Mission Of This Blog

The overall mission statement of this blog is to share many unique topics of this blogger's interest; promoting though education the uniquely positive values of Southern history, heritage, and cultural identity. Topics include (but are not limited to):
Southern Cultural Heritage, Local History of the South Carolina Upstate, Confederate Heritage Preservation & Awareness, Americana, Nature & Wildlife Preservation, Science & Science Fiction, Astronomy & Night Sky Photography, Literacy & Writing, Travel & Local Places Of Interest, Southern Cuisine, Popular Culture & Philosophy, Classic Animation Nostalgia, Fandom ....as well as various other topics explained from the blogger's point of view. The following website contains the UNCENSORED thoughts and opinions of a Southern-born country writer from upstate South Carolina - the living, beating heart of the great American Southland!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Planetary Photography -- 09-16-2017 -- Conjunction of Mercury & Mars Before Sunrise

Greetings and Salutations again fellow stargazers! 

This morning I had to wake up a bit earlier than usual -- about 90 minutes before sunrise to be exact -- in order to set up the tripod and take some outstanding shots of all the inner planets of our solar system lined up beneath the beautiful Waning Crescent Moon, including a spectacular conjunction of Mercury and Mars low on the horizon. I needed to drive a ways to an unobstructed stretch along SC Highway 9 in order to get a clear shot of all three planets. 

Venus, the third brightest celestial body in Earth's sky is closer to Luna, which ranks as the second brightest next to the sun. Beneath Venus is the 1st magnitude star Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion and one of the few stars that can still be seen from Earth just before sunrise. 

At the bottom close to the treetops on the eastern horizon are the two small planets Mercury and Mars are at conjunction. During conjunction, Mercury and Mars are only 0.06o apart -- roughly the equivalent of about 1/8th the moon’s visible diameter. Being closer to the sun, Mercury shows as brighter than the much further away Red Planet

I managed to get a spectacular close-up of the two conjoined planets just above the treetops.

My final shot is of all the inner worlds (including a slightly foggy Earth beneath) and Luna just before the sunrise began to obstruct the planets from view.  

Well folks, I hope that y'all enjoyed my photographs of the inner planets and our lovely Luna. Be sure to check out my other planetary photographs here and as always keep your eyes to the skies, y'all!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chester County Transportation Museum

Anyone who has ever lived in Chester, South Carolina, knows that the town is infamous for having about four different sets of railroad tracks and numerous crossings. This fact of life tends to lead to a number of frustrations, especially since trains are constantly moving through the town, or stopping there and blocking traffic on a regular basis.

As this blogger once mentioned in a previous post about Chester during the final year of the War Between the States, the town was once the center of a major transportation hub and in the years following the Reconstruction Era until around the 1970s, Chester was also site to several mill villages owned by the Springs family. Railroad transportation of cotton and textile products was a major industry in that time. 

The Chester County Transportation Museum located at 157 Wylie Street in Chester, was once the site of a former freight depot of the old Seaboard Air Line Railroad. Built in 1888, and preserved by the Chester County Historical Society through a grant by the SC Department of Transportation, the museum holds a nice collection of historical artifacts related to the railroad and illustrating the development and evolution of transportation in the country. 

Outside the building you will see some old highway mile markers, plus the railroad track which is still in use. On the inside, you can find a collection of old automobiles, a horse-drawn buggy, old bicycles, several model railroads, and hundreds of smaller transportation artifacts from a variety of eras. The building itself has been wonderfully restored by groups of volunteers. This is a great place for railroad fans, antique car buffs, or anyone else who is interested in period historical artifacts.

The office/gift shop is the original freight office, featuring
various displays including railroad and vehicle related items,
maps of early railroad systems, and books about the history of
Chester County rail and road development.
The State of South Carolina first required license plates
for cars in 1917. This display of tags shows every type
of plate from 1917-2017.
Early buggy made in Rock Hill by the Rock Hill Buggy Company.
An old sorting table used in the Chester Post Office to sort mail for
rural mail routes. The Post Office played an important role in
the development of transportation.
A 1906 Model N Ford.
A 1939 Ford automobile.
A 1925 Hardin School Bus used in the Wellridge Community
near Great Falls, SC. This bus was made by the Hardin
Motor Company in Rock Hill, SC.
An old wood stove of the type used by people
around the turn of the century.
A 1921 LaFrance fire truck -- the first one used by the
Chester Fire Department.
This truck was also used as a prop during the filming of the
miniseries Chiefs (1986) in Chester.
A 1931 Ford Model 4 automobile.
Just behind it is a 1934 Ford V-8 Model.

This old railroad trestle over SC HWY 9 in western Chester
still bears the markings of the old Seaboard Air Line Railroad.

I hope y'all enjoyed my photos and, as always, Have A Wonderful Dixie Day, Y'all!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Black Segregation Era School In Chester County

The Pryor School 1898 - 1956 in Chester County, SC.

On SC Highway 9 in Chester County about halfway between the city of Chester and town of Richburg stands a small, one-room wooden rural schoolhouse on private property. 

Built in 1898, the Pryor School was a schoolhouse for African-American students in the community that was supported by a church of the same name that no longer stands. The school itself operated between 1898 until 1956, a few years after the US Supreme Court decision Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka that ended Jim Crow Era segregation of schools in the United States. 

In order to stave off integration, South Carolina began building new schools for black students in the 1950s that were known as "equalization schools" despite the fact most were not equal to their white counterparts, and students at these "colored only" schools were often given poorer quality school text books and supplies. 

It was during the 1950s that many schools consolidated, leaving small rural schoolhouses like the Pryor School empty. Despite the landmark US Supreme Court decision which ordered American schools -- particularly those in the South -- to desegregate, although most South Carolina schools did not fully desegregate until the 1960s. 

During the 1980s, a local family leased the land which the school stands on and grew fruit and corn on the property. The schoolhouse was then used as a fruit stand to sell the harvested fruit and vegetables. 

Today the school is closed and in the hands of private landowners. The building and contents are well-maintained and preserved.

The Pryor School as seen from SC Hwy 9 traveling east.
Interior of the Pryor School.