My how time flies. Hard to believe that it’s been two years since Alan and I first explored the ghost town of Chappells, SC. We made our exploration after a paddling trip on the Saluda River, and I did a follow-up post on the history of the town.
Last year fellow explorer Mark Elbrecht visited the town during winter, and was able to get some clearer photographs of the ruins.
One other item Mark found was a photograph of the old Chappells Depot from an article in the Newberry Observer…
As we walked down the old main street and looked at the ruins on our visit, I wondered if any other photographs existed of the town in its heyday. Apart from Mark’s discovery of the depot photo, I had not seen any other photos of the old town. That all changed this past week.
Over the weekend I was contacted by Barbara Holloway Smith, a longtime resident of Chappells and relation of the Holloway’s that provided Mark’s depot photo. Though she no longer lives there, her family had been in the area for generations, and she had many photographs and artifacts relating to the town. Over e-mail she graciously shared several photographs of the old town, and gave me permission to share those here along with her story.
First up is a photo of the old railroad trestle over the river next to the Southern Railroad emblem…
I remarked in one of my posts that Chappells had suffered substantially with storms, floods, and fire, and those disasters led to the demise of the town. This is born out in several of the photos that Barbara sent. This next photo shows her grandfather, Dr. “Willie” William Osce Holloway standing in the doorway of his store in Old Chappells when the Saluda River flooded in 1927:
She also sent two photos of the Chappells School, one showing the school damaged by a tornado in 1923…
…and one showing the rebuilt school…
According to Barbara,
The tornado of April 4, 1923 took off the top story of the brick roof and knocked over the big columns out front. One of the teachers was standing in the front door when John Coleman pulled her back from the doorway just before the tornado hit. The school was rebuilt and in the photo, you’ll see the lighter line of brick where it was built back.
The last photo that she sent shows E. L. Cook standing in front of the Farmer’s Bank of Chappells. The bank closed in 1931 after the stock market crash of 1929.
Barbara was also kind enough to share a history of the town which was given as part of a talk she gave to the Newberry and Edgefield Genealogy Societies. I’ve made that history available as a Google Doc, and embedded it below…
Now I want to go back and revisit Chappells. It is a quintessential ghost town, and I appreciate Barbara’s willingness to share its history.
5 thoughts on “More on Chappells”
I also thank you for sharing, Barbara!
Newberry County’s GIS (http://22.214.171.124/newberrygis/) shows a few people own property on Old Main St., and that a Holloway still owns land in the area.
Ditto on going back, plus checking out the “Old Town” area a few miles to the east.
This is great, especially “The Story of old Chappells.” We should go back before the leaves return.
Lived in Chappells first 14 years of my life 1945-1945 and remember the remains of many of the businesses. I have many fond memories of Chappells, thanks.
Lived in Chappells for almost two years when my twin sister and I attended the Chappells school. I am looking for a picture of the school. I understand that it no longer exists. Lived there during WW2 and attended 5th and 6th grades there.
My mother was Mary Helen Chappell. Her father was Thomas Henry Chappell. The family moved to Newberry in 1928 to be with other Chappell family already residing there. She was born in 1914 and started high school in Newberry in 1928. She attended Newberry College 1932-36. She never spoke of her family or why they left, but reading this rich historical account tells me why. Thank you for giving me such a detailed history of my family that I was missing. I still have a couple of pieces of furniture that came from that era that were my grandparent’s.