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A random collection of rants, reviews, and miscellaneous thoughts on everything from instructional technology to local restaurants.
Last weekend Glynda and I headed down to Prosperity to visit our parents, and on the way back we stopped by a couple of remote places in Laurens County. These spots are places our family has visited long, long ago. Back then they were already abandoned, but there was still lots to see. Today, however, the communities of Stomp Springs and Renno are almost completely gone.
Both Renno and Stomp Springs are part of the Jacks Township. This area was one of the first settled in Laurens County, sometime in the mid 1700′s. Nearby Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church is the oldest in the county.
Our first stop was Stomp Springs. This was one of the old mineral springs resorts popular in the early 1900′s. Folks would come to these springs for the purported healing properties of the water from the springs. The water was even bottled and sold around the state. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find much on the history of the springs, other than a random reference to acknowledge that it once existed.Â There is one brief reference in the 1909 Newberry Observer that a teacher from Bush River had just “returned from vacationing at Stomp Springs.” I also came across a couple of references from bottle collectors seeking the rare bottles from the springs.
Today’s reality of the area, however, is quite depressing. When I visited several years ago, Stomp Springs Circle was a trashy mess. It looked like some attempt had been made to clean it up, but it was still not some place you would want to hang about.
The USGS topo map of the area indicates several structures on the loop…
When we drove through, none of these could be seen. Any remnant of a resort was gone.
We abandoned Stomp Springs and headed toward the town of Renno.
Renno is a true ghost town, and as such I’ll try to follow the outline I presented in my last post…
Renno is in the Jacks Township of eastern Laurens County, latitude 34.4729094 longitude -81.7689954.
All remaining structures are on private property. However, what’s left is visible from the main road.
What was there:
Renno was a farming town serviced by the Seaboard Rail line. According to a National Register historical survey of the area, at it’s peak there were “three general stores, a colored store, a blacksmith shop, a cotton gin, a telephone office (operated in a local residence), a movie theatre (short lived), and a passenger and freight depot.”
In 1912 a two-story school was built to serve the area. The lower floor held classrooms, and the upper floor was an auditorium that also served as a community meeting area.
According to the survey, most of the farmers lost their land during the Great Depression. Many moved to the larger cities of Clinton and Laurens and began working in the mills. The farms were eventually sold to large timber concerns, and the town died out.
What’s there now:
Any vestige of a railroad stop has vanished. All that remains is part of a wall of one of the stores. The store ruins have collapsed even further in between this past visit and the one from several years ago. Here’s what it looked like then…
..and this is what it looks like now…
The old school hasn’t fared any better. Apparently it burned sometime in the last half-century, and only ruins were left. This is what it looked like several years ago…
..and this is all that’s left now…
There were mobile homes to the immediate left and right of the school ruins, so I doubt that even the brick foundations will remain for long.
There were several interesting old farm houses in the area, but these were overgrown for the most part, and had No Trespassing signs everywhere. Any resemblance to a town is completely gone.
So, Renno and Stomp Springs are no more, and it looks like soon the only thing left will be the name of an area, and a name on a map. It would have been interesting to have some of the old structures preserved, but they have long-since been too far gone. Oh well. If you want to see what’s left of the town, you better visit quickly.