{ SC's October Calendar + Our Featured SC Event }

October 18-19, 2014 | Georgetown — This year's October Calendar of SC Events is brought to you by Georgetown's 25th annual Wooden Boat Show. Celebrate South Carolina's maritime history with one of the best wooden boat exhibits in the US. The event will feature more than 140 classic wooden boats displayed on land and water, a wooden boatbuilding competition, children's model boatbuilding, knot tying, maritime art and crafts, food, and music – including a live performance by the Winyah Indigo Chorale Society.

Don't forget: Georgetown's historic Front Street suffered extensive fire damage one year ago this week. Please come out and see how the community has rebuilt over the past twelve months. The residents will really appreciate your support, and the Wooden Boat Show will be a blast to boot!

{ From Railroad to Ruin: A South Carolina Ghost Town's Remarkable Past }

Question: What does a vacant shack from a forgotten South Carolina town have in common with the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam? Answer: All three have been designated National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks – a coveted award shared by just 262 structures in the world.

(Larry Gleason © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

This plaque, emblazoned on the historic Hamburg Depot, honors the Charleston-Hamburg Railroad. When the line was completed in 1833, it stretched further than any other track in the world – by far – coming in at a whopping 136 miles! For its time, that was an unheard of engineering feat.

(Larry Gleason © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

The dilapidated depot once greeted rail travelers in the now-extinct settlement of Hamburg. Hamburg was founded by businessman Henry Shultz in 1821 to serve as an inland port that could compete against Augusta, Georgia – located just across the Savannah River. The settlement flourished as cotton and tobacco merchants shipped their wares downriver to Savannah and Charleston. Indeed, trade there became so successful that the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company soon decided to make Hamburg its western terminus. (The diorama below depicts the depot in its original location.)

(Larry Gleason © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

For over 30 years, Hamburg enjoyed its status as one of the state's economic bulwarks, but in 1852, the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company decided to extend its line over the Savannah River and into Augusta. Almost immediately, Hamburg became obsolete. By the outbreak of the Civil War, the town had been nearly abandoned by merchants and their families.

(Larry Gleason © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Reconstruction brought tragedy to the town when white neighbors rioted against a local black militia and killed six innocent men. As future governor Ben Tillman, who participated in the riot, later said, "The leading white men of Edgefield [decided] to seize the first opportunity that the Negroes might offer them to provoke a riot and teach the Negroes a lesson." Tillman further described the massacre as an opportunity for "the whites [to] demonstrate their superiority by killing as many of them as was justifiable."

(Larry Gleason © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Two crippling floods followed on the heels of the massacre, and Hamburg was evacuated in 1929, just a little more than a century after it was created. Today, this depot, the remains of an old railroad truss, some brick factory ruins, and a crumbling nightclub are all that remain of the once vital town.

(Larry Gleason © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

No other South Carolina structure has received the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, and yet this depot – which represents our state's most distinguished engineering accomplishment, an accomplishment which informed rail travel across the globe at the dawn of the industrial era – sits abandoned on private property where it is inaccessible to the public. This is a sad irony for a structure built to welcome people, and a great misfortune for those who believe it merits preservation.

(Larry Gleason © Do Not Use Without Written Consent)

Note: In honor of Black History Month, SCIWAY will continue its discussion of the Hamburg Massacre in our February newsletter. Until then, if you'd like to learn more, please check out our Guide to the Hamburg Massacre.

{ A Special Thanks to a Special Friend }

Here at SCIWAY, we are deeply grateful to the photographers who share their work in the South Carolina Picture Project. We are continuously amazed by both their generosity and the quality of their incredible images, and because of them, it would be hard for Kerri, and I to overstate how fun it can be to open our inboxes in the morning.

One of our favorite photographers is a man named Larry Gleason, who hails from Aiken and is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to documenting our state's history. Larry puts Aiken on the map, and largely because of him, Aiken County is now the most well-represented county in the South Carolina Picture Project aside from Charleston.

Larry was given special permission to photograph the Hamburg Depot, and we wanted to take a moment to tell him thanks, on behalf of the Picture Project's 3,000 daily visitors, for enabling the rest of us to see this historic landmark too. Larry, as always, you blow us away.

{ Find Fun for Your South Carolina Fall }

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