This photo was taken in 1912 at the Belton Manufacturing Company in Belton, SC. The image portrays the vast age differences between mill workers. The photo was taken by Lewis W. Hines, who worked for the National Child Labor Committee at the time. Here is the photo's description from the Library of Congress:
"Extremes of age in the Belton Mfg. Co., S.C. The boy is Fred Willingham. Been working six months in the Belton Mfg. Mill. Gets 50 cents. Sweeps. His next older brother has been doffing a year or two. Fred and his older sister had some confusion about the age. First making him out "going on 12" and then they raised it. Sister said record was not in the bible. Father and two boys in the mill. Location: Belton, SC."
I was just returning from a kayaking trip on the Savannah River. Our return trip took us on US 301 through Allendale and Barnwell. As we passed through these towns, we were amazed at the number of old motels, some abandoned and some still doing a bit of business, as well as abandoned tourist spots along the way. I knew it had to have once been a major thoroughfare, now bypassed by I-95, but I wanted to know more about it. What was the history? How did this highway through one of the most isolated parts of South Carolina become such a major route? The answer turned out to be much more interesting than I could have possibly imagined. Here’s the story about how Highway 301 became known as The Tobacco Trail, one of the most important north-south routes along the Eastern Seaboard.
Meet out newest contributing writer, Tom Taylor! Tom will be writing about lost highways, ghost towns, and some things in between! But first, get to know him...
BACKGROUND: I'm a retired educator and school administrator living in Greenville with my wife, Laura. I last served as Director of Technology for District Five Schools of Spartanburg. I graduated from Furman with an undergraduate degree in Music Education and a Masters in Education and have taught elementary music, middle school chorus, fourth grade, and instructional technology. I have also served as a choir director in various churches in the area.
Around 1696, 50+ Congregationalists from Ipswich, Massachusetts arrived in present-day Charleston. They settled 15 miles north in a community they called Wappetaw, the local Native American word meaning "sweet water." The reason for this big move may never be known for sure, but one theory suggests they were disaffected from New England society because of the Salem Witch Trials, since Ipswich is adjacent to Salem. Though certainly a sensational story, the fact is that there are many reasons why New Englanders might have headed south. The Massachusetts Bay Colony had grown, and the search for more land was common. Also, simply spreading the church is also a consideration. Whether one or all of these reasons are at play, here's a factual timeline of the Wappetaw settlers, their church, and the mark they made on our cultural and historical landscape here in South Carolina.
The first year of the twentieth century ushered in a brand new luxurious hotel in Aiken. Known as a resort for the elite, Aiken was the perfect setting for the Park in the Pines. It had 300 rooms and was nestled within pine trees, which were thought to offer respite for respiratory health problems. The grandeur was shortlived, with the Park in the Pines burning to the ground on February 2, 1913. Here's an excerpt from a New York Times article chronicling the event:
"Winter residents from New York and other cities were compelled to flee for their lives, leaving jewelry and other belongings behind, when the Park-in-the-Pines Hotel burned here to-day. Low water pressure troubled the firemen and only the wing containing the dining room was saved." -New York Times, February 3, 1913