to make a bomb that will destroy someone else’s town that they love as much as we love ours. But we feel that they picked not just the best spot in the US, but in the world.”

Sign created by Bonner Smith
December 1950

I was out on a photo expedition, looking for several ghost towns in the Savannah River Basin. Earlier in the day I had visited the lost town of Hamburg, South Carolina. Now I was after several of the towns that had been displaced by construction of the Savannah River Plant.

Earlier this year my friends Tara and Robin from Sciway.net sent me a DVD on the history of the “Atomic Towns.” “Displaced: The Unexpected Fallout from the Cold War” was a Southern Lens production from SCETV, and told the story of Ellenton, Dumbarton, and several of the other farming communities in the area. I knew about the towns and had them on my list of ghost towns for inclusion in my book, but didn’t thing there was a reason to visit because of lack of access. Watching the video changed my mind, though. Since I was already down here I had to check it out. (more…)

Hamburg and the Atomic Towns – Part One

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Millett

Millet, South Carolina

Laura is out of town for a couple of days, so I figured it was the perfect time to check out some more of my ghost towns. The plan was to leave out very early in the morning and head to the eastern part of the state. But…

I overslept. I tend not to sleep very well when Laura’s not in town. So, the plans had to be altered. Instead of the eastern part of the state, I decided to check out some of the locations in the Savannah River Basin near Augusta.

Since the change was somewhat spur of the moment, I didn’t have all the prep work I usually do for one of these treks. I grabbed my cameras, my DeLorme atlas, and a copy of “South Carolina One Day at a Time” and headed south on highway 25 toward Augusta.

I really should have taken the Interstate. The problem with rural roads is that i pass through so many distractions that could keep me from my target. The towns and communities of Greenwood, Kirksey, Edgefield, Saluda, and many others passed by, and I had to resist the urge to stop and shoot. The Field Trip app on my iPhone kept pinging with nearby historical markers, but I kept going. (more…)

Flea Markets and Falls

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Twin Falls, AKA Reedy Cove Falls

Glynda has been recovering from surgery, and is making great progress. For the first time in ages she had energy to get out and about and explore, so she suggested that we go to the regular Wednesday gathering at the Pickens Flea Market. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day, so who was I to say no?

We left out early and arrived at the flea market shortly after 8:00 am. Even at that time there were already crowds gathered. We wandered among the booths and looked at the goods. Since I’d had success with my 35mm lens on yesterday’s Earth Day trek, I decided to use it here, too. I had my Panasonic as a backup.

For the most part it was the same old same old. There were the random collections of antiques, toys, bottles, etc. etc. I noticed that a lot of my shots are starting to look the same. It’s hard to find something unique.

Pickens Flea Market and Twin Falls-007 (more…)

Abbeville Revisited

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My mother and my sister Glynda wanted to get out and about. Mom likes to rambling and explore as much as any of the rest of our family – we came by it naturally. It was a beautiful but chilly spring day, with dogwoods and azaleas in bloom, so we decided to drive across country to Grits and Groceries for lunch.

Glynda and I had been here before. When we got here today, the interior was crowded, but we were able to find seats at a table with two ladies who were just finishing up. They were quite friendly, so it worked out.

The last time I was here I was taken to task for not trying the tomato pie. I wasn’t going to make that mistake this time, so we started with one of those. It was the size of an overly large muffin, and just enough for each of us to have a bite. I’m glad I tried it, as it was excellent. (more…)

Tybee and Bonaventure

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Bonaventure Cemetery-10

Bonaventure Cemetery

This weekend is our monthly outing with Lowcountry Unfiltered. Since our river was down below Savannah, I decided to head down on Friday and do some exploration ahead of time.

My plan was to leave as early as possible, check out the Savannah waterfront and some of the old homes, then check out Bonaventure Cemetery. In the evening I planned to have dinner at the Crab Shack on Tybee Island.

Unfortunately, traffic didn’t cooperate. It was Friday before Easter week, so it seemed like everyone was heading south. I didn’t get down to Savannah until afternoon. The city was a zoo, and I’d had enough traffic, no matter how historic and scenic. I decided to drive on out to Tybee, since I hadn’t been there in a long time. (more…)

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