South Carolina is dotted with ruins of churches and other historical buildings. Fire, at the hands of an enemy during war or by accident, was a common culprit. Sometimes they were ravaged to use building materials elsewhere.
Old Sheldon Church Ruins
The Old Sheldon Church in Beaufort County was originally built around 1750.
The owners of the property have recently added a fence to keep visitors out of the ruin for safety purposes and hopefully from taking souvenirs. Oddly, to me, this has become a popular spot for wedding and other portrait photographs.
The giant Live Oaks surrounding the property lend to the feeling of times gone by.
The Blue Ridge Railroad was hoping to bore through Stumphouse Mountain for a line extending from Anderson, South Carolina to Knoxville, Tennesee. Started in the early 1850s, 1,500 Irish miners cut through blue granite with hand drills, hammers and chisels, and black powder in this and two nearby tunnels. Their efforts came to an end in 1859 when no more funding could be procured to complete the work and subsequent efforts to restart the rail project over the next several decades failed.
Even though the ceiling was quite high, 20 or 25 feet ( 6 or 7 meters) right here, I’m not a fan of underground spaces and stayed pretty close to the entrance. Ted was a bit more adventurous. You can go further, but would want better shoes and light, be prepared for bats, and have water protection for your camera.
There was less green growth on the walls just a short distance from the entrance. Two streams of water a few inches deep flowed on either side of the floor and water dripped from the ceiling. The cool air flowing out of the tunnel was welcome on this hot day.
Stumphouse Tunnel is managed by the City of Walhalla, SC as part of a recreation area.
The Cross Keys Plantation wasn’t on our list of potential stops on our recent mid-state driving tour. However, we made a quick u-turn to check out this unexpected sight.
The property is owned by the Union County Museum but wasn’t open so I only took images from the road. The white plaque at the gable peak has the build date of 1812 along with two crossed skeleton keys.
The other end of the house has just one chimney, partly hidden by a tree.
The intricate brick work is fascinating, especially in the chimney.
The bricks varied in colors and the top several rows on the front of the house appear to be of a different era.
The plantation home is the centerpiece of Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site in Union, SC. Four Magnolia trees thought to be over 200 years old screen the front of the building from the road. This is in contrast to many of the southern plantations that had tree-lined entrances designed to impress leading to the homes.
The ornamental front gate opens into a formal boxwood garden.
Once through the gate a visitor would be wowed by the porches and size of the home. The portico on the right side of the home was probably the more likely entry point for a visitor arriving by carriage.
At its peak in the 1860s the plantation covered over 5000 acres with corn and cotton as the primary crops and about 180 enslaved individuals.
There certainly is a lot of symmetry going on, if not a front to back mirror image. I regret not taking the inside tour.
From the SC State Park website:
Gist family members lived in the mansion from about 1811 to 1889. It remained untouched during the Civil War as there were no battles, retreating armies, military quarters or skirmishes in the area. From the 1890s to the 1930s, the mansion deteriorated significantly. In the 1940s, it was purchased and restored by Clyde Franks, who sold it to the state in 1960.
This State Historic Site interprets the family life and political legacy of William Henry Gist, often called South Carolina’s “Secession Governor,” serving from 1858-1860. With its mix of Georgian and Greek Revival architectural styles, the former family mansion stands as a fine example of an antebellum home.
Cedar Shoals Creek drops down this small rock falls just before it runs into the Enoree River at the site of South Carolina’s Battle of Musgrove Mill State Historic Site.
It has been abnormally dry in this region of the state so there were limited splash options to photograph, on the other hand more of the textured rock was visible than there would be with a big flow. And I was able to get different angles without getting my feet wet!
As falls go this one is quite modest, but as I’ve been living in the SC Low Country that is just above sea level for three years any elevation is something to see.
This pretty spot on the Enoree River in Clinton, SC, was the impetus of the August 19, 1780 Revolutionary War Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. Possession of this easy to ford section of the river in the rural, agricultural area was the impetus behind the skirmish.
A modern bridge less than 1000 feet (300 Meters) downstream made this site obsolete for river passage a long time ago.
The day I visited a few turtles playing “king of the hill” was the extent of the activity.
I visited another of South Carolina’s Methodist campgrounds last week. It turns out there are quite a few still operating around the area.
It is immediately obvious that Cypress Methodist Campground is different from Indian Fields Methodist Campground as the “tents” are in a rectangle rather than a circular arrangement and it feels less unified.
This section in the first corner is dominated by a giant Live Oak tree dripping with Spanish Moss.
Some other differences that became apparent as I wandered the grounds were the newer metal roofs on many of the camps, locks on the doors as the result of vandalism, and the lack of front porches on most of the cabins.
Another difference is that the associated church building and a small grave yard are on the same property.
A circle of 99 rustic numbered “camps” form the Indian Fields Methodist Campground on a ten acre (four hectare) site in St. George, South Carolina. Indian Fields was built in 1848 and has been a site for religious gatherings continuously since then.
This site is used just one week a year; there is electricity and running indoor indoor to sinks only. Privies, also numbered, are out back, across the road.
Pine trees stand straight, towering above the camps, sentinels to the passage of time. The buildings have no ornamentation and the rusting metal roofs were the only sign of color not provided by nature.
This view from the porch of camp #25 shows how meager the buildings are. Even if their doors were closed there were numerous other openings into the interiors. I kept expecting to get startled by a bird or other creature that had taken up residence, but saw nothing.
This last view is from outside the circle where the cooking quarters all face outward to the circular road. The kitchens have been modified more than other parts of the camps over time with sinks, stoves, and storage compartments. I imagine that food is a big part of the social aspect of the annual gathering.
Taken 7/8/2018, Sony Alpha-6500, processed to have an old postcard look.
9/2/18 Note: I edited this post last evening to change 100 to 99 in the first sentence after Ted mentioned my error. I foolishly used the WP interface on my iPad and the post got all scrambled up and the last two images didn’t display. My apologies for presenting a mess.
Nature is working on reclaiming the Boynton House located in South Carolina’s Donnelley Wildlife Management Area. Managed by SC Department of Natural Resources, the front lawn is kept roughly mowed as this is a parking area for one of the managed nature trails.
Once part of a thriving cattle farm the house was abandoned ages ago, and other than the occasional mowing is being left to rot.
This view of one end of the house shows the vegetation encroaching on the back of the building. The other end was completely covered with vines. I was standing in a sea of poison ivy to take this image and decided I didn’t need to see the back and retreated.
These images were taken at the end of April and by mid-summer I expect even less of the house will be visible.