Sunflowers and Hope in Newberry County

This field of sunflowers is within spitting distance of old Hope Station, in Newberry County.

Hope Station began as a stopping point on the old Greenville and Columbia Railroad, built around 1850. The line also included stops in Peak, Pomaria, Prosperity, Newberry and Silverstreet.

It’s unclear when the station was abandoned, but not only is there no trace of the structure left, the rails have long since been removed. The town itself has ceased to exist, as well.

Hope Station was the home of James Haskell “Bud” Hope, the longest-serving state Superintendent of Education in South Carolina history, serving from 1922 to 1945.

During Hope’s tenure, South Carolina blacks were awarded high school diplomas for the first time, a teacher retirement plan was created and the 12th grade was introduced into South Carolina schools.

Hope Station was also the site of Hope School, built in 1925 to serve black students. The institution was named for Bud Hope, his brother J.J. Hope and sister Mary H. Hipp, who donated land from their ancestral estate.

Hope School was constructed with matching funds from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, created by the president of Sears in the early 1900s to help improve the education of rural blacks.

The school closed in 1954, but has recently been renovated into a community center.

Hope Station is also the site where John C. Hope, the Lutheran scholar, priest, secretary and president of the South Carolina Lutheran Seminary who served in both the state House of Representatives and Senate, died in 1879.

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