Glenn Springs


Delayed, but not denied. I wanted to visit Glenn Springs after visiting Whitestone Springs two weeks ago, but I ran out of daylight. My second attempt failed last week because of misty, rainy weather on my available days. This week on my third try I finally made it.

But between my first and second attempts, my adventuring friend Tom Taylor briefly stopped here to explore on his way to Pacolet where he then explored the ruins of a hotel (which I'll have to check out sometime). He recounts this most interesting adventure in The Allure of Old Masonry.

Glenn Springs, like Whitestone Springs and Chick Springs, was a resort spring touting water that could supposedly cure many ailments. Like these other resort springs, Glenn Springs featured a large hotel where capable of housing many guests. Glenn Springs also had its own railroad for a time to transport guests to and from the hotel. The Glenn Springs hotel operated well over 100 years before fire destroyed the hotel on July 25, 1941. Several buildings in the vicinity of the hotel are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and I visited all of them.

At one end of the parking area for the Palmetto Trail was an old post office, dating from 1900.
The post office has been relocated at some point from it's original location near the hotel.

Across the street is Cavalry Episcopal Church. The church was backlight, so I couldn't quite get the angle I wanted. A former parish house sits just to the left (not pictured).
This church was built in 1897, replacing the one across the street from the Glenn Springs Academy and where the church's cemetery is still situated.

Also nearby is the John C. Zimmerman home, a former owner of the hotel.
Sharing the same driveway is the house of Charlie Zimmerman, son of John C. Zimmerman. I tried to adjust for the backlighting in Lightroom as best I could.
On the same property is what is believed to have been a log jail, according to the National Register nomination form.
Down the road is the Caspar Simpson house, ...
the Cedar Grove house, ...
and the Paul Simpson house.
No comment on the safety of this fellow's use of ladders.

Next to the parking area is the Cates House ruins, built by Robert Cates in the 19th century and destroyed by fire in 1978. The National Register photos from the 1982 nomination showed the chimneys still standing, and the water tower in behind the house still had the water tank on top.
I found no chimneys standing, but plenty of brick rubble. The tower was still standing, but the tank had fallen.
I also found plenty of bottles and cans.
Closer to the parking lot what looked like the remains of a cellar.
Across the street from the parking area on Boys Home Road are the ruins of Cates Store and the Old Stone Church.
Cates Store was a country store built in 1885. The Cates family owned the land for many years before donating the property to the Spartanburg Boys Home, now the Glenn Springs Academy.

The Old Stone Church was the second home of Glenn Springs Presbyterian Church. According to their church's history page, this church was completed and dedicated in 1908. In November 1960, the third and current church off of highway SC 215 was completed, leaving the second church behind.  The store was part of the property that was donated to the Spartanburg Boys Home.

The Glenn Springs Preservation Society recently bought this property from the Glenn Springs Academy, and is in the process of restoring the church.

No tresspassing signs were plastered at the gate. Drat. I wanted to go on in, especially since this was road leading to the hotel. But I didn't even though the signs were likely meant for vandals. Perhaps some other time.
I took my photo of the Old Stone Church from property still owned by the Glenn Springs Academy and used my telephoto lens to zoom in. Slobot took some good up close photos when he visited the old church.
An old photo shows the pavilion was once open and the adjoining bottling plant.
When I arrived there, Spartanburg County police officers were parked at the academy. I saw someone walking around with a bloodhound and could hear other bloodhounds occasionally howling in the woods behind the academy. I was a bit worried a criminal was loose in the area, but I found out later on from a police officer they were just conducting a training excessive. Whew.

Across from the Glenn Springs Academy is the Cavalry Episcopal Church cemetery and where the church used to be situated before moving to its current location.
Buried here is John C. Zimmerman, a former owner of the hotel.
Continuing up Boys Home Road is Smoak House, formerly a boarding house.
Next door is the ruins of the Burroughs house.
This National Register photo shows the house when it was still standing.
On the other side of the street a bit further up is the Holliday house.
Back at the parking lot, I reviewed my wanderings so far.
I had tried earlier to walk the Palmetto Trail, but found it hard to follow even with the trees blazed with yellow. I decided to try again so I could obtain a sample of the water that made Glenn Springs so famous. I couldn't get a sample from the pavilion, so I resolved to get it directly from the creek. I stopped at the bridge over Mineral Springs Creek and filled a water bottle I brought for this very purpose. Score!

I uploaded my photos to the Flickr set Glenn Springs - Dec 2013 and a Google Photos album also named Glenn Springs - Dec 2013. This map shows the locations of the historical places I visited:


I created this map before the visit. I exported the map to KML on to my tablet, then imported the KML into my hiking app. It made finding these sites so easy.

The Spartanburg County Library's digital collection features several nice photos of the hotel, its interior, and the springs. The Glenn Springs Preservation Society has photos of the springs, the Old Stone Church, and Cates Store.

The Glenn Springs Hotel and springs generated so much newspaper coverage archived by Chronicling America and Google Newspapers I couldn't begin to list them all. However, two stand out for me. One is a history of the hotel from 1890 (which is itself now history). The second is about the fire at the hotel from the July 27, 1941 Spartanburg Herald-Journal. There's plenty more to be found by searching for "glenn springs" or "glenn springs hotel".

Wofford College uploaded an interesting booklet from 1888 to a set on Flickr titled Glenn Springs, South Carolina: It's discovery, location, history, personal sketches of its habitues, what it will cure, &c.

The Glenn Springs Preservation Society has a nice concise history of the hotel and spring property from before Glenn Springs was Glenn Springs until the hotel's destruction in 1941.

Spartanburg County SCGenWeb's maps section has an 1869 map of the county showing Glenn Springs and a marker for the hotel.

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