Lake Connestee Nature Trail

Reedy River Bridge

It seems I wasn’t the only one itching to get out and shoot some photos when our planned outing went belly up due to weather yesterday. Sunday’s weather was perfect, and Alan wanted to take his new Nikon DSLR for a spin. So, we planned to meet somewhere local. There had been an article in the Greenville News about additions to the Lake Connestee Nature Park, so we decided to check them out.

Our plan was to meet at the parking area at the dam, or so I thought. At the appointed time I got a call from Alan saying he was at the entrance to the park. Turns out he was behind the old Braves Stadium, so I headed in that direction. Then, it turned out that there were TWO entrances to the park with large signs that look like this…

Lake Connestee Sign

Alan was at one, and I was at the other. Through the magic of cell phone technology we got it sorted out, and rendezvoused at the correct trail head. Continue reading “Lake Connestee Nature Trail”

Urban Religion in Greenville

Mountain View Baptist Sign

I had different plans for today. Several of my friends and I were going to go on a photo ramble through Pickens, Anderson, and Oconee Counties. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative, so we decided to cancel that trip. I was still in the mood to do some photography, so when the rain let up in the afternoon I grabbed my camera and headed out. I had a project in mind.

I’ve stated it here, and it’s been pointed out many times that there is a church just about on every corner in Greenville. I wanted to explore a few of these. Specifically, I was interested in the older, smaller, out-of-the-way churches. Most of these are tucked away on residential streets. There are so many, that unless one has a connection to the church, most likely one would drive right by without noticing it.

With so many churches in one area, I have to wonder what services must be like. Is there that much diversity that so many are needed? It certainly fragments the church-going population. I think back to McCarter’s tiny congregation, and I know that many of these churches must be struggling to survive. Yet, that small place is a meaningful place of worship for someone. I guess they take the “where ever two or three are gathered” phrase seriously.

Part of this I can understand. There are many, many denominations and sects, and each wants its own place of worship. Then there is the segregation of Greenville’s population. I’m not talking about specifically racial lines, although there are clearly neighborhoods that were historically black or historically white, and each had its own set of churches. Greenville’s population is fractured by mill villages, and each had its own set of churches for each denomination, usually one black and one white. Given that, it’s easier to understand why there are so many in our area. Continue reading “Urban Religion in Greenville”

More on Chappells

Chappells Ruins

My how time flies. Hard to believe that it’s been two years since Alan and I first explored the ghost town of Chappells, SC. We made our exploration after a paddling trip on the Saluda River, and I did a follow-up post on the history of the town.

Last year fellow explorer Mark Elbrecht visited the town during winter, and was able to get some clearer photographs of the ruins.

One other item Mark found was a photograph of the old Chappells Depot from an article in the Newberry Observer

Chappells Depot

As we walked down the old main street and looked at the ruins on our visit, I wondered if any other photographs existed of the town in its heyday. Apart from Mark’s discovery of the depot photo, I had not seen any other photos of the old town. That all changed this past week. Continue reading “More on Chappells”

LCU vs Manchester, Part 2

LCU Swamp Stomp 2013-026

We had loaded up with breakfast at Battens in Wedgefield, and now it was time to go exploring. There were eleven us, divided over three vehicles. Luckily, I had three FRS radios so we could coordinate our travels. So, we set off.

We got off the main highway, and as we entered Manchester State Forest the pavement just kind of gave out. We road on a fairly fast clip, past forested areas and farmland, most of it with “Posted. No Tresspassing” signs.

LCU Swamp Stomp 2013-047
LCU Swamp Stomp 2013-026 Continue reading “LCU vs Manchester, Part 2”

LCU vs Manchester

LCU Swamp Stomp 2013

It sounds like a collegiate soccer game. We had about enough people with us to field a team. However, in truth it was Lowcountry Unfiltered’s Second Saturday outing. This being January, it was time for our annual Swamp Stomp, and we were off to tackle a section of the Wateree Passage of the Palmetto Trail through Manchester State Park.

Our outing would take us through ghost towns, cemeteries, and the site of Civil War destruction at the hands of Colonel Edward Potter. This was truly and epic outing, and the only way to do it justice is to break it into sections, so consider this Part 1.

Keith met me at the house far too early for a Saturday. Along the way down we picked up Alan and Dwight, so I had a car full. The Upstate would be well-represented on this trip.

LCU Swamp Stomp 2013

We had a fairly loose agenda, but our plan was to meet for breakfast then explore the area. Here’s a quick rundown of the trip… Continue reading “LCU vs Manchester”

Two Historic Cemeteries and a Mill

Ebenezer Methodist Church

A winter holiday, and I was itching to get out and do some exploring. I had a new camera to try out, and wanted to put it through its paces. Unfortunately, I couldn’t roam too far. Fellow explorer Alan came over, and we found a nice compromise. We headed over to the Pelham area to explore the old mill and Ebenezer Methodist Church.

Pelham Mill

Pelham Mill Park is one of my favorite photography destinations. There are lots of textures, water, and interesting structures for subject matter. I’ve visited in the past by myself and with fellow photographer Karen B. This was Alan’s first time visiting the park, as I was glad to have another newbie who might see something I had missed.

Pelham_hist_mill

This site on the Enoree River was the location of one of the first cotton mills in the area. It reached its peak production in the years following the Civil War, and by the turn of the century employed 250 people and ran 10,000 spindles. The mill was destroyed by fire in 1940, leaving only the dam across the river, some foundations, and part of the old brick power station. The old mill office was across Highway 14 from the main part of the mill, and also survived. Continue reading “Two Historic Cemeteries and a Mill”

Stumphouse Tunnel and Tunnel Hill

Stumphouse Tunnel-012

This is part three of our day of adventure. It started in the wee morning hours on Bald Rock viewing the Geminid Meteor Shower, followed by the search for the ghost town Mayucha. Keith and I found some breakfast, and headed north on Highway 28 to find the ghost town of Tunnel Hill, located near the Stumphouse Tunnel.

I had been to Stumphouse Tunnel many times. However, Keith had not. My real goal was not the tunnel, but a spot on the mountain on top of the tunnel. One online source described a cemetery and several foundations – all that remains of the former town of Tunnel Hill. I was hoping to find those.

A Wee Bit of History…

The Blue Ridge Railroad Company was conceived in the mid-1800’s as a way to transfer goods from South Carolina to Knoxville, Tennessee. It was a grand plan, with multiple tunnels and impressive bridges across the Blue Ridge mountains. The “easy” part of the railroad was completed from Anderson to Pendleton, and in the 1850s construction was started on the three tunnels that would be on the South Carolina portion of the railroad.

Tunnel Hill sprang up at the top of the longest tunnel on Stumphouse Mountain. It largely housed the Irish immigrants working on the tunnels. By all accounts it was a violent place, with saloons outnumbering other businesses, and frequent clashes between the Irish workers and the locals who thought that jobs were being usurped by the newcomers. Historian Jim Haughy recounts a description of the town by Rev. J. J. O’Connell, who visited the town in 1854…

Practically all the dwellings were flimsy wooden frame structures that provided little shelter from the elements. While miners with families lived in primitive cabins, unmarried miners often lodged in boarding shanties provided by other railroad workers and their families.

– “Tunnel Hill: An Irish Mining Community in the Western Carolinas”, presented at The Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association 2004

O’Connell decried the free flowing alcohol, and in addition to establishing St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in the village, he was instrumental in forming the St. Patrick’s Temperance Society to get rid of the saloons and improve life in the town. Continue reading “Stumphouse Tunnel and Tunnel Hill”

Mysterious Mayucha and The Wolf Pit

Searching for Mayucha-006

After spending a Night on Bald Mountain (watching the Geminid meteor shower, not listening to Mussorgsky), Keith and I were off to find a couple of ghost towns in Oconee County. We had two locations in mind – Mayucha and Tunnel Hill.

It was still early morning when we left Bald Rock. Our path took us along Highway 11 past Table Rock. There was frost on the fields, and a mist was rising off of Lake Oolenoy.

Frosty Table Rock
Lake Oolenoy Fog Continue reading “Mysterious Mayucha and The Wolf Pit”

Pickens County Ramble

Cateechee School 2

I’ve been going a bit stir crazy. The weather has been perfect for hiking or kayaking, but with this lingering cough I just haven’t wanted to risk getting sick again. Laura was busy writing an exam, so sister Glynda and I decided to head out and find something to photograph.

For this ramble we repeated a trek that I had made with Duckhunter back last year. Our route took us north of Clemson and into some of the old communities of Pickens County.

From Greenville we drove to Easley, then followed 93 to Liberty, then on to Norris. From Norris we headed north to our first stop at the mill village of Cateechee. Glynda had never visited this part of the state, so it was new territory for her. We circled through the mill village and looked at the ruins of the mill, then drove around to the old Cateechee School. Continue reading “Pickens County Ramble”

Rambling in Western Virginia

Mabry Mill with Texture

After a successful wedding we had a couple of days to spend in Roanoke. I got no sleep because of coughing, but I still wanted to make the best of our mini-vacation.

We started with a fantastic breakfast at the hotel, then spent the rest of the morning helping Glynda recover. We got the wedding gifts and other paraphernalia packed away, and got her checked out of her hotel. I drove Aaron’s car, Glynda drove hers, and Laura drove our car up to the hotel where Houston and Lynda were staying, and we got together with them and Chip, Anna, and family for lunch.

Having just married off her daughter, Glynda was exhausted both physically and emotionally. She is normally one of our heartiest ramblers, but that wasn’t going to happen today. She stayed back at the hotel, while Houston, Lynda, Laura, and I set off to see what we could find. Continue reading “Rambling in Western Virginia”