This year I settled on visiting Lockhart, a small incorporated town in South Carolina on the Union County side of the Broad River.
off S.C. 49 on the other side of the Broad River in Chester County, next to the Broad River Mart convenience store.
off Mill Street.
a 1998 article in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal explaining the history of the bell and how it came to be here:
For years, the people lived by the bell housed in a tower over the four-story textile mill.
Now they are taking steps to make sure this community timepiece is preserved with a fund-raising project to build a monument for the bell.
The bell toned several times a day, including when it time for employees to come to work, time for them to go to lunch, and time to get off work for the evening.
an architectural survey of Union County. Following a familiar pattern here in South Carolina, the mill closed permanently in 1994. The mill was demolished in 1997. All that remains of the mill now is the chimney.
Lockhart Power was incorporated by the state of South Carolina. The company currently supplies electricity to areas in Union, Chester, Cherokee, York, and Spartanburg Counties.
The history of the canal itself dates back well before the hydroelectric dam. Ola Jean Kelly, director of the Union County History Museum, showed me an informative book from their library, The Narrative History of Union County South Carolina by Dr. Allen Charles (available to buy from their gift shop), that covers the history and failure of the canal. I'll summarize what I learned:
The Lockhart Canal, designed by famed architect Robert Mills, was mostly complete in 1823, but not opened until 1826 due to disputes and floods. The canal was built as part of a canal system designed to add more navigable water routes and increase commerce. Lockhart Canal was built to bypass Lockhart Shoals, a section of the Broad River that proved tricky to navigate.
a less condensed history of the canal.
The houses look rather typical of the mill towns I've seen. Some in town are better maintained than others. It's a nice place if many houses flying the Confederate flag is your thing.
I visited as many places as possible before it was time to leave for the Taster's Choice event at the Uniquely Union festival, but I couldn't hit them all. I made it all of Lockhart's churches (I think). I found a surprising number of churches for such a small town.
Lockhart First Baptist:
whose photo is in the SC School Insurance Photograph database.
an article about the fire in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal's Feb 6th edition.
I kept an eye out for the Lockhart Grammar School, but I didn't see it. Here's a photo of the school from the school insurance database:
located on the southwest quadrant of the intersection of S.C. 49 and River Road.
I made up for my tardiness with 10 delicious samples of BBQ.
In past years, I walking around taking photos of area historical points of interest and stop by the Union County Historical Museum during my photo walk. But this year, it was just too hot this year for a photo walk so I headed straight for the museum.
Ola mentioned one thing in passing that concerned me. The museum hasn't been only been half funded by the county council for two years now, and the museum may be forced to close next June if not funded by the council. I really, really hope this doesn't come to pass. This museum is one of the best in the area, and I'd hate the see it close down. If you're a resident of Union County, consider asking your council member to better support the museum. Ola and her staff do great work there and I'd hate to see it come to an end.
I've uploaded my trip photos to an album on Flickr and an album on Google Photos.
I found this 1964 photo of the old Lockhart train depot and the rail running by the canal at the SC Digital Library: