Monday, June 9, 2008

Lexington County, South Carolina


Fairview, South Carolina is a community without a post office or school, located between the North Edisto River (what's left of it after the droughts) and Black Creek. A blinking light marks the crossroads where Neely Wingard Road, Calks Ferry, Merrits Drive, and Wagener Hwy. intersect with Fairview Road. It's where I was born. 

South and to the east is Pelion and to the west Wagener. It's told that once Fairview was as big as Pelion and Wagener, but the settlers were so ornery, nobody would move in. The inhabitants are historically independent-minded with limited tolerance for government. 

So seldom did strangers wander into these backroads they didn't have names until about 1960. Some are identified with people. Others have names like Barn Owl, Whiskey, Lost, and Swamp Rabbit Road.

The Crossroads Cafe, Padgett's Store, and Wilson's junkyard are located at the intersection. That the site of the former Fairview School is now a junkyard is a hard knot to swallow for those who attended, though not many of them are still around. Fairview's former students have had their share of knots. The school building became a chicken house upon closing. Henry Shumpert donated the property for the school. His remains lie within sight of the junkyard, in the cemetery at Pauline Church, land he also owned at one time. 

An abandoned building also sits at the crossroads, once and for years a country store and forerunner to Padgett's store. It was built a shotgun house with no windows. Inside the wood front door, two long side walls were layered from floor to ceiling with shelves, in back a meat cooler, in the middle a pot belly stove. On rainy days, farmers sat around the stove and talked crops and drank colas.

At one time another store did business across the street in a cinder block building of uncertain use today. Being smaller in size, it was always the competition.

Several communities surround Fairview that don't usually get on a map—Sugar Bottom, Seivern, Rayflin, New Holland, Chaffee, and Boiling Springs for instance.

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