Lone Star: A lonely look at the past

Calhoun County 9-1-2013 001

A trip to the tiny town of Lone Star, SC, is a journey not so much into the past, but into oblivion.

The unincorporated community, located in Calhoun County just a few miles from Lake Marion, is just a few notches above ghost town status.

Its downtown, once a bustling small-town locale, now features four abandoned buildings: An old freight depot, a general store and two old-style gas stations. Nearby is an active African Methodist Church. A few homes and cotton farms can be seen in the surrounding area.

Lone Star was on the old Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, between Rimini and Creston, another pair of communities that are all but gone.

The railroad line, now owned by CSX, still runs through the town, but there’s no longer any need to stop in Lone Star.

It’s apparent that the freight depot at some point was pulled away from the tracks and relocated on the other side of the road that runs through the town.

It sits silent, padlocked, with a sign that warns visitors that “Hunting, fishing, trapping or trespassing for any purpose is strictly forbidden,” and that violators will be prosecuted.

In fairness to Lone Star there used to be more to the community, but a few years back several of the more attractive structures, all dating back around 1900, were relocated down the road to Santee, where they were set up as Lone Star Barbecue and Mercantile.

A few years ago, Lone Star was in the news regularly – not for what was, but for what seemed to be coming.Lone Star map

SC Congressman Jim Clyburn, a Democrat who served as House Majority Whip from 2007 until 2011, championed the construction of a bridge from Lone Star to Rimini across Lake Marion, a man-made body of water that nevertheless features pristine wetlands.

While the project would likely have been of benefit to the mostly black communities on either end of the proposed $150 million bridge, it faced opposition from hunters, anglers, environmentalists, good-government types and much of South Carolina’s political establishment, according to a 2007 New York Times article.

Eventually, the plan was dropped, and Lone Star’s slow and steady deterioration into a ghost town was allowed to continue apace.

(Top: View of what remains of downtown Lone Star, showing general store and two gas stations. The freight depot, shown below, is to the left of the general store.)

The old Atlantic Coast Railroad freight depot in Lone Star, SC.

The old Atlantic Coast Line Railroad freight depot in Lone Star, SC.

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4 thoughts on “Lone Star: A lonely look at the past

  1. My mother was born in Lone Star and her father worked in each of the Mercantile stores. I grew up hearing the stories of the train coming through and the cotton bales being loaded. It was a story book town to me. Lone Star of the 1920’s and 30’s was full of baseball games, covered dish suppers, gospel singing, scandalous neighbors, and generous teachers.

  2. Just did a photo shoot there and there is no longer a sign that says no trasspassing. Was even seen by deputy on patrol and didnt say anything to me that I was trespassing. It’s worth a look if you are into abandoned or ghost town vibe.

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