Monday, February 07, 2005

Parade of Shacks II

We're gonna make like Colonel Kurtz and head farther up the river. And so it is that we get to Parksville, SC. Parks Store, SC was renamed Parksville in 1882 after the late Richard Parks, a wealthy fellow who had owned some mills. Surprise, surprise. This was right around the time that the Augusta-Knoxville Railroad was making its way to McCormick, SC, a bit to the north. Parksville is the only town situated on the banks of Lake Thurmond, the huge reservoir created by the similarly named J. Strom Thurmond Dam. This is a photo from outside of Parksville. Inside is a fully furnished living room from decades ago. I have a photo of the weather-damaged painting of a lake and mountain that hangs over the sofa but 1.) it's not digitized (yet); and 2.) it's not always easy taking photos of trash and turning it into "art." It's even harder taking pictures of trashed art and turning it into "art." The above shot was taken with a disposable, which I don't recommend. But you gotta work with what ya got, sometimes.

There's a good story about Parksville that I think fits right in with City of Dust's sunny disposition. In the 1880's, when the Savannah River Railroad was under construction, the Park family cemetery happened to be in the way of the future station. Thus it had to be moved and the townspeople found the grave of the town's namesake, Richard Parks, being exhumed and loaded onto two horses. While being transported, the lid slid off the casket and there, under the old viewing glass, was the body of Mr. Parks, perfectly preserved. Everyone was happy to see him again, so they held another viewing for relatives, friends, neighbors, school kids, and anyone else that wanted to show up. You don't think that's strange?! Then consider that Richard Parks had been dead since April 16, 1861, the same day that shots were fired at Fort Sumter beginning the bloodiest war in American history. The shot below is another shack on the outside of town.

Further upriver we come to Plum Branch, which was named after the plum bushes that grew along a nearby stream. However, it wasn't always where it is today. Originally just a stop on the stagecoach line, the town was moved following construction of the railroad. Founded in 1902, Bracknell's Store, owned by John Bracknell, was a Plum Branch insitution, providing its customers with goods "from the cradle to the grave." At the age of eighteen John Bracknell also became president of the town bank, making him the youngest bank president in history. How's that for trivia? Bracknell held on as long as he could through the Great Depression--his bank was the last of thirteen in the county to close--and he even went to Augusta to get cash, reopened the bank, and paid off all his depositors before the bank shut for good a month later. Bracknell's Store finally shut its doors in the 1980's and for all I know the shot below IS of Bracknell's store. It's way better if we say it is, isn't it? (UPDATE: It's not. See comment below.)

Okay, we're out o' shacks. Was that a sigh of relief I heard? I'm going to try to put up a few shorter posts to dispel any notions that the site is languishing. Also, man, it's hard work doing those eight-photo 1500 word essays. Hey, I like doing 'em, but they slow things down. Next time we're going to swing by Turkey Creek, then head back to N. Augusta. Here's a car on the way to Turkey Creek, suitable for living in when you get kicked out of your shack.


Dínamo said...

i like your site, you have some nice pictures and some interesting texs to go with it.


Anonymous said...

The photo is not Bracknells store, Bracknells store is the brick building across hwy 23 from the Plum Branch Post Office. It is now a kind of flea market type never ending yard sale place. You can tell which building in plum branch it is because you can still see "Breacknells" pianted ion the side of the brick facing hwy 23. You have a great site, I have been exploring abandoned places around the CSRA for years, though without a camera. If you ever want to compare notes, my address is