Sunday afternoon I finally got a chance to visit the History Museum of Travelers Rest. The museum has been open since the end of August, and is open Saturday and Sunday, but this was the first chance I’d had to visit.
The museum is located on the south end of Traveler’s Rest on Highway 276. The building was originally a grocery store on South Main Street, but was moved to this location near the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
When I arrived there was one car near the building, and a couple of cars parked near the trail. I went on in, and I felt a bit lit I was interrupting a meeting. Three people were sitting around a table holding a discussion. They assured me that I wasn’t interrupting, so started browsing through the exhibits.
The museum was just one room with several display cabinets. I recognized several prominent names in the displays – McCarrell, Batson, etc. There were displays that described various businesses, sports, and community concerns.
There were also several books for sale, mostly by Mann Batson.
I spoke with Dot Bishop, who was acting as curator this particular day. Jim Morgan was one of the other patrons. Dot said that the exhibits would be rotated on a regular basis.
Dot pointed out several things of interest in the displays that I might have otherwise missed. For example, Dot told me that Travelers Rest was originally about six miles north of its current location. She also said that at one time the town split into two incorporated towns. The Town of Athens was north of Travelers Rest, starting roughly where Sunrift Adentures is now located. It had its own commercial district, telephone exchange, and depot. Dot also pointed out the old chalk board that once indicated the schedule for the old Swamp Rabbit Railroad.
Lynn Duncan, another curator for the museum, soon joined the group. It was mentioned that the old steam engine for the Swamp Rabbit was going to be sold to an organization in North Carolina. I decided that I need to track that down for further investigation.
In all, it was a neat little museum, and I enjoyed the visit. Dot said that I’d have to come to one of the Historical Society meetings, and she wanted to introduce me to Mann Batson sometime. I’ll have to take her up on that.
Finally, the grand opening for the museum is October 12. I’ll have to try to make it to that.