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A collection of photography and exploration focusing on Upstate South Carolina and beyond.
When one hears the words "Ghost town", one usually conjures up images of an abandoned prospectors’ town somewhere out west, similar to the picture of Bodie, California seen above. However, South Carolina has its fair share of ghost towns. While tumbleweeds and swinging saloon doors may not provide the scenery for the South Carolina towns, the abandoned buildings are still rich in history with own tales of long-gone commerce and community.
South Carolina’s ghost towns can be divided into two groups. First, there are the true ghost towns. These are towns that no longer exist except for one or two remaining edifices. There is no viable commerce, and most of the residents have left the area. Given the population density of South Carolina, these are extremely rare. The only cases I know of are Ellenton, which was abandoned when the Savannah River Plant was constructed, and Andersonville, which was inundated when Lake Hartwell was created.
More common are the near-ghost towns. These feature a central business district with a few remaining buildings of historical significance, all of which have been abandoned or closed. However, there is often a vibrant community surrounding the area that still bears the former town’s name, and often a US Post Office with that name still serves the area. Examples that come to mind are the towns of Owings, Pomaria, Peak, Joanna, Cateechee, and Ware Shoals.
The decline of these towns can be attributed to many things. Changes in transportation routes often bypass the towns, as in the case of Pomaria and Peak with Interstate 26. More often, the main industry leaves town, as was the case with textile mill in towns such as Startex/Tucapau and Joanna. Sometimes the town is subsumed into a larger community, as was the case with Cityview and Taylors in the Greenville area.
Over the summer I hope to visit some of these locations and take photographs. I’m currently creating a Google Map of these locations, and hope to record the locations and brief description. Who knows, this might even turn into a book project. However, I’m not sure how the denizens of these towns would react to having their community labeled a "ghost town."
In addition to my Google Map, I’m using several other resources for my research. I’ll list these below:
And finally, I have extracted data from GNIS and created my own little application for just South Carolina place names. You can search by place name or county, and clicking on the link will bring up a new window with the location in Google Maps.
So, with four-day work weeks over the summer, I may use my Fridays to visit some of these locations.
[tags]Ghost Town, South Carolina[/tags]