Ghost towns in Washington State? Yes, please! With all of the settling in and touristy stuff we’ve been doing I had not taken time for a good photo ramble. Laura had some Furman work to do, the weather was perfect, so I decided that I head off in search of the ghost town of Skagit City.
I was out and about exploring the Pee Dee region of the state, searching for ghost towns. I’d already found a couple of potentials – Ella’s Grove, Centenary, and Eulonia – and I’d stopped by the Marion County Museum and had lunch on Main Street in Marion. Now it was on to a couple more remote locations, and eventually find my way back home.
I had one day to explore the ghost towns of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. So far I’d visited several potential locations, including Ella’s Grove, Centenary, and Eulonia. On these trips I always like to stop in at the local museum or historical society to see what additional information they might have. With that goal in mind, I set off for the Marion County Museum in downtown Marion.
Yes, I’m still working on my ghost towns list. However, I have some serious gaps in the places I’ve visited. The eastern part of the state toward Myrtle Beach is uncharted territory to me. I decided that before I move out west and seriously start on this book I needed to make at least one visit to this area.
A few weeks ago I gave my talk on the Hidden Towns Under South Carolina Lakes at the Taylors Branch of the Greenville County Library. After the talk someone came up to me and asked if I’d ever heard of the “Kingdom of Happy Land.” I had not. After chatting for a bit I decided I needed to see if I could find this kingdom. Last Thursday things had finally settled down from all our traveling and the Fourth holiday, so it was a perfect time for an expedition. I went to see if I could find the Kingdom of Happy Land.
Several months ago I received and e-mail from Kes Crumpler. Kes is with the Lake Murray Power Squadron, and asked if I’d be willing to give a talk to their group about ghost towns under South Carolina’s lakes. Since I’m no stranger to public speaking, I said, “Sure!” Although I was completely unsure as to what a “power squadron” was.
Ever since I found out about it I’ve wanted to visit the location of Andersonville. I was finally given that opportunity this week, as fellow paddlers Alan Russell and Jim Leavell joined me for an early week trek out to the island. With this week’s paddle I was able to add another check to my list of South Carolina ghost towns.
Stephen and I had done some previous scouting in this area. Stephen’s brother-in-law, Jim, owns a barbecue place nearby, and he provided some valuable information about the area. Since that time I had been looking for the optimum launch site for a trek over to Andersonville.
Dwight and I had a day available in common, so we decided to do some exploring. I’ve been trying to work through my list of locations of ghost towns, seeing if there is anything of interest at these locations – ruins, an old church or cemetery, or some actual buildings. I had several possible sites in Lower Richland, Sumter, and Kershaw Counties.
As is typical with one of our expeditions, we didn’t get to all of the spots we had marked on the map, and we found a few new interesting places along the way. Plus, I got a chance to try out my new GPS (which is basically a larger version of my old GPS.)
First on my list of places was Minervaville. It had an interesting, but somewhat brief history in the early 1800’s. I really didn’t hold out a hope of finding anything there, but wanted to check it out anyway.
“It is hard to understand why our town must be destroyed to make a bomb that will destroy someone else’s town that they love as much as we love ours. But we feel that they picked not just the best spot in the US, but in the world.”
Sign created by Bonner Smith
I was out on a photo expedition, looking for several ghost towns in the Savannah River Basin. Earlier in the day I had visited the lost town of Hamburg, South Carolina. Now I was after several of the towns that had been displaced by construction of the Savannah River Plant.
Earlier this year my friends Tara and Robin from Sciway.net sent me a DVD on the history of the “Atomic Towns.” “Displaced: The Unexpected Fallout from the Cold War” was a Southern Lens production from SCETV, and told the story of Ellenton, Dumbarton, and several of the other farming communities in the area. I knew about the towns and had them on my list of ghost towns for inclusion in my book, but didn’t thing there was a reason to visit because of lack of access. Watching the video changed my mind, though. Since I was already down here I had to check it out.