Vacation photo ramble

James Bloomer Williams and Sons Grocery - 2 (b&w)
I have some time off this week, and I've been planning a few adventures to fill the time. Originally, I had a different adventure planned for this day, Tuesday, but the showery weather forecast for later in the day forced a bit of a change. Today's adventure is part planned, part ramble through Spartanburg and Greenville Counties.

On my way to Bon Haven about two weeks ago, I made a quick stop to view on old billboard for a drive-in that closed in 1984, the Circle South 29 Drive-in off U.S. 29 in the western outskirts of Spartanburg near the intersection with Fairforest Clevedale Road.:
Circle 29 South Drive-in billboard - 2
I didn't notice at the time another decaying left over from the drive-in, the  entrance sign:
Circle South 29 Drive-In - 2
The old entrance is blocked by a mound of dirt belonging to the lumber company that now owns the property.
Circle South 29 Drive-In - 4
The drive-in can be seen, though rather fuzzily, from aerial photos taken in 1981 hosted at the SC Digital Library:
A Google Earth view still shows the old entrance, and that the cone shape of the drive-in property remains the same:
I backtracked a few miles to the old Mack Edwards Store building at the junction of SC 357 and SC 358, now used by a landscaping business:
Mack Edwards store - 2 Mack Edwards store - 3
Then back toward US 29 to near the intersection of Gary Armstrong Road and Gap Creek Road in Lyman to visit the ruins of a home:
Gary Armstrong Road home ruins - 1
I stopped in Holly Springs just long enough to take a photo of a country store, currently Pop's Auction at the intersection of SC 357 and Holly Springs Road:
Pop's Auction
Although if I were paying better attention to my navigation app while I stopped, I would have noticed a point for an old gin, Lewis Jackson and Sons Gin, just a few hundred feet away. Oops!

Perhaps I was too intent on reaching my next target, Motlow Creek School on Fern Road:
Motlow Creek School - 1
This school closed at the end of the 1961-1962 school year and students were sent to a new school,  and this building was sold. This school building likely replaced this earlier Motlow School, whose photograph I found in the Spartanburg County section of the South Carolina School Insurance Photograph collection:
From my earlier research, I didn't expect to find this school, but I did keep a lookout for the teacherage:
I didn't find the teacherage from Google Street View either while doing my research on the school, or when driving around the immediate area during the visit.

I moved on to Little Chicago, where Goodjoin Road and Mt. Lebanon Road intersect, where I found only one active business (a convenience store called the Briar Patch) at one corner.

At another corner is an old service station, once occupied by Souther's Grocery, and last occupied by the Madhouse Cafe for many years:
Madhouse Cafe - 1
At the third corner, and most interesting corner is the old J. Bloomer Williams and Sons Grocery Store:
James Bloomer Williams and Sons Grocery - 1 James Bloomer Williams and Sons Grocery - 2
By the store is a sign post made by the J. Bloomer Williams Sr., owner and proprietor of the store for several decades, who died in 1993 at the age of 87.
Little Chicago sign - 2 Little Chicago sign - 3
J. Bloomer Williams, in a December 1991 article about Little Chicago in The Spartanburg Herald-Journal article, explains how idea of the sign came about:
He said he got the idea for the sign in the 1930s, when he returned from Grand Island, Neb., where he'd picked up a shipment of 27 horses. Somewhere along the 1,800-mile trip, Williams saw a small sign on the side of the road that had about five pointers nailed to it. "I said, `I'm gonna put me up a sign like that.' That was in 1937. Well, I kept putting it off - I reckon it was in '39 when I put it up . . . Then the highway department widened the road and tore it down." The sign has been replaced twice, most recently about a year ago. Recently, a man came by Williams' store with some interesting news. There is another Little Chicago. It's in Canada's Northwest Territory, reportedly 2,075 miles away as the "crow flies." An atlas confirms the claim. Williams said the man wants him to add that Little Chicago to the sign so he can photograph it and send it to people he knows there. High atop the sign, just under "Little Chicago," is a line that reads "This is what happened - 1856 - Nothing." "That's when they claim there wasn't nothing much a happnin'," Williams explained.
The sign mentioned was indeed apparently added for a time. I found a photo of the post, along with a photo of J. Bloomer Williams, with that sign in a 2010 blog post by Robert Clark at his blog Every picture tells a story.

In looking over other Flickr photographer's photos of the store, I was most interested in the photo below for showing the store while still open. I would guess by the car this photo was taken sometime during the 1970s:
Little Chicago S,C.
I headed down SC 414 with the intent to head straight to Tigerville to see how the old T. P. Wood store I last visited in 2014 (with Tom Taylor) looked like now the renovations are done. However, I spotted another old country store along the way I also last visited in 2014, at the corner of North Southerlin Road.

This is how the old store looked in 2014:
SC 414 country store - 2 SC 414 country store - 1
Now the old rotting boards have been replaced: The roof looks the same, but it didn't look in need of replacement anyway.
Restored SC 414 country store - 2 Restored SC 414 country store - 1
I like how these two sets of photos taken 3 years apart match up so well!

In Tigerville, I found the old T. P. Wood Store renovated and open for business as a general store and a Papa John's Pizza.

When I visited back in 2014 with Tom Taylor, renovations to the store were still not complete:
T. P. Wood store renovations - 2 T. P. Wood store renovations - 4 T. P. Wood store renovations - 7
The renovations have been complete for some time now. This is what the store looks like in 2017, with the name changed to Tigerville General Store:
T.P. Wood Store renovated - 1 T.P. Wood Store renovated - 2
The old store had two gas pumps out front. Now there's a gas station behind the store with more pumps and ample parking:
T.P. Wood Store renovated - 4
I did go inside for a look around, but I didn't take any photos. Sorry! The interior looks nice too, but I had to wonder way so many pegs weren't stocked with product.

It's always nice to see old structures like this one refurbished and reused for a new purpose. It's too bad I can't say the same for the old J. Boomer Williams Grocery Store.

If you're interested in seeing more photos from the trip, I've shared my trip photos to an album on Flickr.


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