South Carolina August 07, 2017
This Entire Neighborhood In South Carolina Was Mysteriously Abandoned And Nobody Knows Why
We’ve featured abandoned places here before, like the
Bon Haven mansion in Spartanburg and the infamous abandoned asylum in Columbia, but never before have we featured an entire neighborhood that was mysteriously abandoned in the Palmetto State. In a sense, you could almost call it a ghost town, even though it was never a bonafide town. Check out this spot in Lee County where an entire neighborhood used to thrive.
To people who may be passing down this lonesome country road that travels through some gorgeous farm country, it's not likely they notice many of the subtle remains of a neighborhood that used to be full of life - and people.
But in the 1930s this neighborhood became known as "Ashwood Plantation." It was developed as part of the New Deal's "Resettlement Act" during the Roosevelt Administration.
According to this
Dept. of Agriculture Farm Security Administration archive
, the project was an effort to resettle families in hardship onto farmland. In all, Ashwood Plantation boasted 11,336 acres with at least 153 homes, some of them brand new, others newly remodeled.
The project included 745 acres dedicated to a school and gymnasium. It also built and developed community services, including a cotton gin, livestock corral and loading chute, hatchery and brooder, sweet potato curing plant, feed and grist mill, general store, repair shop and garage, and a gas station.
The photo above, taken in 1939, shows a group of Ashwood Plantation residents watching a baseball game.
In the above photo, also taken in 1939, in the backgound you can see some of the buildings that likely housed the services and businesses listed above. To the far right is what appears to be a dwelling and the buildings to the left all appear to be businesses.
The biggest surviving structure from Ashwood Plantation (shown here in 1937) still remains, even though the little neighborhood that sprang up around it is now mostly in ruins.
The old Ashwood school and gymnasium is reportedly still in use as a community building after Lee County adopted the property and gave it a little facelift.
But the rest of the neighborhood that thrived so heartily after Ashwood Plantation began in the 1930s is all but gone, reduced to some concrete foundations in the middle of a farm field.
Here and there you'll find evidence of the lives that once graced the area now filled with big lush fields surrounding the former school. An occasional set of steps harkens the sounds of school children and their families perhaps enjoying the annual May Day picnic.
Hidden in the woods along Schoolhouse Road, you'll see the remnants of what was likely a pumphouse (shown above). And high in the clouds above it, peeking above the treetops, the old Ashwood Plantation water tower (shown below).
No one knows why the neighborhood dried up at Ashwood Plantation. Some speculate that crop prices were too low and farms too small for many of the new farmers to make a living. Others speculate the new farmers didn't have enough experience in growing crops.
Whatever the reason, it probably didn't help that the Farm Security Administration disbanded the project in 1944. At some point after, the neighborhood disappeared, except for the buildings. And most of those were razed in the 1980s. To see more of the old Ashwood school, check out this video from youtube user waccamawcharlie: VIDEO
For more abandoned places in South Carolina, check out this
abandoned places road trip through the Palmetto State.