The Curse of Boynton House

The Curse of Boynton House

Boynton House sits abandoned and forlorn in a remote corner of the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area, part of the ACE Basin. It was once the main house for a vast rice plantation. Now the wooden filigree is falling apart, and bat guano fills several of the rooms. On this particular trip, we also found out that it is cursed.

Normally we do a paddling trip the second Saturday of each month with the Lowcountry Unfiltered group. This time we decided to do something different. One of our members, Rob Dewig, has a new job with the Colleton County Museum. We wanted to check out his new digs. We also planned to do a bit of bike riding in the ACE Basin.

I got up far too early on Saturday morning and drove on down to the Lowcountry. Five other hearty souls joined me at the main kiosk for Donelley. It sounded like a disciples convention – Thomas (me), Matthew, James, John, James, and a young guy whose name starts out C-h-r-i-s-t. (Christian, Jimmy’s son). Yeah, we were in for trouble of Biblical proportions. Continue reading “The Curse of Boynton House”

A Trip to Madison

New Madison Post Office

Saturday morning we wanted to get out of the house for a bit. So, we had a big breakfast, loaded everyone into the car, and headed west.

Laura’s mother had never seen Clemson, so that was going to be one of our stops. I also had a potential ghost town I wanted to check out. Laura’s desires were simple – she wanted a hamburger somewhere. The only problem was that we had a time limit. Laura and I had to be back for a dinner party that evening.

We pretty much stuck to our plan. We drove straight to Clemson and drove around the campus. We also drove through the state botanical garden. There didn’t appear to be much in bloom, so we didn’t stop and get out.

After touring Clemson, we headed south on Highway 76 until we got to the Old Stone Church. Last time I was here there was a maintenance man on duty and he let me into the church. No such luck this time. The place was locked up and I could only take photos from the outside.

Old Stone Church

Old Stone Church Continue reading “A Trip to Madison”

Congaree and Lower Richland

Starting out on the Congaree Boardwalk

Normally on a second Saturday I’d be off with the guys from Lowcountry Unfiltered. They had a great trip planned for today, but due to various reasons I wasn’t going to be able to join them. Instead, I teamed up with Dwight, his wife Sue, and son Adam to explore Congaree National Park and a bit of Lower Richland County.

Lower Richland County is located in a wedge formed by the Congaree and Wateree Rivers up to their confluence, where they become the Santee River. The area is also known as the “Cowasee” Basin, a name created by combining names of those rivers. Congaree National Park makes up most of the Cowasee Basin, but there are also lots of historical locations, including one interesting ghost town.

I headed down to Congaree on this clear, cool Saturday morning. I arrived at the park early to find an already packed parking lot. There were groups of Boy Scouts, as well as other tour groups gathering. I have to admit – I tend to be selfish with my wilderness experiences. I don’t mind others around, but lots of loud people make it hard to see wildlife. I was a bit worried.

Congaree Crowds Gather

Dwight, Sue, and Adam arrived, and soon we were off, headed down the high boardwalk. The plan was fairly simple. We would stick to the trails and boardwalks for the most part, but we wanted to do a little bushwhacking. We also wanted to find at least one champion tree. Continue reading “Congaree and Lower Richland”

McCormick County Photo Trek

Mount Carmel Presbyterian Lomo

Houston and I had a day off in common, so it was time for one of our mid-winter photo treks. I really like exploring the area south of Abbeville, McCormick, and Edgefield. That part of the state is rather remote and rich in history, including our family history. Even though we’ve been down that way several times, I never seem to cover all of it, so it was ripe as another target.

Our exploration group was larger than usual. In addition to the two of us, Houston’s wife, Lynda, was coming along, as was our sister Glynda. The plan was to meet Houston and Lynda Sunday morning in the parking lot of Calhoun Falls Pentecostal Holiness Church. From there we would head south and see what we would find. Our route would take us past paddling venues, ghost towns, fire towers, and several important genealogy spots. It had the makings of a perfect day. Continue reading “McCormick County Photo Trek”

Laurens County Photo Trek

I had Monday off as part of the 4th of July weekend. My brother, Houston, and my sister, Glynda, also had the day available, so we decided to go on another photo exploration. This time our target was our old stomping grounds around Laurens, South Carolina.

Houston had some specific locations he wanted to see if we could find. Most of these were in the old Long Branch area, but we knew we would get sidetracked in route. I picked up Glynda and Houston at the family home in Gray Court. Armed with GPS, maps, and more cameras than we had passengers, we set out.

We actually didn’t get very far. At the south end of Gray Court is the historic farm area that the Gray Court-Owings Historical Society has put together. Glynda and Houston weren’t aware of this place, so we spent a good bit of time looking at the old cabins and farm implements and taking pictures of these.

Continue reading “Laurens County Photo Trek”

Skyuka Road

Skyuka Road

Tryon Mountain looms large over travelers on I-26. I knew there was a road to the top somewhere, and a bit of research revealed it to be Skyuka Mountain Road. I decided to take one of my days of spring break to go exploring and see if I could find it. That, I did, and the day turned out to be a trek through the North Carolina mountains, through Tryon, Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Black Mountain, and Asheville.

I started out with a straightforward drive to Tryon – no stops at Campbell Covered Bridge or any of the other interesting points along the way. When I got to Tryon I noticed an antiquarian bookstore on the main street, and had to pull in. There were lots of theological texts, so I wondered if there were any hymnals. The proprietor soon came out, and I discovered that this is the same bookstore that I used to visit down at Stony Point near Greenwood. Continue reading “Skyuka Road”

Exploring L. A. (Lower Anderson)

Old School ReDynamix HDR

I hadn’t been out on a photo ramble in a long time. So, Saturday morning I grabbed my cameras and headed out. I only had a vague target in mind (as usual). I knew I wanted rural scenery so I could capture some old farm houses. I wanted to try some new post-processing techniques. My route took me down across Southern Greenville County and finally into Lower Anderson.

This time of year the lighting is always oblique. You don’t have to wait until the “golden hours” just after sunrise or right before sunset to get some interesting shots. The day was clear and bright, and it looked like the lighting would produce some interesting shots.

My first stop was in Connestee at McBee Chapel (Map). I had photographed it many times before, but I thought I would see what other angles I could bring to it. I don’t think they are still having regular services here, but I would love to attend one when they have a special service.

Continue reading “Exploring L. A. (Lower Anderson)”

Oconee Photo Safari

Geezers

When I knew that Laura was going to be out of town this weekend, I contacted a couple of my Chorale/Furman friends to see if they would be interested in a photo safari. Ken Cothran took me up on the challenge, so early Saturday morning I picked him up at his place in Clemson and we headed out.

Our first stop was the town of Pendleton. Once the major city in the Upstate, the whole area is now on the Register of Historic Places. We walked around the little town square and took a few shots.

Red, White, and BluePendleton ArchitectureCannon BarrelKen shooting a cannon

Continue reading “Oconee Photo Safari”

Peak Experience

Peak Trestle

Conditions were ideal for a photo trek. I had a day of vacation I needed to use before the madness of summer system installations started up. Laura had left town for a conference, so I was on my own. And I had gotten new information about an interesting place to visit. My main target for the day would be the old railroad trestle that crosses the Broad River near Peak, SC.

Jay Hope had e-mailed me earlier in the week with a link to a story in The State newspaper about completion of the aforementioned bridge and opening of a new section of the Palmetto Trail. Jay’s family has been working to restore the nearby Hope School, which is one of the historic Rosenwald schools. The trail passes through Jay’s family land and close to the school, and he knew that I had an in the area, so he tries to keep me informed. I followed up on his suggestion, and after getting Laura off to the airport, headed south. Continue reading “Peak Experience”

Family Haunts

Road to the Home Place

I have always enjoyed looking at the photos of Scott West (South Carolina’s Northern Kingdom). Scott and I seem to cover some of the same territory in Laurens County, and I’ve always admired his gutsy trespassing to get great shots of the interiors of old abandoned houses and interesting places.

Recently, Scott posted a couple of pictures of the old Poole Homestead in the Long Branch Community of Laurens County. I immediately recognized the place as being in one of the old photos my Dad has. After a couple of message exchanges it turns out that we do have some distant family connections (don’t ALL Southerners?) and that some of his family had attended Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness, where my father had pastored years ago.

That brings us to this Tuesday. My mother had taken a trip to visit her sisters in North Carolina, so my Dad was on his own for the week. Since I was on spring break, I decided to head down and hang out with him, and see if I could find this photo of the Poole Homestead. I did find it, and we decided to take a tour of some of the old family haunts throughout Newberry and Laurens Counties.

Continue reading “Family Haunts”