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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Bound for the Promised Land

What more could you want?

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand and cast a wishful eye
to Caanan’s fair and happy land where my possessions lie.

I am bound for the promised land, I’m bound for the promised land.
Oh, who will come and go with me, I am bound for the promised land.

The trip was going to be a ghost-hunting expedition for Eric Rogers and me. Eric and I had finally met offline, and were planning a joint expedition to the haunted Rock House just south of Greenwood. Since we would be down in that area, we had also plotted out some other interesting locations. I had flagged one little town, Promised Land, SC, with the comment, “With a name like that, how could we NOT go there?”

Eric was not able to make the trip, but my brother Houston and sister Glynda were able to go. Houston took on the role of Aaron, the spokesperson, with Glynda as Miriam, and me as Moses, leading and documenting our trip. So early Sunday morning we found a suitable radio evangelist and headed for the Promised Land. We hoped we would make it all the way, further than our biblical counterparts. Continue reading “Bound for the Promised Land”

The Oconee Bale Trail

Bales of Hay 2 HDR

Laura had a quick business trip to Chicago, so Glynda and I decided to get out and see the countryside. I had spotted an advertisement for the Oconee Bale Trail, a series of decorated hay bales through that county, and it looked like as good an excuse as anything to get out and about.

Glynda hadn’t been with my on one of my photo rambles before. As with most of my family, she loves photography, too. She has also inherited our parents love of exploring backroads. While growing up, instead of calling her by her name Glynda Jo, my father called her “Glynda Go.” She had just finished her last day at the Boys Home of the South on Friday, so this was going to be a celebratory get-away. Continue reading “The Oconee Bale Trail”