The Rise of Santee on The Tobacco Trail

Tobaco Trail-3

For some reason the town of Santee intrigues me. It’s something of an anomaly compared to the other cities on the Tobacco Trail. There is no main street or central business district. Those features make me think that the town as, say, Orangeburg, Allendale or Bamberg. I decided to find out more about it. In the process of that research I discovered a new ghost town. Continue reading “The Rise of Santee on The Tobacco Trail”

The Tobacco Trail through Orangeburg County, Part 2

Tobaco Trail-1

I was out exploring the Tobacco Trail through South Carolina. So far I had started at the SC-GA border on the Savannah River and had crossed Allendale, Bamberg, and a good portion of Orangeburg Counties. Orangeburg is a large county, and is bordered by Lake Marion on the east. I was ready to check out the rest of the county, and see how far I could go on this day’s exploration. Continue reading “The Tobacco Trail through Orangeburg County, Part 2”

The Tobacco Trail through Allendale County

Crescent Motel Retro 1

I was out exploring Highway 301, the Tobacco Trail. I had driven down early in the morning, trying to resist distractions along the way. Once I finally reached my starting point I visited two old welcome centers, one still in operation, and one finding new life. Now it was time to continue eastward. However, my day was running out, and the trip was much quicker than I would have liked. Continue reading “The Tobacco Trail through Allendale County”

The Tobacco Trail – Getting Started

Highway 301-69

It was time to explore Highway 301. I had done the preliminary research and discovered the importance of The Tobacco Trail as a major route through South Carolina. I was ready to get out and actually take photos of some of these locations. However, I still had a bit of research to do.

The first thing I did was begin collecting old postcards and images from eBay and other sources. This would give me a comparison of what had been with what I would find. The next step was to mark potential locations in Google Earth. I traced the route of 301 through the state, marking motel and other locations as I spotted them. I also added any National Register or other interesting sites I found along the way. These were then uploaded to my GPS so I’d have them for ready reference. Continue reading “The Tobacco Trail – Getting Started”

The Tobacco Trail – An Introduction

Highway 301 Banner

On our last Lowcountry Unfiltered kayaking trip on the Savannah River Larry Easler and I drove back along Highway 301.  We were amazed at the number of old motels and abandoned tourist spots along the way.  I knew it had to have once been a major thoroughfare, now bypassed by I-95, but I wanted to know more about it.  What was its history?  How did this highway through one of the most desolate parts of South Carolina become such a major route?  The answer turned out to be much more interesting than I could have possibly imagined.

In a previous post I wrote about the old auto trails that predated the US Highway System, and the business associations that promoted these routes and the tourist amenities along them. Here’s the story about how Highway 301 became known as The Tobacco Trail, one of the most important north-south routes along the Eastern Seaboard. Continue reading “The Tobacco Trail – An Introduction”

The Mystery of Shiloh School

Shiloh-Queendale School-002

Back last fall we were presented with a mystery. Fellow photographer Hank Myers had contributed a photograph of an old brick school to the South Carolina Picture Project. The project editor, Tara Bailey, had initially labeled the school as Shiloh Rosenwald School. After a bit of research, the three of us decided that it wasn’t a Rosenwald school, so Tara edited the photo entry to reflect that new information.

Shiloh School

When Ken and I visited the location we had a couple of potential sites for the Rosenwald School. We checked those out, but couldn’t find any existing schools at those locations. Based on that information, the SCIWAY entry now says that the school is no longer extant.

…or is it? Continue reading “The Mystery of Shiloh School”

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

High Hills of the Santee Baptist Church

Dwight Moffitt and I were out exploring parts of the Cowasee Basin area. This area encompasses the river basins of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers where they come together to form the Santee. The basin name is an amalgam of the names of three rivers.

The area is rich in history and nature, and includes several plantations, ghost towns, and forgotten communities in Lower Richland, Western Sumter, and Southern Kershaw Counties. I’ve spent a fair amount of time kayaking its waters and hiking trails through here, but this time we were after ghost towns.

Earlier in the morning Dwight and I had explored the areas around the Eastover and Hopkins communities. We had already covered a LOT of territory, but our day was just getting started. The morning’s rambles had been confined to Lower Richland, but now we would be crossing the Wateree to explore the High Hills of the Santee area. Continue reading “Lower Richland and the High Hills of the Santee – Part Two”

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