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.
Easter weekend. Laura had Friday and Monday off from Furman and decided that she needed to head back down to Florida to check on her mom. She decided that she needed some “sister time” with Amy to talk about how their mother’s care was going. That being the case, I decided to needed some “brother time” with Houston, so for the holiday weekend we headed in different directions.
I arrived at Houston’s farm below Watkinsville, Georgia about mid-morning on Friday. I was loaded to the gills with every toy we might need – kites, cameras, banjo, drums, recording gear, computers, and paddling gear. I was set for any eventuality. We would actually use quite a bit of that gear.
I had come to a roadblock on the Tobacco Trail, quite literally. The Highway 301 bridge across Lake Marion still exists, and still connects across the lake. However, in 1987 it was closed to automotive traffic, and now serves as a fishing bridge. If I were going to cross from Orangeburg into Clarendon County, I was going to have to do some backtracking.
For some reason the town of Santee intrigues me. It’s something of an anomaly compared to the other cities on the Tobacco Trail. There is no main street or central business district. Those features make me think that the town as, say, Orangeburg, Allendale or Bamberg. I decided to find out more about it. In the process of that research I discovered a new ghost town.
I was out exploring the Tobacco Trail through South Carolina. So far I had started at the SC-GA border on the Savannah River and had crossed Allendale, Bamberg, and a good portion of Orangeburg Counties. Orangeburg is a large county, and is bordered by Lake Marion on the east. I was ready to check out the rest of the county, and see how far I could go on this day’s exploration.