August: Crossing Railroad Tracks

 In WKDK Road Trips

This month we’re going on a trip that runs close to railroad tracks. We’ll be crossing them over and over again as we travel from Newberry to the eastern edge of Newberry County and back. Because of recent rains, everything is bright and green (and hot and humid, too). So grab something cold or frozen and begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.

From the Square, head west on Main Street. At the top of the hill, at the railroad crossing is the site of the old depot. At Newberry, the tracks of the Columbia & Greenville Railroad (1851) run right alongside the tracks of the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens (1891). Turn right on Nance Street. Turn left on Cline Street. When you cross the tracks, you can see the split in the two railroads off to the right, but this is not where the two originally parted company. Turn right on Vincent Street.

Cross Kendall Road. Helena was the first depot west of Newberry on the Columbia & Greenville Line. It was named for Helen O’Neall, the wife of John Belton O’Neall (president of the railroad). Turn right on Brown Chapel Road. The roundhouse and railroad shops were originally here, as well as the split for the Laurens Railroad and later the C, N & L. Turn right on Bush River Road. Turn left on Kendall Road. Turn right on Fair Avenue. Up ahead is Oakland Mill. In 1910, the C, N & L was rerouted to pass by the textile mill. Cross College Street into Rosemont Cemetery. On the second road to the left behind the gazebo is the family plot for John Belton O’Neall.

Turn right on College Street and right again on Smith Road. Turn right on Glenn Street. As you leave town, you will cross the tracks again at the site of Mollohon Mill. Stay on as road becomes Glenn Street Ext. On the left at the corner of Boyd Crossing Road is Ebenezer Methodist Church. Founded in 1814, the present church was begun circa 1880. Turn left on Boyd Crossing Road. Turn right on Hwy 76. Turn right on Colony Church Road. On the left is Colony Lutheran Church. Its cemetery is across the street on the right. Colony was founded in 1845 and is halfway between St. Paul’s and St. Luke’s.

Turn left on St. Lukes Church Road. As you veer left on Fire Tower Road, the old Dunker cemetery is visible to the right. Turn left on Clara Brown Road. As you approach Prosperity, on the left is the Moseley House which was built in 1880 with a beautiful two-story porch. Across the railroad tracks (the old Columbia, Newberry & Laurens), in front of Prosperity Town Hall is the site of Crosson Field School. Begun in the late 1860’s, it was the first public school in the county. Turn right on Main Street. Prosperity was originally called Frog Level and was a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad. Founded in 1851, the town’s name was changed to Prosperity in 1873. Turn left on Grace Street. On the right is Grace Lutheran Church. Founded in 1859, the church was originally called Newville. Turn right on Hwy 76.

Just beyond Georgia Pacific Boulevard, an overpass crosses two sets of railroad tracks; first the Columbia Greenville veers off toward Pomaria, while C, N & L crosses but continues to run parallel to Hwy 76. Hwy 76 becomes Main Street. Welcome to Little Mountain. Though the area had been settled in the 1750’s, the town itself was established in 1890 as a depot on the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad. On the right is Reunion Park, home of the Little Mountain Reunion. Tracing its origins back to 1882, the Reunion is the oldest folk festival in the state. Turn right on Main Street. Turn left on Pomaria Street. On the right is Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (founded in 1891) with its new addition. Turn right on Church Street and stay on Church Street as it becomes Holy Trinity Church Road.

Turn right on Hwy 176. Turn left on Caper’s Chapel Road. On the left is Capers Chapel Methodist Church. Founded in 1885, the church was remodeled in 1954. It was named for Bishop William Capers. In the churchyard, directly behind the church is an extremely tall monument which recounts the story of Tonsho Careve and his wife Florida Kelly. Careve sent his wife and infant son back to the Chapin area from Montana in 1920, and stayed behind to settle affairs, but he never made it past Wisconsin. See monument for details. From Capers Chapel Road, turn right on Hwy 176. Turn right on Mayer Road. Turn right on Peak Bypass. Turn left on Church Street. Peak was established in 1850 as a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad. It was named for H. T. Peak who was superintendent of the railroad. On the left is Peak Community Center which is housed in the old Peak School (circa 1920). Also on the left is a cemetery, which began as a family cemetery and grew to include Mt. Hermon Lutheran Church (begun in 1889). Turn left on Mulberry Street. The trestle, now part of the Palmetto Trail is visible through the trees on the right. Turn left on River Street.

Turn right on Broad River Road. Turn left on Peak Road. Down the road on the right is the old Summer’s Store. Turn left on Hope Station Road. On the right is St. Paul’s AME Church. Next door to it is the old Hope School, a Rosenwald School which has been renovated as a community center. At the top of the hill, Little Mountain can be seen rising in the distance. Near the Crim’s Creek crossing, a section of the Palmetto Trail crosses the road. It follows along the Columbia & Greenville Railroad into Pomaria. St. John’s Lutheran Church has served this area since 1754 and is usually considered the epicenter for the Dutch Fork. The “new” church is on the left, while the school, cemetery and old church are on the right. The old church was built in 1808. The site of the original church is marked by a granite monument on the other side of the cemetery. Turn right on Hwy 176. On the right is the Stuck House which was built circa 1910.

Down the road on the right, a row of Magnolia trees marks the entrance to the Summer family cemetery. Beyond that is the Summer-Huggins House which was built circa 1826. This was the seat for Pomaria Plantation and the origin of the town’s name. Cross Crim’s Creek into downtown Pomaria. The town was established in 1851 as a depot on the Greenville and Columbia Railroad and has some really nice nineteenth and early twentieth century homes. Turn left on Berley Road. At the end of the road, turn right on Koon Trestle Road. Near its end, the road veers sharply to the right, before we ever get to the Koon Trestle. Today, an interstate and a golf course block the original destination of the road. The trestle originally crossed the Columbia & Greenville as it made its way toward Prosperity. Turn right on St. Paul Road (Hwy 773). On the right is St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Established in 1761, it is the oldest Lutheran congregation that has always been in Newberry County (St. John’s was in Lexington for a while). Turn left on Jollystreet Road. Follow this road to Hwy 76 and return to historic downtown Newberry.