Ghost Towns of the Pee Dee – Part 4, Jordanville to Dalcho

Old Spring Branch School

I was out and about exploring the Pee Dee region of the state, searching for ghost towns. I’d already found a couple of potentials – Ella’s Grove, Centenary, and Eulonia – and I’d stopped by the Marion County Museum and had lunch on Main Street in Marion. Now it was on to a couple more remote locations, and eventually find my way back home. Continue reading “Ghost Towns of the Pee Dee – Part 4, Jordanville to Dalcho”

Ghost Towns of the Pee Dee – Part 3, Marion Museum

Marion County Museum-002

I had one day to explore the ghost towns of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. So far I’d visited several potential locations, including Ella’s Grove, Centenary, and Eulonia. On these trips I always like to stop in at the local museum or historical society to see what additional information they might have. With that goal in mind, I set off for the Marion County Museum in downtown Marion. Continue reading “Ghost Towns of the Pee Dee – Part 3, Marion Museum”

Ghost Towns of the Pee Dee – Part 1, Ella’s Grove and Palmer

Ella's Grove-001

Yes, I’m still working on my ghost towns list. However, I have some serious gaps in the places I’ve visited. The eastern part of the state toward Myrtle Beach is uncharted territory to me. I decided that before I move out west and seriously start on this book I needed to make at least one visit to this area. Continue reading “Ghost Towns of the Pee Dee – Part 1, Ella’s Grove and Palmer”

Seeking the Kingdom of Happy Land

kingdomhappyland
Kingdom of the Happy Land by Gary Carden. Acrylic on canvas, 36”x24”. Source

A few weeks ago I gave my talk on the Hidden Towns Under South Carolina Lakes at the Taylors Branch of the Greenville County Library. After the talk someone came up to me and asked if I’d ever heard of the “Kingdom of Happy Land.” I had not. After chatting for a bit I decided I needed to see if I could find this kingdom. Last Thursday things had finally settled down from all our traveling and the Fourth holiday, so it was a perfect time for an expedition. I went to see if I could find the Kingdom of Happy Land. Continue reading “Seeking the Kingdom of Happy Land”

Lost and Forgotten Towns under South Carolina’s Lakes

Submerged Towns in SC Lite.001

Several months ago I received and e-mail from Kes Crumpler. Kes is with the Lake Murray Power Squadron, and asked if I’d be willing to give a talk to their group about ghost towns under South Carolina’s lakes. Since I’m no stranger to public speaking, I said, “Sure!” Although I was completely unsure as to what a “power squadron” was. Continue reading “Lost and Forgotten Towns under South Carolina’s Lakes”

Paddling to Andersonville

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. Continue reading “Paddling to Andersonville”

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

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. Continue reading “Lower Richland and the High Hills of the Santee – Part One”

Hamburg and the Atomic Towns – Part Two

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. Continue reading “Hamburg and the Atomic Towns – Part Two”

Hamburg and the Atomic Towns – Part One

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. Continue reading “Hamburg and the Atomic Towns – Part One”