Taylors Renaissance and Textures

Taylors Mill-39
Taylors Mill with Texture

As most readers by now know, I am fascinated with old ghost towns. However, what I like even more is when I find an area that was previously in decay now coming back to life. Such is the case with the old Taylors Mill in downtown Taylors.

The phrase “downtown Taylor’s may not have much meaning to Greenvillians. Most think of Taylors as a nebulous area somewhere on the Eastside of town before you get to Greer. There is actually a downtown area, just off of Wade Hampton Boulevard, beyond Taylors First Baptist Church. There are a few storefronts, but the most prominent features are the old Taylors High School, now converted into a Fine Arts Academy and Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the old Taylors Textile Mill. Continue reading “Taylors Renaissance and Textures”

Super Simple Timelines

I’m just getting around to writing about this, and I’m probably late to the party as far as this product is concerned, but I’ve discovered a very simple, very effect way to create timelines for websites.

Back in the 1990s Tom Snyder Productions made some of the coolest EdTech software around. One of my favorites was Timeliner. Users could input dates and events, then print out long timelines on fan-fold printer paper with a dot-matrix printer. Along with Print Shop, it was one of my go-to tools for classroom printing.

Timeliner is still around, and has been updated to take advantage of modern technology. I haven’t played with it in ages, so I don’t know what the new version has, and, quite frankly, I no longer need to. I’ve found a much, much better (and free!) product in Northwestern University’s Knight Lab’s Timeline JS. Continue reading “Super Simple Timelines”

Artisan Pizza Night

My “Rustica” Pizza

One of our favorite pizza places in town is Brixx Pizza. It’s a regional chain that features brick oven artisan pizzas that are quite tasty. Laura usually gets the “Mexican”, which has chicken and jalapenos. I usually get the “Rustica” which has prosciutto, artichokes, mushrooms, and garlic cloves.

The only problem is that Brixx Pizza is located in the Shops at Gridlock on Woodruff Road, a place one does not drive if one wishes to keep one’s sanity. So, we decided to see if we could replicate our favorite pizzas at home. Continue reading “Artisan Pizza Night”

Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 3

Mountville Buildings

So far our crew from the Laurens County and Clinton Museums had visited several locations in Cross Hill (Part 1, Part 2). Now we were on to our last stop, a true ghost town.

While Cross Hill is not yet a ghost town, Mountville has reached that stage. I hesitated to add it to my list because there is still an active post office, a couple of active churches, and I have cousins and friends with Mountville mailing addresses. It is still a viable community. However, any semblance of a town is long gone.

We pulled up to what is left of the center of commerce – three lone buildings just off of Highway 72.


All that remains is the grange building, a warehouse, and an old store front. We took some time to explore as best we could. Continue reading “Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 3”

Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 2

Cross Hill School
Cross Hill School

Our group from the Laurens County and Clinton Museums had already spent considerable time exploring the little town of Cross Hill. The day was early, and we still had more to see.

Cross Hill School

Just off of Main Street, northeast of the town center, is the old Cross Hill School. The two-story school building is located behind the fire department and a small park, where it sits abandoned with broken windows and locked, boarded doors. We pulled in to take a look around.

Cross Hill School-012

The back part of the building had collapsed completely and there was yellow caution tape marking off the area. In addition to broken windows, the whole building was covered in vines.

Cross Hill School-003
Cross Hill School-004 Continue reading “Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 2”

Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 1

Leaman Brothers Store
Leaman Brothers Store

Saturday morning I joined several folks from the Laurens County Museum and the Clinton Museum for a trek across lower Laurens County. Our route would take us through the communities of Cross Hill and Mountville. Both museums have recently received grants to develop tours of the area, and our intent was to find and document locations that might be included.

On this day the trek party would consist of Mary Ellen Lives and Julius Bolt from the Laurens County Museum and Elaine Thorpe from the Clinton Museum. Sean Green from Pickens would serve as the official photographer. I was tagging along to add my expertise in GIS/mapping and media development. I would be taking photos, too, but mainly I was just thrilled to be included, and looking forward to gaining access to some locations I’d not been able to visit.

Clinton Museum

We gathered at the Clinton Museum, located in an old house on North Broad Street just north of the town square. Sean was already waiting for us. Sean is another one of those folks I’ve known online for a long time, but had never met in person. His Flickr stream came to my attention when he was finding some interesting abandoned places, some of which led to ghost towns that I’ve documented. He also has an extensive collection of contra dancing photos. Laura and I used to dance all the time, and now Sean is documenting those dances.

Soon we were joined by Mary Ellen, Julius, and Elaine. I had already met these folks, and we had met a few weeks back for an initial discussion about how they wanted to create maps for the tours. The initial tours would be walking tours because the grant was for health-related activities. Today we were looking at areas we might want to include if we were to develop driving tours as well. Continue reading “Visiting Cross Hill and Mountville – Part 1”

Quick Trip to Donnelley and Beidler

Alligator B&W
Alligator at Donnelley Wildlife Management Area

I did it. I pulled the trigger on a new super zoom telephoto lens for my camera. I have a very old Celestron C90 telescope that I can use with my camera and a T-Mount. The magnification is amazing, but it’s almost impossible to focus properly, and I have to put my camera in full manual mode. That makes it difficult to use for wildlife photography.

Nikon D50 attached to Celestron C-90

About this time last year I had rented a Tamron 200-500mm lens and we made a rainy trek down to the ACE Basin and Beidler Forest. Even though it rained most of our trip, I got some great shots that weekend, and enjoyed using the longer lens. I started saving my pennies so that I could get one.

I didn’t get the Tamron, but found a Sigma 150-500 that I liked that also had image stabilization. It arrived last week.

New lens - Sigma 150-500mm

Since it was the start of Laura’s spring break, we decided it was time for another Lowcountry birding trek to get the new lens a trial run. We repeated our trip almost exactly except without the rain, visiting the Donnelley Wildlife Management Area in the ACE Basin on Monday and the Francis Beidler Forest on Tuesday. Continue reading “Quick Trip to Donnelley and Beidler”

Edisto from Whetstone to Greenpond

Edisto from Whetstone to Greenpond-094
Oxbow Lake on the Edisto River

Another second Saturday and it was time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered trip. It was also time to get back on the water. While our group loves any kind of exploration, from swamp stomping to biking, our preferred form of travel has always been water.

We bounced several ideas for the March trip back and forth. Finally, we settled on our old standby, the Edisto River. We would be doing a new stretch (for us) from Whetstone Landing down to Greenpond Landing. The route would be about 13.6 miles. Continue reading “Edisto from Whetstone to Greenpond”