(heard 10/26/06 on
To Walhalla & Back--Part
II (The Sequel)
is a special “There and Back Again” trip to help celebrate the 150th
Anniversary of Newberry College. In 1868, Newberry College left Newberry
for a 9-year stay in Walhalla, SC. This is the second part of their
journey which we began last month. In the last road trip we made it
as far as Belton, so...
your tour in downtown Belton, SC. Across Main Street from the shops
is the old railroad depot which now houses the Ruth Drake Museum and
the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame. Continuing on Hwy 76 (Anderson
Street), First Baptist Church is visible to the left. The turn-of-the-century
church is constructed of red and yellow brick and has beautiful stained
glass windows. Beyond it on the left is the Belton City Hall. As you
leave town, the municipal cemetery is to the left.
(called Andersonville at the time of the College’s trip) has been known
for many years as the Electric City. Because of innovations in the transmission
of hydro-electric power by Anderson engineer William Whitner to areas
in the county, Anderson became known as the Electric City. As you come
into town, Hwy 76 becomes River Street (probably named for Rocky River
that we crossed a few miles back). Bear to the left to stay on Hwy 76.
At the corner of McDuffie Street on the right is St. Johns Methodist,
which was founded 1828. Diagonally across from the church on the left
is the Wilhite House with unusual Corinthian columns on the front. Turn
right on McDuffie Street. Turn right on East Church Street. At the end
of the street is First Baptist Church which was organized in 1821. The
present sanctuary with its imposing steeple is the result of extensive
remodeling to an 1859 building. An extensive churchyard surrounds the
church. Turn left on South Manning Street and left again on Benson Street.
Turn right on McDuffie Street. To the left, on corner of Whitner Street,
stands an Art Deco theater. Down the street on the right is the Anderson
County Library with its dome and massive Doric portico. Turn left
on Greenville Street. Turn left on Main Street, a wide street with lots
of nice old buildings. On the right between Whitner and Benson Streets
is the Anderson County Court House which was built in 1991. In front
of it stands a Confederate Monument. Across the street is the Old Court
House which was built in 1898 (see photo at right). With its
massive clock tower, it should look more than vaguely familiar to Newberrians.
It is built on the site of the first (1828) court house. Turn right
on River Street. Stay on Hwy 76 by turning right on Murray Street. To
the right, in an old railroad warehouse, is the Anderson County Arts
Center which includes a very nice Visitors Center and a Farmers Market.
As you leave the downtown, Hwy 76 splits around Linley Park to form
a nice older residential area. Continue on Hwy 76.
I-85 and make no plans to visit Atlanta or Greenville on this trip.
Up the road, an old railroad trestle passes over the highway at Three
and Twenty Creek. As everyone should already know, there is a lot of
orange in the color schemes through here (also a preponderance of tiger
paws). Turn right on Hwy 88 to get to Pendleton. This becomes Broad
Street as you approach the town. Pendleton County (later District) was
established in 1789 and was cut from Indian territory that had been
ceded to South Carolina in 1777. Pendleton, established in 1790, was
the seat of the District and was named for Judge Henry Pendleton who
came to the area from Virginia. It represents the end of the fourth
day of the College’s travels. Just before Mechanic Street on the right
is Pendleton Presbyterian Church. We’ll mention more about the history
of this church shortly. Bear to the left on Mechanic Street. Pendleton
is laid out in a similar manner to Newberry, with the main street running
to one side of the rectangular square rather that through or around
it. In the Square stands Farmers Hall. This circa 1826 Greek revival
structure was built by the Pendleton Farmers Society. It is amphiprostyle
(it has a portico extending across both the front and back). The principal
storefronts are arranged around the Square on Broad, Main, Exchange
and Queen Streets. Take a little time to walk around the old part of
the town or drive out Queen Street to see St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Founded in 1819, this old wooden church was built in 1821 and has a
beautiful churchyard. Return to Mechanic Street and turn right. As it
leaves town, the street becomes Pendleton Road. Turn left on Excelsior
Mill Road. Turn right on Hwy 76.
into Pickens County. Like Anderson it was formed from the Pendleton
District in 1826. It was named for Revolutionary War patriot Gen. Andrew
Pickens. Turn left on Old Stone Church Road. Turn immediately to the
right to get to the Old Stone Church and its extensive cemetery. Built
from 1797-1802, this was originally Hopewell Presbyterian Church. About
twenty-five years later, the congregation moved to downtown Pendleton
(remember Pendleton Presbyterian Church?). For years the old church
remained unoccupied. In 1902 the Pendleton Presbyterian Church created
a commission to care for the property. Burials in the cemetery date
back to circa 1794 and include: Gen. Andrew Pickens, Col. Robert Anderson,
Osenappa (a Cherokee Indian buried in 1794) and Eliza Huger (the subject
of scandal and legend).
back to the left on Hwy 76. At this point in the trip, we’re going to
pass by Clemson University because it wasn’t there when our historic
trip took place. Maybe we’ll stop by on the way back. Cross the Seneca
River into Oconee County. In 1868 Oconee County was carved out of the
Pickens District. The name comes from a Cherokee word for “water eyes
of the hills,” perhaps a reference to the waterfalls in the area. The
countryside is getting really hilly. Turn right on Hwy 28 toward Walhalla,
Oconee’s county seat. This represents the end of a five-day journey
for Newberry College and its home for nine years.
was settled circa 1849 by German immigrants from Charleston. The sign
at the edge of town declares it to be the gateway to the Blue Ridge:
“Garden of the Gods.” Proceed through the downtown. On the left will
be the Oconee County Court House, a new building of red, brown and yellow
brick which stands on a high point and is visible from most of the town.
Turn left on South Church Street to visit St. John’s Lutheran Church.
Founded in 1853, the present church was built in 1859. Its tall spire
has the town clock in it. To the rear of the church is the cemetery
contains the grave of Rev. Smeltzer. From North Church Street, turn
right into West View Cemetery. Turn right on South Oak Street . Turn
right on Main Street. Turn left on College Street. At the corner of
North College and North Broad is the Walhalla Civic Auditorium (photo
at left) which stands on the site of Newberry College. Ruins of
the college bell tower are still visible on the grounds. Return to Main
Street and cross over to South College Street. Visit Walhalla Depot
Park and Cultural Center (we had a picnic in the gazebo). While in town,
be sure to drive along the streets of town to see the beautiful old
homes. Return to Main Street and begin the journey back to Newberry.
On the right is Walhalla Presbyterian Church which was founded in 1868.
The present church has a dome and Ionic columns.
to the left on East Main Street to drive through the neighboring town
of West Union. You will pass Dutch Fork Road (!) and some really nice
Victorian houses. Cross Hwy 11 (Cherokee Foothills Hwy). Turn left on
Hwy 28. On the right, outside of Seneca is Kendall Mills (a familiar
name to Newberrians). Instead of turning left on Hwy 76, stay on Hwy
28 (North First Street) to visit Seneca. A railroad crossing, Seneca
was established in 1873. Like many towns in Oconee, it takes its name
from an Indian place-name. It was the site of an Indian village at the
headwaters of the Savannah River and of the patriot Fort Rutledge. There
are some nice turn-of-the-century homes. Turn right on Townville Street
and right on Main Street. There is a Bergen’s on the corner. Turn right
on Fairplay Street. After a few blocks you will see the Brown Oglesby
Funeral Home in old church to the right. To the left is the cemetery,
on a hill with terraced plots of brick and stone. Return to the downtown
and turn right on N. First Street. Turn right on Hwy 130. Turn right
on Hwy 76. As you cross the Seneca River, Clemson is visible to the
right. If you have time for a visit to Clemson, be sure to visit the
South Carolina Botanical Garden. The garden is located on Perimeter
Road off Hwy 76.
on Hwy 76 through Anderson. Turn right on Hwy 252. At the intersection
of Hwy 413 is McCoys Crossroads. Keep an eye out for cotton fields as
well as donkeys and llamas to the left. On the left is Barkers Creek
Baptist Church. Founded in 1821, it was the home congregation of Gov.
Olin Johnston. He served in the state House of Representatives, was
twice Governor of the state (1935-9, 1943-5) and served as United States
Senator from 1945 until his death in 1965. As you approach Honea Path,
Hwy 252 becomes Greer Street. At the intersection of Hwy 178, Greer
Street becomes Hwy 76. Stay on 76 and return to Newberry. Just don’t
wait nine years like the College did!
To Walhalla & Back
Just Like Newberry College, Part I
This is a special “There and Back Again” trip to help celebrate the
150th Anniversary of Newberry College. In 1868 Newberry College left
Newberry for a nine-year stay in Walhalla, South Carolina. One historian
called the college’s stay in Walhalla the “Babylonian Captivity,” for
even in the new location it was still called Newberry College. The college
returned to Newberry in 1877, hence the there and back again aspect
of our trip, but ours won’t take quite so long. In recreating this trip,
I offer here one of several possible routes from here to there. By studying
old maps at the Museum and the Library (as well as modern travel guides)
the route described below follows old highways and has a village suitable
for spending the night in the 1860's at twenty or so mile intervals.
Two other options might have been to follow the line of the Columbia-Greenville
Railroad toward present-day Greenwood or to follow the Newberry-Laurens
Railroad to Greenville and work back down part of the old Wilderness
Road. These, however, may have been considered a bit out of the way.
tour on the Square in Historic Downtown Newberry. From the Square, head
south on Caldwell Street. Turn right on Boundary Street. At the corner
of Nance and Boundary on the left is the site of Luther Chapel, downtown
Newberry’s first Lutheran Church. Later the church’s name was changed
to Redeemer and the church moved to its present site on Johnstone Street.
At Luther Chapel on September 24, 1867, a special meeting of the Lutheran
Synod of South Carolina met to open a discussion on how to settle the
debts of Newberry College and effect repairs on the building. In an
October 1868 meeting at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (Pomaria), the Synod
decided to give up the property of Newberry College and accept the offer
of a site and buildings in Walhalla.
on Nance Street. Turn right on Harrington Street and left on College
Street. In the 2000 block on the right is the main campus of Newberry
College. Smeltzer Hall (at right) stands on the site of the
original college building. An ambitious gothic revival structure, the
1858 building had become practically a ruin by the end of the War Between
the States. Whether for a Yankee swimming pool (as legend insists) or
as a natural function of interior gutters and our moist climate, water
had accumulated on the roof causing damage to the floors below. With
no money for repairs, no money for the professors and a dwindling student
body, Newberry College in the late 1860's seemed doomed.
As a result
of the Synod meeting at St. Paul’s, President Smeltzer (Rev. Josiah
Pearce Smeltzer) was ordered to take anything salvageable and leave
for Walhalla. This was no easy task, for Walhalla was (and is) about
as far from Newberry as you could get and still be in South Carolina.
There were rivers to cross and hills to negotiate. Even with modern
roads, it took the Road Trip team about four hours to recreate the journey.
Chances are likely that it took Newberry College five days to complete
the trip — if they were able to keep the pace of a little over twenty
miles each day. It would have been possible to take the railroad as
far as Pendleton, but, given the pecuniary state of the College at the
time, they probably could not afford it. Even so, there would still
be a day’s journey to their destination, and it may have taken the better
part of two days just on the railroad. On October 26, 1868, President
Smeltzer set out with ten students, some books, a few desks and the
College, continue on College Street. At the intersection of Hwy 76,
turn left toward Clinton. The first part of the trip will be familiar
to road trippers. Hwy 76 in Newberry County runs along a ridge between
the Broad and Saluda Rivers. It also roughly follows the Newberry-Laurens
Railroad which split from the South Carolina Railroad in Helena in 1854.
Likewise it would have been familiar territory for the Newberry College
travelers as well. With the recent return to cotton in this part of
the county, the vistas today are remarkably similar to those in 1868.
You will pass Jalapa and Kinards before crossing into Laurens County.
Laurens County was named for Revolutionary War Patriot Henry Laurens.
Like Newberry, it was divided from the Ninety-Six District in 1785.
The first town encountered in Laurens County is Joanna. That name is
fairly recent. It was established as Martin’s Depot in 1854. After the
War Between the States, it became Goldville. Continue on Hwy 76 to Clinton.
(pronounced without the “t”) was established in 1852 as a depot on the
Newberry-Laurens Railroad. Situated about 22 miles from Newberry, this
is a likely place for our College travelers to end their first day’s
journey. It was named for a lawyer in the area, Henry Clinton Young,
who helped in the laying out of the town. Clinton is home to Presbyterian
College and the Thornwell Home. Both of these institutions were established
after our historic trip, but their founder, Rev. Jacobs, had arrived
in Clinton in 1864. On his arrival he described the town as “a mud hole
surrounded by bar rooms.” We can imagine that in 1868 this was still
an apt description. As you come into town, a Presbyterian Church is
on the left — a reminder that we have left the Lutheran Churches of
the Dutch Fork behind. (There are Lutheran Churches in the territory
we are covering today, but they are few and far between.) Across the
railroad tracks to the right is the downtown with rows of storefronts
around a small square. Stay on Hwy 76 and take Business 76 into Laurens
(don’t even think of taking a bypass on this trip!).
come into Laurens (or Laurensville, as it was called in the nineteenth
century) you will see an unusual octagonal house on the right. Built
by Rev. Zelotes L. Holmes in 1859 it is one of a very few 19th century
octagonal houses in the southeast. Coming into town on the right is
Little River Park. When you get downtown, drive around the square to
see the old Laurens Court House. Sitting in the middle of the square,
the old court house was built circa 1835-40 and remodeled later. When
you complete your circuit of the square, turn right on Main Street (the
same street and direction you would have been traveling if you hadn’t
gone around the square).
street stands a cluster of churches. On the left is Epiphany Episcopal
Church which was built in 1846. This church and the old Court House
are two landmarks which would have been here when Newberry College made
its way west. Across from Epiphany to the right are three “first” churches:
First Methodist (circa 1900), First Baptist (circa 1955) and First Presbyterian
(circa 1892). There are many large Victorian houses in the next few
blocks of Main Street. At the intersection of Hwy 252, be sure to bear
to the right to stay on Hwy 76.
At the intersection of Hwy 101 is Hickory Tavern. This supposed to be
the only town in the state with an alligator crossing — presumably from
a five-foot alligator captured there in 1999. However, on this road
trip, I didn’t see any alligators. Cross the Reedy River at Tumbling
Shoals. As you approach Princeton, on the right is Princeton Baptist
Church which was founded in 1888 and has an extensive cemetery. Princeton
is tucked in the corner of Laurens and Greenville Counties and is a
likely spot for the end of the College’s second day. Stay on Hwy 76
as Hwy 25 merges in. Cross into Greenville County. Probably named for
Revolutionary War patriot Gen. Nathaniel Greene, Greenville District
was established in 1786. Like Pendleton District, it was carved out
of Indian Territory. After about a mile, bear left to stay on Hwy 76.
for goats and a taste of mountainous terrain. The fall foliage is just
beginning to turn with hints of gold and scarlet from Maple, Sweet Gum
and Dogwood. Cross the Saluda River into Anderson County. In 1826, Pendleton
District was divided into Anderson and Pickens Counties. The former
was named for Revolutionary War hero Col. Robert Anderson (1741-1813)
who had resided in the area following the war (after the Revolution
he was Brigadier General in the State Militia and Lt. Governor). The
land here is getting hillier. Though there is a good bit of Kudzu now,
this invasive plant would not have been here during our historic trip.
(Pronounced Honey-uh) was founded in 1794. The town is situated on the
crest of the ridge between the Savannah and Saluda Rivers. The origin
of the name is not known but it may be from a Cherokee word for “great
trail”or “honey” misspelled. On an 1864 map in the Newberry County Museum
the town appears as Honey Path. Honea Path was the site of one of the
most violent suppressions of a labor movement. Seven laborers were killed
in September of 1934 when 45,000 of the state’s 80,000 textile workers
went on strike. As you come into town, cross Hwy 178 and turn left on
South Main Street. To the right is First Baptist Church (founded in
1869) and to the left is Trinity Methodist Church (built in 1898). Beyond
the churches on the right is the old Watkins School. This neighborhood
has some beautiful Victorian homes. Turn left on Hampton Avenue. Turn
left on Hwy 178. On the left (with the tower of the Methodist church
behind it) is Honea Path Presbyterian Church. Though it is in a much
newer building, the church was founded in 1860 and has an old cemetery
next to it. Turn left on Greer Street and right on North Main Street.
You will pass the old storefronts of the downtown area. Turn left on
named for John Belton O’Neall, was established as a depot on the Columbia
& Greenville Railroad in 1855. It is the point where the Anderson
branches from the main course of the railroad. This location was a stop
on the wagon trail long before the railroad came through. It is also
a good point to end day number three of the College’s journey. As you
come into town, Hwy 76 will turn off to the left toward Anderson. At
that intersection, turn right (on O’Neal Street) and go around the square
to visit Belton. In the downtown are many old storefronts. Looming over
the town is a crenellated water tower (at left).
Be Continued ...
The "Road Trip of the Month" is brought to you by
The Newberry County Historical and Museum Society.
County Museum is located at 1503 Nance Street, behind the
Public Safety Complex.
The drive is off Cornelia Street.
The Museum is open on the first and third Saturdays of each month from
1:00 to 4:00 PM
or any time by appointment.
For more information, contact Ernest Shealy at
Road Trips Archives