Central, South Carolina
Central, South Carolina is a small town located about 5 miles from Clemson with a population of roughly 3,500, altitude 850 feet above sea level. Many Clemson University students live in Central, and the daily 10 minute commute along Highway 93 (also known as Old Greenville Highway), makes it a breeze to get from home to class.
"The first settlers in present-day Central were Methodist ministers. In 1873 the first post office was established as Centre. Its exact location remains a mystery, but national postal records indicate that in 1875 a second postmaster, Mr. Ross Eaton, replaced the first, Mr. George W. Burroughs. By this time, the town was referred to as Central," according to Piper Peter Aheron in "Pickens County", Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2000, page 34, ISBN 0-7385-0606-0.
A rhymed jingle in an 1886 copy of "The Populace", a semi-monthly newspaper edited and printed by J. M. Phillips, J. M. Phillips Printing Company, Central, had the following description of businesses operating in the community:
- If goods you wish to buy just right,
- At prices that can't be beaten,
- Go right along while money's tight
- To the store of L. Ross Eaton.
- If here you do not get a load,
- Cause Ross will not come down,
- Just turn about and cross the road
- And call on J. E. Brown.
- If out of money you are quite
- Before you're through the store,
- You need not give up the fight,
- For in the next door there is Moore.
- Next you'll come to Lewis' place,
- Go in and take a peep,
- He's just commenced and's in the race
- To make your goods come cheap.
- If goods are cheap be sure and see
- That to some cash you hold your grip
- And pass along to Duke's, J. E.
- And have him fill your "scrip."
- Go and do your duty plain,
- And mail your card or letter,
- And do not put them on the train
- And think that that is better.
- Of stores in town up on the West
- We'll write of but one other,
- And that is one among the best
- By Morgan and his Brother.
- Now cross the line and come down town
- And tell your friends to follow
- That other goods you'll find marked down
- You may bet your bottom dollar.
- When opposite the Depot,
- You do not care to walk
- You may get a horse from Hester
- That will not kick or balk.
- Then comes H.D. and Jimmy Peek
- Who are both right close together.
- You need not tarry here a week
- But trade with which you rather.
- Between H.D. and Jimmy P.
- Are big fat Nelse and Jack,
- Who'll fix your shoes all to the T
- With thread, glue, peg, or tack.
- Now jog along to J.E.B.'s
- And make a large inspection
- His stock is large & sure to please.
- And don't savor protection.
- The next is J.R. Williams' place,
- His drugs are fresh and pure,
- In his line he holds the deuce & ace
- Of this you may be sure.
- It's true your trip quite long has been,
- But we hope it's yet quite early,
- So resume your journey once again
- And call on Brock and Shirley.
- Now drive a trade with Johnny Brock,
- Or his partner dry, high-Ki
- Then prepare to buy a match or clock
- For Lindsay is nearby.
- The judge will fix your clock or watch
- And make them run smoothly run
- And guarantee to make no botch
- Of your pistol or your gun.
- When time from Judge you get a stock
- Don't further here abuse it,
- But to the next store go and stop
- For it will pay you there to use it.
- Go in and see The Populace,
- Leave five and twenty cents
- It will not hurt the pending race
- for U.S. Presidents.
- From Phillips goods you'll surely get
- At prices that's all around
- Some lower than you've met with yet
- Or elsewhere to be found.
- Now while these types we're sticking in
- The wind blows and it rains
- But yet we hear the familiar ring
- Of the hammer of J.H. Gaines.
- He'll shoe your horse or mend your cart,
- Or laugh your blues away,
- Then wink at Bud and forthwith start
- To Leavell's across the way.
- When in the goods of S.E.L.
- You have become a free investor,
- As the saying goes, "Steve, pull the bell"
- And call on Henry Hester.
- By him store, stable and bank is run
- And they all give satisfaction,
- Now if any injustice we have done,
- We are ready to make retraction.
(Allen, Mattie May Morgan, "Central Yesterday and Today", Faith Printing Company, Taylors, South Carolina, 1973, no Library of Congress card number, no ISBN number, pages 34-37.)
Established in 1873 as a division point where engine changes and major servicing took place for the newly-built Charlotte & Atlanta Division of the Richmond and Atlanta Air Line Railway, the town name derives from the fact that the shop facilities here were the central point between Atlanta and Charlotte, about 133 miles from each. Rail operations began September 28, 1873. Passengers would layover in the Central Hotel located here where meals were served before dining cars became common. The hotel also housed telegraph operators, railroad dispatchers, ticket office, waiting room, and a sample room where drummers could display their lines for the inspection of local merchants. "When northbound train No. 12 and southbound train No. 39 met every day at Central at 12 o'clock, the passengers alighted and were greeted by a black porter, wearing a snow white coat, ringing a large dinner bell. It was the custom after the guests were served for the waiters to pass among the tables and say 'Please, sir, will you have some more.' " (Allen, Mattie May Morgan, "Central Yesterday and Today", Faith Printing Company, Taylors, South Carolina, 1973, no Library of Congress card number, no ISBN number, page 27.) The vacant Central Hotel burned to the ground on the night of June 11, 1935. The Southern Railway had been trying to sell the property for some time. ("Once Famous Hotel at Central Burns", Pickens Sentinel, 11 June 1935.)
The Pickens Sentinel reported on Thursday, September 20, 1877, that several new side tracks were being laid in Central and that lumber had arrived for a repair shop. ("The Pickens Sentinel, Pickens Court House, South Carolina, 1872-1893, Historical and Genealogical Abstracts, Volume 1, compiled by Peggy Burton Rich and Marion Ard Whitehurst, Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland, 1994, ISBN 1-55613-985-3, page 52.) The new framing shop was reported complete by The Sentinel on Thursday, January 24, 1878. ("The Pickens Sentinel, Pickens Court House, South Carolina, 1872-1893, Historical and Genealogical Abstracts, Volume 1, compiled by Peggy Burton Rich and Marion Ard Whitehurst, Heritage Books, Inc., Bowie, Maryland, 1994, ISBN 1-55613-985-3, page 59.)
With the rise of the textile industry in Greenville and the 1894 reorganization of the rail line into the Southern Railway System , the railroad shifted its operations (and most of its employees) northward on Sunday, July 4, 1897 and the Central shops closed. This ended Central's boom period. In 1903, the Isaqueena Cotton Mill opened and is still in operation as the Central Mill. The Central Roller Mill, opened in 1902, operated until the early 1980s, refining grain into flour. The mill facility now serves as an antique shop. The former Southern Railway depot was moved off the right-of-way in late 1973 or early 1974 and now serves as a town storage facility.
1067 West Main Street
P.O. Box 549
Central, SC 29630
Mayor: Mac Martin.
Administrator: W. Herbert Thompson, Jr
Clerk: Grace S. Towe, CMC