Back to Old Cokesbury College and Hodges
Back in April, as previously written about, I went along with Tom Taylor down to Shoals Junction and other nearby communities, including Cokesbury and Hodges. In researching my April blog post, I discovered historic Old Cokesbury College would be open to the public on June 23rd and 24th as part of the Festival of Flowers, and I immediately made the decision to tolerate the heat and go back to tour the historic college. It would also give me an opportunity to look for the Southern Railway depot in Hodges I didn't know about during my last visit.
Old Cokesbury College
By 1967, the building had deteriorated so much that tearing the building down seemed likely. However, determined local residents organized to save and restore the building. In 1970, the college was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where it remains listed. In 1971, the Methodist Conference donated the restored building and property to Greenwood County. The Cokesbury Historical Commission currently manages the property for Greenwood County.
When we arrived last time, the gates were locked. This time when I arrived mid-morning, I found several parked cars, the gates open, some people wandering around the garden area, and others hanging out on the balcony.
By the front door, the friendly attendant greeted everyone who came by.
The hall on the second floor was used as a chapel and an auditorium.
The third floor is where the Masonic lodge held their meetings. No telling what secrets these walls have heard.
More photos are available from my Old Cokesbury College album on Google Photos.
After chatting with the friendly, knowledgeable folks out front a while, I headed over to Hodges to find a railroad depot.
Southern Railroad depot in Hodges
Hodges is a few minutes away from Old Cokesbury College. Hodges was originally known as Cokesbury Junction when the railroad came in 1852, then Cokesbury Depot, before assuming its current name a few years later in honor of one of the community's first residents, Confederate General George Washington Hodges. His home still stands just off Main Street.
I had already visited the Piedmont and Northern depot the last time I was in the area, and this time I wanted to visit the Southern Railroad depot. An unpublished 1926 Sanborn fire insurance map of Hodges shows both depots. The Piedmont and Northern depot is shown off of U.S. 178, where it still stands. The Southern Railroad depot is shown near the public square, but nothing is there now.
The Southern Railroad depot in town was either torn down or moved, because the depot currently standing is located near where S.C. 185, U.S. 178, and U.S. 25 all converge just south of town. This location is puts the depot well away from the Southern Railway line.
During the 1970s and 1980s, the depot building was the home of Jackson Station Rhythm and Blues Club, a popular bar and restaurant in its day. Flickr photographer Dave Anderson shared some interesting commentary on the club and later events with his photo of the former depot. Sadly, one of the bar's partners, Gerald Jackson, died in 2010.
The building is currently vacant and for sale. Anyone want to buy a former depot and popular nightclub?
Map and WrapupI've put together a map showing the location of the Old Cokesbury College in Cokesbury, and the former depots and abandoned railroads in Hodges.
I consulted the booklet picked up at the college, Cokesbury Village: A Historical Perspective by the Cokesbury Historical & Recreation Commission, in preparing this post.