Water in several South Carolina rivers remains high after flooding reached levels unseen in a quarter-century.
A combination of a wet spring and heavy rains earlier this month pushed several rivers over their banks, including the Broad River, which had risen at least 15 feet when I visited it last week.
Normally, in the scene shown above, rocks are visible, turtles, river otter and fish are readily evident, and the foundations of a train bridge destroyed during the War Between the States can be seen.
However, flooding, exacerbated by heavy rains in the northern part of the state, had pushed the river over its banks to a degree that metal picnic tables normally far out of reach of the river were barely above water.
Even more fascinating was an area approximately a mile to the west, the location of an abandoned rail bridge converted into a walking path over the past half decade.
For 98 percent of the year, a small stream approximately four feet across and a foot deep flows under the bridge, which is about 750 feet across.
On this day, the entire area under the bridge was flooded, up to 20 feet deep in places, and water was moving toward the Broad River, rather than simply being backed up by river overflow.
There’s something awe-inspiring about flooding, particularly when the water is on the move. Massive amounts of water cruising past at enhanced speeds can’t help but impress, especially when it’s laden with flotsam such as fallen trees.
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I’m going to go out on a limb and guess this was not put together by the typical Facebook user.
My younger girls were taken aback when they recently learned that movie theaters once were stand-alone structures with but a single screen, rather than multi-screen monstrosities that today often accompany major malls and show eight or more movies at a time.
They were also flabbergasted to learn that theaters like the above, the old Saluda Theater in Saluda, SC, once charged kids as little as a dime for admission, particularly when some of today’s shows cost $10 or more.
The Saluda Theater was built in 1936 and operated as a regular movie theater until 1981. It’s been listed on the National Historical Register since 1993.
Designed by Charles B. Thompson, the two-story, stuccoed masonry building sits on the Saluda town square. Although like many small Southern towns, Saluda has been in decline for decades, the theater served as a focal point for entertainment in the community during the 1930s and 1940s.
“The crisp simple lines of the façade the geometric designs of the interior wall finishes and lighting features reveal the influences of the Art Deco style,” according to the National Register of Historical Places registration form.
Hundreds of marble headstone and other fragments from Jewish graves destroyed during the Nazi occupation have been discovered after a decades-long search, Greek police announced last week.
Some 668 fragments were found buried in a plot of land in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.
The discovery comes after a 70-year search for the remains of graves smashed when the city’s massive Jewish cemetery was destroyed during World War II, according to the Associated Press.
Most of the gravestones found date from the mid-1800s up to World War II, said David Saltiel, the head of Thessaloniki Jewish community.
“This is our history,” said Saltiel, who is head of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece. “Apart from the names, the (gravestones) also include the person’s occupation. So this is a historic record.”
The Jewish community in Greece, most of which was concentrated in Thessaloniki, was all but annihilated in the Holocaust.
Word that US Rep. Tim Scott will replace Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina means, among other things, that a southern state will be represented by a black senator for the first time in more than 130 years.
The last black senator from the South was Blanche Kelso Bruce, a Republican from Mississippi who served from 1875 to 1881.
Bruce was born a slave in Prince Edward County, Va., in 1841 to a white plantation owner and a house slave. Bruce was unusual in that he was tutored by his master’s son. Also unusual was that Bruce’s father, Pettis Perkinson, legally freed him so he could learn a trade as a printer’s apprentice.
Bruce left Virginia at the beginning of the War Between the States. Rejected for service in the Union Army, Bruce instead taught school and attended Oberlin College for two years.
He then moved to Mississippi where he bought an abandoned cotton plantation and amassed a real estate fortune, according to a 2008 article by Politico.
In addition to being a Mississippi planter, Bruce served as a member of the Mississippi Levee Board – no minor post given the havoc the Mississippi River could wreak with its then-regular flooding – and served as sheriff and tax collector of Bolivar County 1872-1875, according to the Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress.
It’s taken more than 110 years, but it looks as if a promotion recommended by John J. Pershing may finally go through.
Sgt. Paschal Conley, a so-called Buffalo Soldier because he served in a black US Army regiment, was recommended for promotion to second lieutenant by then-1st Lt. Pershing in 1899, call it “a fitting recognition of (Conley’s) long and honorable service.”
Conley served from 1879 until 1906 and fought in the Spanish-American War, according to the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs.
However, Pershing’s recommendation was never acted upon.
Conley’s descendants contacted Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner W. Clyde Marsh to rectify the situation, who then turned to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Sessions included a posthumous promotion for Conley in a Senate-approved defense bill.
Sessions asked the Army about “righting this wrong” and posthumously upgrading Conley’s rank, according to a spokesman for the senator. He was advised that legislation was required.
Mainstream media takes its fair share of abuse, not all unwarranted, but one need only pick up a newspaper from the 19th century to see how much different – and better – journalism is today.
While it’s no secret that it was accepted practice for newspapers in the 1800s to exist to blatantly promote a single candidate or party – something that would be unheard of today (despite the bleating of conspiracy theorists) – it seems old-time scribes had no issue with laying their biases out in other areas, as well.
Consider the following “article” taken from a South Carolina newspaper in 1864:
Thaddeus W. Saunders was executed for Burglary in Col’a So. Ca. June 24, 1864. He had been convicted of breaking into the residence of a female, who kept a house for Prostitution, on Bridge Street in Cola. She was known as “Dutch Rosa,” so the writer understands.
In the commission of this offence, there was also an appalling and additional monstrous crime. In order to carry out the theft, which was intended by the House Breaking, the committal of a murder was necessary. This man, therefore with the assistance of a brutal companion, destroyed the life of the woman, by using Cloroform (sic) copiously. This effected, and her room and trunks were then robbed of money, jewels, and other valuables, to a large amount.
The two robbers and murderers then left the city, but were ultimately arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, and brought to Col’a So. Ca. for trial.
First off, one gathers from the article that Saunders was executed for burglary, rather than being an accomplice to murder. However, one might have thought the reporter would have wanted to include the bit about the killing in the lead paragraph.
August Kowalczyk, the last surviving member of a small group of prisoners who escaped from Auschwitz in 1942, died earlier this week at age 90.
As a Polish soldier fighting the Nazis, Kowalczyk was captured and sent to the German concentration camp in December 1940, when it was used mainly for Polish military and political prisoners.
He was among a group of 50 prisoners who attempted an escape in June 1942.
All but nine were killed, and Kowalczyk was believed to be the last survivor of the group, according to jewishjournal.com.
Kowalczyk may have benefitted from being born in Oświęcim, very near where the Auschwitz camp was built.
One week after a ceremony honoring South Carolina civil rights pioneer George Elmore culminated with the erection of a historic marker in front of the downtown Columbia building he once operated, the structure was promptly razed.
Elmore ran the Waverly 5-and-10 cent store, and area mainstay, up until the late 1940s, when he dared to challenge the state’s status quo and put his name on a lawsuit that sought to end South Carolina’s practice of all-white political primaries.
Elmore’s actions led to economic reprisals and financial ruin, according to The State newspaper.
Last Friday, one week after a ceremony attended by city leaders, academics and Elmore’s descendants, the 1935 structure was reduced to a pile of rubble.
The property’s owner, First Nazareth Baptist Church, which sits next door, has not said what it will do with the razed site or why it chose to knock down the historic structure.
Not surprisingly, there is a good bit of unhappiness in area preservation circles.
Some 150 years after Union forces created the first community in the US specifically for freed slaves, the area once known as Mitchelville is again being debated by the powers that be.
A proposal under consideration by the S.C. Senate includes $200,000 for the Mitchelville Preservation Project on Hilton Head Island.
The nonprofit group seeking to preserve Mitchelville officially formed two years ago, on the eve of the Civil War sesquicentennial. Plans are to buy plots adjoining a 33-acre beachfront town park toward the nonprofit’s long-term goal of recreating parts of the original town, according to The Associated Press.
The former community at the northern end of Hilton Head Island was formed after invading Union Army and Navy troops established headquarters at nearby Port Royal in fall 1861, just a few months after the beginning of the Civil War.
Federal forces created a safe haven for slaves left behind by plantation owners who fled inland and for slaves fleeing from plantations on nearby islands.
What was created was a village of between 1,500 and 2,000, named after Union Gen. Ormsby Mitchel.
It included homes built on half-acre parcels, town elections and mandatory schooling. Residents of the self-governing community dispersed after Union troops left in 1868, according to the wire service.