— Banking on Waterloo —
Waterloo is a small but incorporated town in Laurens County
– which means it has its own mayor. This is interesting because, according to the US Census, its population in 2010 was just 166!
— Bank of Waterloo © James P. Karner —
Waterloo was chartered in 1855. It served as a stop along the Port Royal & Western Carolina Railway, and its population peaked in 1890 with 291 residents. Today, US 221 (Greenwood Highway) runs through the heart of Waterloo, which is located south of the City of Laurens
The Historical and Architectural Survey of Western Laurens County, South Carolina
provides the best source of information about Waterloo's past, especially as it relates to its architecture (see pages 49-53). Regarding the Bank of Waterloo, pictured above, it notes the following:
J.C. Smith opened the Bank of Waterloo on Main Street in 1913. The frame building has a brick exterior and occupies the northernmost section of the three-part commercial block. The main facade is framed with large brick pilasters that are topped with a simple entablature. The main door has a simple transom and is offset with a store window located to the right. The door and window are topped with a simple entablature supported by small brackets. This same decoration is seen in the gutter just below the roofline.
The bank remained in operation under the direction of E.V. Golding through the agricultural depression that
gripped the south in 1921, but was forced to close its doors in 1931 after the Great Depression made it impossible for Golding to continue. Today the building stands empty with "Bank of Waterloo" still legible on the main facade.
SCIWAY thanks James P. Karner
of Rock Hill
for this amazing photo. James writes, "A still-working light pole sets up a beautiful scene for the old and forgotten Bank of Waterloo. [This picture was] shot at night only using light from pole and red tail lights of passing cars."
Want to see more? Click here to find more photos of Laurens County
in the South Carolina Picture Project
. If you have a shot of the Palmetto State that you'd like to add to our growing collection, please send it here