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. 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.
14 thoughts on “Renno and Stomp Springs”
When I did a high school project about mineral springs around the Laurens area (over 43 years ago!), I remember someone telling me the name Stomp Springs came about from how the ground around the springs was “stomped” by the animals (white-tailed deer I guess) coming there to drink.
Tom, It is sad that there’s no history available on Stomp Springs. Back in the thirties-early forties, my grandfather, Jack, used to go to Stomp Springs and fill gallon glass jugs with the water to take home to drink for his health. When I was about 4 years old (around 1948-49) I remember going with my great aunt and my mom to see Stomp Springs. It seems to me that I remember seeing some of the buildings there. One in particular that I remember was a screened in bldg. perhaps a dining area…There were a good many people there, some to stay, some visiting. We live in Union Co. and I like to visit old sites, too. I don’t imagine this added much to the history, but perhaps gives a little perspective. Happy hunting!
Hi, Tom: Your blog was forwarded to me by my youngest son who works for the State of NC as an archivist. He knew I would be interested since I am writing a memoir. Our Bell ancestors settled in Laurens Co., at Renno having migrated in 1760 from Virginia. A Great Great Grandmother was a Jacks. Both my grandparents were born there (G’mother was a Hollingsworth.) They moved to Greenville where Granddaddy owned partnership in a wholesale grocery business and real estate. They moved back to Renno when they lost assets during the depression. The store you picutred was referred to as Cud’n Johnny Bell’s Store. The woods were full of our kin, distant and close. Maybe I’ll get my book published and you can read more memories of that area. Thanks for your research!!! Wonderful to read.
My grandmother was a Jacks and I am told she inherited Jacks township. There were some back taxes on the land and she decided not to pursue the venture. I would like to know more about this site. I currently live in Greenville county.
my husband and I purchased one of those interesting farmhouses you described and we are working very hard to restore it back to its original glory, we also own the old tip top fillin station and at some point we hope to restore it. We also feel it is a shame to lose the history of the area. The school belongs to our friend and neighbor who also were in the process of restoring it and it was lost in a terrible fire about 4 years ago and I doubt that they intend to lose the foundation as alot of blood sweat and pain oh yes and a lifetime of money goes into these projects. Our home is original and still has remaining slave quarters, what surprises us is the fact that we are not from around here and we feel more inclined to preserve the heritage of this state than the people who are from here. we have lived all over the united states, been around the world twice and would not want to be anywhere else but Renno… Maybe in time you will take another Sunday drive and be surprised..
Janet, I’m looking forward to another visit. It sounds like you guys are really making an investment in the area, and that’s wonderful. I hate that the old school burned. Unfortunately, that’s one of the hazards of having older structures like this.
Who actually owns the springs known as Stomp Springs???
My great grandfather is from Renno. He is burried in Sardis cemetary right off of highway 72. I remember my dad taking me to the old buildings and structures there when I was young. He actually has the registry for one of the stores and it lists the entire population as well as who owed what on credit. It is very informative. Also, I am almost certain he knows the location of the actual “spring” in Stomp Springs.
My grandparents used to take me to Stomp Springs. By then it was just a small pipe coming out of the ground. They filled gallon jugs with it. It tasted like Perrier.
I’m a collector of many odd things…..today I went through some stuff and found an old pocket knife that said STOMP SPRINGS RESORT so I looked it up end of story
My last visit to Stomp Spings was in 1968 to visit my Daddy who was living in one of the building there. I believe that he had lived at the springs for about two years as sort of a care taker. Also, my older sister lived there for several months while she and her husband were building their new house. They had just moved from Minnesota. My memories of Stomp Springs is that of about five to seven buildings, a swimming pool, and a couple of fishing ponds. My Dad told me that the springs resort was a US Army rehabilitation area with a medical clinic to treat soldiers returning from WW II. True or not, I do not know, but I trust the words of my Dad. He died in 1989.
Growing up (late 50’s early 60’s), I used to accompany my Jacks grandparents to the Jacks Reunion held at Stomp Springs every summer–I believe in August. Although a “ghost town” even then, around the springs there used to be picnic shelters, picnic tables and benches. The springs area was concrete with an old rusty pipe delivering the water from the springs. My brother and I thought the water tasted awful and we couldn’t understand why people came there and filled bottles with it.
After a delicious potluck lunch with numerous homemade southern dishes, the older folk would sit around talking about whatever old folks talked about while the children ran off exploring the woods and picking buckeyes (guaranteed to give us good luck) from the numerous buckeye trees around the area. When we were out of breath and soaking in sweat, we returned to the spring and put our bare feet in the trench where the cold water flowed from the pipe. It was a perfect way to cool off.
Later in the afternoon, we would load up the car, leave the spring and make our annual stop at the “Jacks Cemetery” aka. Phillips Methodist Cemetery and look at the old grave stones. My late father, used to have the overgrown cemetery cleared every year before the “modern-day” Jacks reunion that was held at Leesville Southern Methodist Church in Laurens. We haven’t had a Jacks reunion in several years. My grandparents and my father, as well as, many other Jacks are buried at the Leesville cemetery.
I haven’t returned to Stomp Springs since I was a child, but I have fun childhood memories of the place.
Thank you so much for posting information & photos on your blog. I have enjoyed reading & seeing your photos. As you’ve mentioned in the section about the Jacks Community, it’s often difficult to find any info about some of these small communities. I wanted to mention a name to you- if you’re looking at the old Young Brickhouse (aka the Riser house) @ the Laurens & Newberry line- Elizabeth “Lib” Shouse Pitts lives in Clinton- near the town- she lived in the old Young house as a child & her grandmother lived there as a young person, so Lib knows a great deal about the house, but also that area of the county. Lib is in her 80’s now, but has tons of genealogy research as well as local history information. The old Young house belonged to Lib’s brother who lived beside it- now deceased. But I believe Lib’s nephew now owns it. For contact, Lib’s husbands name is/was Sterling “Chick” Pitts. Again, Thank you!
As a child in the early-mid 1950’s, I attended more than one family reunion at Stomp Springs. The family of my great aunt, Maude Langston Bolt, it was. I believe her mother was a Jacks. It was a nice place in those days. Fond memories of good days……..