Thursday morning had come and gone and I’d already had a full day. I had given my talk at the SCASL conference, but it was too nice of day to just hang out at home. I was in the mood to do more rambling. I had seen an article about a new kayak ramp down in Pelzer and decided that would be my target for the afternoon.
I started out in Piedmont. Since I was scouting put-ins I drove across the river to find the kayak access I’d used once before back in 2010. This access had NOT been improved since then. It was still trashy, and the turn-off from the road was so rough I didn’t even make the attempt.
I drove back over the river and through the town. It looks like just about all of the businesses in the old downtown were closed up. It’s a shame. This could be a cool place for revitalization.
I just wasn’t inspired to take any photos, even with the new lens. I continued south on SC 20 until I saw the sign for Rehoboth School Road. At the same time, my GPS starting binging. I have it set to alert me when I get within a mile of an old school. I hadn’t found or photographed this one, so I set off in search of it.
I’m not really sure why I hadn’t found this school previously. It was very obvious when I came upon it.
The school’s architecture was very similar to the old Liberty Colored High School, now the Rosewood Community Center, which Ed Clem and I had found on our ramble back in 2011.
This image from the Greenville County GIS website shows the design of the school. My guess is that classrooms were in the long section to the right, and a cafeteria or auditorium was on the L section on the left part of the building.
It looked like the building had been used as a private residence, but was now unoccupied. There was still a small satellite TV dish in the back. The county GIS site listed several private owners. Apart from the typical newspaper announcements about PTA meetings and events, I haven’t found much else about the school.
The Rehoboth community looked somewhat like a mill village, but without the mill. I found Rehoboth Baptist Church perched prominently on a hill.
I took the Old Pelzer Road south until I reached the Eastview community. Eastview Baptist was rather non-descript, but the old church across the street caught my eye. It was unoccupied, and seemed to be falling into ruin.
At one point there used to be a school in the community. The school is no longer extant, but I did find a Greenville News article stating that the property was abandoned and placed for sale by the district in 1962.
I crossed the river and entered Pelzer. There are lots of interesting old buildings in this community, but the old Pelzer Lyceum is one of the most striking.
I had identified this as an old school, and its architecture would give one that impression. I do remember that Pelzer EMS used to operate out of this building, but it has been unoccupied for many years. It was built by the Pelzer Mill in 1890 as a “lyceum,” which is a type of school, but this building is best known as the old Pelzer Hospital. There is a group led by Will Raglund called “Restore Pelzer” that is trying to raise funds and restore it.
Across the street from the Lyceum is the old Pelzer Elementary and Auditorium. The school had been in use as a district office. It was in good shape, and looked like it might still be in use.
Eventually I made it to my target, Timmerman Landing. To get to the landing you have to drive through one of the mill villages on twisting, confusing roads. I had visited this spot previously and found it trashed like the one in Piedmont. Upstate Forever had done a fantastic job of cleaning up the place. There was a nice new parking lot and a deck overlooking the river.
The ramp itself is identical to the one up at the Dolly Cooper Park (which has since closed.) It looks like it would be great for anyone, not just handicapped patrons.
I definitely want to check this out. I just wish it were at a more scenic paddling venue. However, I’ve never kayaked this section of the river, and it might surprise me. I just wish that there was one of these at some place like Jocassee.
I headed on back home. Laura had to teach evening labs, so after catching my breath I headed to Downtown Alive. It was a nice evening, and I ran into several from the morning’s conference.
It was a great way to finish up a most excellent day.
One thought on “Piedmont to Pelzer”
The Pelzer auditorium is of course where at the Mill Town Players perform. Quite a good theater program going there. The Old mill office down near the river is still there, and is one of those buildings slated for renovation as the money comes in. Some Money is in. My uncle, Larry Coker, is active in the organization that is restoring Buildings in Pelzer.