Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 3

Mountville Buildings

So far our crew from the Laurens County and Clinton Museums had visited several locations in Cross Hill (Part 1, Part 2). Now we were on to our last stop, a true ghost town.

While Cross Hill is not yet a ghost town, Mountville has reached that stage. I hesitated to add it to my list because there is still an active post office, a couple of active churches, and I have cousins and friends with Mountville mailing addresses. It is still a viable community. However, any semblance of a town is long gone.

We pulled up to what is left of the center of commerce – three lone buildings just off of Highway 72.


All that remains is the grange building, a warehouse, and an old store front. We took some time to explore as best we could. Continue reading “Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 3”

Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 2

Cross Hill School
Cross Hill School

Our group from the Laurens County and Clinton Museums had already spent considerable time exploring the little town of Cross Hill. The day was early, and we still had more to see.

Cross Hill School

Just off of Main Street, northeast of the town center, is the old Cross Hill School. The two-story school building is located behind the fire department and a small park, where it sits abandoned with broken windows and locked, boarded doors. We pulled in to take a look around.

Cross Hill School-012

The back part of the building had collapsed completely and there was yellow caution tape marking off the area. In addition to broken windows, the whole building was covered in vines.

Cross Hill School-003
Cross Hill School-004 Continue reading “Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 2”

Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 1

Leaman Brothers Store
Leaman Brothers Store

Saturday morning I joined several folks from the Laurens County Museum and the Clinton Museum for a trek across lower Laurens County. Our route would take us through the communities of Cross Hill and Mountville. Both museums have recently received grants to develop tours of the area, and our intent was to find and document locations that might be included.

On this day the trek party would consist of Mary Ellen Lives and Julius Bolt from the Laurens County Museum and Elaine Thorpe from the Clinton Museum. Sean Green from Pickens would serve as the official photographer. I was tagging along to add my expertise in GIS/mapping and media development. I would be taking photos, too, but mainly I was just thrilled to be included, and looking forward to gaining access to some locations I’d not been able to visit.

Clinton Museum

We gathered at the Clinton Museum, located in an old house on North Broad Street just north of the town square. Sean was already waiting for us. Sean is another one of those folks I’ve known online for a long time, but had never met in person. His Flickr stream came to my attention when he was finding some interesting abandoned places, some of which led to ghost towns that I’ve documented. He also has an extensive collection of contra dancing photos. Laura and I used to dance all the time, and now Sean is documenting those dances.

Soon we were joined by Mary Ellen, Julius, and Elaine. I had already met these folks, and we had met a few weeks back for an initial discussion about how they wanted to create maps for the tours. The initial tours would be walking tours because the grant was for health-related activities. Today we were looking at areas we might want to include if we were to develop driving tours as well. Continue reading “Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 1”

Searching for Shoals Junction

Shoals Junction Ramble-027

It’s spring break for most of the Upstate school districts, and I wanted to search for a few ghost towns. Mark Elbrecht and I had bounced around some possible targets, and after looking through the South Carolina section of the Abandoned Rails website, we decided to try to find Shoals Junction, at the end of the abandoned Ware Shoals line. We would also hit a couple of other smaller communities and see what we could find.  Turns out we could hit lots of communities – eight of them in all.  I’ll try to summarize them here.

Ware Shoals

We set out down Augusta Road eventually reaching the eastern terminus of the railroad in Ware Shoals. We took a turn through the town, then headed down to the river. We drove through the riverside park, then circled past the power generation station. There were several workers, and we felt awkward stopping for photos. We retraced our steps upstream and headed beyond the bridge crossing the Saluda River. We soon reached the Ware Shoals Dam.

Ware Shoals Dam-002

Ware Shoals Dam

At the top of the dam water is diverted into a canal so that it can be routed through the power turbines below. With the recent rain lots of water was flowing over the dam.

Ware Shoals Dam-004

Ware Shoals Dam-006

An old masonry staircase led down to the river. As sign pointed to the “Fishing Trail” and “Canoe Portage.” I guess the portage was around the dam, but I couldn’t see where one would take out a canoe at the top of the dam. I guess it would be more obvious if I were on the river. Continue reading “Searching for Shoals Junction”

Renno and Stomp Springs

Renno Store

Last weekend Glynda and I headed down to Prosperity to visit our parents, and on the way back we stopped by a couple of remote places in Laurens County. These spots are places our family has visited long, long ago. Back then they were already abandoned, but there was still lots to see. Today, however, the communities of Stomp Springs and Renno are almost completely gone.

Both Renno and Stomp Springs are part of the Jacks Township. This area was one of the first settled in Laurens County, sometime in the mid 1700’s. Nearby Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church is the oldest in the county.

Our first stop was Stomp Springs. This was one of the old mineral springs resorts popular in the early 1900’s. Folks would come to these springs for the purported healing properties of the water from the springs. The water was even bottled and sold around the state. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find much on the history of the springs, other than a random reference to acknowledge that it once existed.  There is one brief reference in the 1909 Newberry Observer that a teacher from Bush River had just “returned from vacationing at Stomp Springs.” I also came across a couple of references from bottle collectors seeking the rare bottles from the springs. Continue reading “Renno and Stomp Springs”