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 Golden Llama


I was out running errands and wanted to grab a bite to eat. The same old same old just wasn’t doing it for me. I wanted something more…interesting. How to accomplish that without risking bodily harm was beyond me. I was about to give up and go to the new Hardees that opened at Pelham and East North Street. That’s when I saw it. A sign saying that the Golden Llama is now open in the BiLo shopping center at that intersection. I had to check it out. To be honest, I didn’t know if it was a restaurant or a weird gift shop. Continue reading “The Golden Llama”

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”

Sparkleberry at Low Water

Sparkleberry Swamp with LCU-133

It was a Second Saturday and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered outing. This time we planned to paddle Sparkleberry Swamp. Our group had paddled here a couple of times before, and I’ve been here lots of times, most recently with Dwight and his son Adam back in June. I’ve already written huge amounts about what a magical place it is to paddle. This time we had some newbies with us, and this time we experienced the swamp as we never had before. Continue reading “Sparkleberry at Low Water”

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”

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