Rambling

Tigerville Ramble

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Cool Springs Primitive Baptist Church

Fellow explorer Mark said he was up for another adventure. He had a list of places marked along Highway 414 up toward Tigerville, some old houses, historic churches, and even a couple of old schools. He also wanted to check out the old T. P. Wood store in Tigerville to see how renovations were going. So, on Wednesday we set out and knocked quite a few of those places off the list.

Our first stop was Cool Springs Primitive Baptist Church. Just the name makes it sound intriguing. The church is located on Cool Springs Road just north of Highway 414. There is a modern(ish) building that was built in 1956…

Cool Springs Primitive Baptist Church

…but more interesting is the original church. This weather-board structure sits perched above the road, and dates back to 1840.

Cool Springs Primitive Baptist Church-001

The old church is not on the National Register of Historic Places, but has been deemed eligible by a recent archeology survey of the county (PDF). The structure is now just used for storage. We could see bicycles and lawn mowers through the windows. I didn’t attempt to get an interior shot. (more…)

A Pilgrimage to Asheville for a Moog Music Tour

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Moog Voyager 40

MiniMoog Voyager 40

It was 1982. Dr. Robert Moog (rhymes with “vogue”) was visiting the campus, giving master classes in the afternoon and presenting a lecture on music synthesis in the evening. I was a senior music major at Furman University, and a DJ with WPLS, our campus radio station. Somehow I landed (mostly by begging) the assignment of interviewing Dr. Moog for the radio.

Dr. Moog was gracious, and turned my bumbling, star-struck questions into a wonderful interview. He made me sound good. It’s now years later, and I wish I had a copy of that recording. Alas, with the ephemeral nature of magnetic tape, it’s probably long gone.

I’ve always held an appreciation for Dr. Moog, Ray Kurzweil, and other early pioneers of electronic music. Some years back I was amazed to learn that Dr. Moog had moved to Asheville, NC, and further still, had re-established his company, Moog Music, in the area. I knew that I would have to pay a visit. It was always on my list of “that’s something I’ve gotta do someday.” I finally made the pilgrimage yesterday with my friend, Ken Cothran. (more…)

Labor Day Week Rambles

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Highway 9 Country Store-006

Labor Day snuck up on me. First, it’s been so dad-blasted crazy around here, that it was upon me before I knew it. Secondly, I don’t seem to pay much attention to holidays anymore. However, a holiday means that my friends are more available for exploration, so there are more opportunities for joint exploration.

I had a couple such opportunities this week, so I’ll combine them into one post. On Labor Day proper, Keith and I headed up to Hendersonville for German food. After a nice lunch of sauerkraut and weisswurst, we took a circuitous route back home. One of our stops was Double Springs Baptist Church, located in a little hollow off of old US 25 (now NC 225.)

Double Springs Baptist Church (more…)

Paddling Boyd’s Mill Pond

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Boyds Mill Pond-17

Paddling on Boyd’s Mill Pond

I’ve known about Boyd’s Mill Pond for most of my life. It was on the way from Gray Court to Greenwood (via short cut.) Visits to my dentist in Greenwood would take us on the road that curved by the pond, giving me glimpses of the small lake. Even back then, I long to stop and explore.

Fast forward several decades and I finally have a chance to explore the area. In 2012 The Karl H. Dixon Park opened, and now provides the only public access to the lake with a playground and boat ramp. I had dropped by here to scout several weeks ago, and this morning I decided to haul my boat down and check it.

Boyds Mill Pond-002 (more…)

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…)

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