Wednesday was my one day this week without a singing engagement. I had originally planned to drive down to Columbia with Ken to see this Norman Rockwell exhibit, but we had some family business that needed tending. I was able to see my niece, Olivia, in her kindergarten Christmas play, and they didn’t have a single lobster.
I was able to wrap things up by lunch time, and I wanted to get out and do some photography. Even though we didn’t have time for Columbia, I called Ken to see if we could do something local. We decided to check out the South Carolina Botanical Garden at Clemson.
As we approach the winter solstice it seems that the entire afternoon is given over to long shadows. For a photographer that means that I have excellent lighting conditions on some of my subjects but others are terribly backlit. The shorter days also mean less time to ramble about and get photos. When we reached the parking area at about 2:00 the lighting was already dramatic. We took a few shots of the pergola walkway and old caboose.
One of the main reasons for coming to a garden is to see what’s in bloom. This time of year that would have to be camellias. There were several varieties in bloom at the garden along the camellia trail.
Ken and I continued walking around the garden. There is a new nature trail following one of the streams. The concept is to follow South Carolina biomes from the mountains to the coast. It seemed similar to the concept we used in our S.C.A.L.E. outdoor classroom in Spartanburg 5. At the top of the trail is the old Hunt Cabin, moved to the location, and with porches added. Water features have been incorporated into the area to augment the water from the natural stream. Below the cabin are the remains of an old mill that had been on the stream.
Along the stream at the bottom of the SC trail is a stacked-stone spring house. The house looks something like a beehive, and has an oculus over the spring.
At the spring house the trail branches in several directions. In the middle of the trail is a stone structure which can only be described as a throne. Ken said that it had been something else. Whatever it’s previous incarnation, it was now a throne, and so we had to sit in it. I told Ken it looked more like the command chair from the Enterprise, so he tried to do his best Captain Pickard impression.
At the juncture of two streams are a series of stones reminiscent of Stonehenge. I had remembered an elaborate vine sculpture at this place, but it seemed to be missing. Ken said that many of the garden sculptures were designed to degrade naturally over time. Apparently this had been one of those. Even so, the stones remained as a cool landmark.
We slowly made our way back to the car, and contemplated our next venue. Light was fading fast, so it couldn’t be too far away. We decided to see what was happening in Pendleton.
Our first stop was St. Paul’s Episcopal on the east side of the town. The congregation was founded in 1816, and this structure was built in 1822, making it one of the oldest churches in the Upstate.
A brick walkway leads to the Mecca of the area, Thomas Clemson’s grave. However, along the way are equally interesting graves – at least, interesting to me. The family of Bernard Bee all had signature stones by W. T. White.
White even provided a small stone for an 8 month old infant. This family must really have been well-off.
Thomas Clemson’s grave wasn’t that remarkable. His wife, Anna, though had a more elaborate vault tomb with the inscription “Erected by her disconsolate husband.”
There was also the grave of Patrick Calhoun.
We wandered the grounds for a bit. There were several other W. T. White stones, as well as stones and historic markers for other prominent families.
Ken and I headed back over to the Pendleton town square. On the north side of the square is the old Hunter Store, which has been renovated and is now used by the Pendleton Historic Society. We decided to visit.
There was a wealth of information about the areas I’m researching. I took time to photograph some documents for later reading, but I’m definitely going to have to come back.
From Pendleton we headed on over to the Old Stone Church. I was lucky enough to visit when the caretaker was present once before, and got a tour of the interior. No such luck this time. Even so, the now late afternoon light cast a perfect golden glow across the old cemetery and church.
As with Saint Paul’s, there were many very old stones. Some of these were even older, though, especially the signature ones. The tomb of Andrew Pickens, Revolutionary War hero, was carved by John Hall of Charleston.
One vault had an unusual iron road. I suspect that this was for hanging flowers or some other ornamentation, rather than part of a “safety coffin.”
We walked on up to the church, proper, and took a few shots in the dying afternoon sunlight.
The sun was going down, and we were losing light. It was too late to hit another venue, but it was also too early for dinner. We decided to grab a beer and some nachos at a local watering hole and call it a day I’d say it was a good one.