Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Hammond's Ferry

The area encompassing the aforementioned brick factory is known as Hammond's Ferry. Not surprisingly, it was once the docking point of a ferry that crossed the Savannah River from Augusta to North Augusta. I assume the dude that operated the ferry was named Hammond. (Update: Indeed, it was John Hammond. More information HERE.) Anyway, it will soon be paved over and turned into quaint little "Southern" neighborhoods that no one can afford to live in. So, it seems fitting to do a couple more posts on this doomed landscape.

Alright, technically speaking, Crystal Lake isn't part of the Hammond's Ferry development. It's just across the road, in a small residential neighborhood. But in its heyday it was a big deal and one of the major swimming destinations in the area. Along an entire end was a large natatorium (yes, a "natatorium") made of stone. The streetcars were even routed right by it so swimmer's could get there easily.

Here's an old photo of the natatorium I swiped from "The History of North Augusta, South Carolina." No, it has no author. It's nearly impossible to find a copy of this book at an affordable price (really, who would pay hundreds of dollars for such a thing?) so I hope no one sues me. The book is pretty interesting, but I don't think the publishers would appreciate my view of the area. It's more a bake sales and tea parties kinda vibe.

Now you'd never guess that the place was ever so lively. There's no trace of the natatorium, the streetcars are long gone, and no one in their right mind is going to go swimming in the weedy lake. Houses back up against the water on one side and, on the other side, is this bath house. I don't know how old this structure is or if it dates back to the halcyon days of Crystal Lake, but it's probably not long for the world. At one point a car veered off the road and ran into it.

As you enter the Ferry region, just a bit back in the woods is an old Triumph sports car. I'd guess it's been sitting there for a couple decades, which is how long...

...this can has been here. Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Pepsi-Cola in 1973, this can is just as old as I am. That is somehow sorta humbling. So far, I haven't been able to outlive a Pepsi can. Huh.

I just had to get a couple more pictures of the brick factory in. Last time I didn't mention that there was an extensive network of small tunnels under the complex. Never having made a brick, I don't know whether these were used as kilns, for cooling, or for moving the bricks around. In any case, the tunnels don't look like much from outside.

But if you look inside the tunnels they go back as far as you can see. There were quite a few of these tunnels, as well as some old railroad tracks, and numerous trenches. It must've been quite an operation. This picture was taken by my companion on many of these trips who, for simplicity, we'll call XT235. More Hammond's Ferry next time. Happy Thanksgiving.


Anonymous said...

I stumbled on this site to look at your photos because I am from North Augusta, and lo and behold ... the natatorium and "bath house" pictures are on my father's property, on which I lived a large chunk of my 28 years.
Anyway, my father built the concrete block house I would say in the 60s ... not too old! It was actually built as a temporary home while he built the main house across the pond, which was finished in 1977 (the year I was born).
The car hit the place about six years ago, roughly. Anyway, e-mail me at if you are interested in knowing more about the property or the natatorium.

Anonymous said...

Hi there.. I came across your site because my Aunt sent it to me. I was surprised to see pictures from where I grew up. I mean literally grew up. I lived on the same street just up the hill. I actually grew up with Melissa Hannah (previous commentor) and her brother Michael. How kewl is that. Ya never know where you might be able to rekindle an old friendship. Thanks!! If ya wanna know anymore just shoot me a message -

crash99 said...

As a fellow North Augustan,I felt compelled to leave a comment too. I grew up with Melissa and more than likely the "Brian" who posted after her. I have so many photos from N.A. and Augusta alike,as I have spent most of my 34 years in or around this town.
Thank you for this excellent body of work that has not on;y educated me,but more than knowledge it has given many days of exploring and photography to look forward to.
Thank again,
kerri t.