Old South Tour with the Upstate Minis


Ruby Red at Oakley Place

This past Saturday I joined up with the Upstate Minis for a run. Don Western from the group had put together an “Old South Tour” that would take us down through Laurens, Abbeville, Edgefield, McCormick, and Saluda Counties.

Several of us met at Century Mini and caravanned down to Laurens. There we met up with the others that would join us. There would be fourteen cars in all making the run.

Old South Tour-1 (more…)

Bridges, Bell’s, and Lakes


Old Parkers Ferry Bridge Creased B&W photo

Ken had a craving. He wanted to visit Bell’s Diner in Toccoa, Georgia. I was more than willing to provide transport, and I was hoping that we would find some good food and interesting photographic opportunities along the way. We found an abundance of both.

I picked up Ken in Clemson, and we made our customary stop at MoJoe’s for a bit of caffeine. Suitably juiced, we headed west through Seneca, then over to Westminster. (more…)

Trekking across Chester and Fairfield Counties – Catawba Country


Catawba In green tones

Well, ain’t this place a geographical oddity. Two weeks from everywhere!

– Ulysses Everett McGill, O Brother, Where Art Thou

I felt a lot like Everett McGill, at least as far as geographical confusion was concerned. No, I hadn’t escaped from a chain gang, nor had I been robbed by a Bible salesman. Earlier in the day I’d had a nice visit to Chester, had a great lunch, and had found some ghost towns along Highway 321. Now I was in the community of White Oak, and saw that I was twelve miles from Great Falls. As it turned out, Great Falls was also a geographical oddity – twelve miles from everywhere.

Twelve miles…seems like a reasonable distance. You can get there in a matter of minutes, so it’s easy to convince yourself, “Oh, that’s not far! I can just scoot over there!” It’s just far enough away to be inconvenient, but close enough to be tempting. The problem comes as the day gets later and the dozen miles multiply, taking you further away from home. (more…)

Trekking across Chester and Fairfield Counties – The Ghost Towns of Highway 321


Blackstock Community Grocery

I’d spent a nice morning in Chester, and had a great lunch in the little time. However, it was time to move on. I hadn’t mentioned the original reason for this trip. A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from my friend Robin down at Sciway.net. Someone had submitted a photo of White Oak ARP Church as part of their SC Picture Project. Robin thought that the community might qualify as one of my ghost towns, and suggested that I check it out. I wanted to do that on our previous Fairfield County trek, but we never made it that far north. It wasn’t going to escape me today. Amazingly, though, it wasn’t the only potential ghost town I found along Highway 321. (more…)

Trekking across Chester and Fairfield Counties



I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I’d had a great day exploring Fairfield County with Houston and Alan, but I had missed some of the locations I’d wanted to hit. It just wasn’t feasible on that trip, since all of us had evening engagements. So, on Wednesday after MLK Day I headed out again, this time to explore a more northerly route than the one the three of us had taken two days prior.

It was the classic dilemma – how do I get to the places I want to go without being distracted along the way? I’ve just about decided that I need to get a VERY early start, possibly before the sun even rises. I need to be arriving at my target destination as the best light hits, rather than driving through it on so-so scenery. (more…)

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…)

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