Today the Nomads headed south of the border; the North Carolina border that is. Hendersonville, North Carolina is about 25 miles or so from the South Carolina border. If you continue on south another 20 miles or so, you will arrive at the City of Spartanburg, South Carolina; our destination for today.
Spartanburg, South Carolina is the largest city and county seat of Spartanburg County with about 37,000 people as of 2010. From what I have read, the city was first a courthouse village and it seems that this city may have been named after the Spartan Regiment of the South Carolina Militia.
During the American Revolution, South Carolina played an important role. In 1778 the British turned their attention from mainly a northern campaign and shifted focus to the south. After the fall of Charles Towne in 1780, South Carolina had a dramatic increase in activity because militia throughout the south gathered here.
Some of the most brutal and significant battles in the southern campaign happened in and around Spartanburg, including The Battle of Cowpens. This was a pivotal battle, led by Brigadier General Daniel Morgan, that was heralded as the turning point for the reconquering of South Carolina by the Continental Army. The main city square in Downtown Spartanburg, Morgan Square, is named for General Morgan.
Walking through the downtown streets of Spartanburg you get a cross cultural feel that seems to span different across ages. You will see things like the monument to General Morgan, that takes you back to the 1700s right across from newer restaurants that clearly bring you into the 2000s. There is architecture that seems to jump back and forth from early 1900s to later 1900s. There are older bronze sculptures that seem to be set in the 1960s and newer age looking sculptures that are a cross between modern and Greek artwork. The last one I referred to was one of my personal favorites. It did not have a title. But, it is a sculpture of a guy who is sculpting himself. I look at it as a representation of a “self-made man.” It is all interesting to say the least.
One of the most interesting things we came upon was a sign that told you about a musician from the area named Pink Anderson (1900-1974). He was one of the two Blues musicians that the British band Pink Floyd was named after. This sign is part of the Spartanburg Music Trail. You can dial a number on your phone and enjoy the music trail audibly.
One of the most unexpected things we came across was the Corporate Headquarters for Denny’s Restaurants in a building that looked like it was 20 stories or more. From a long way away we saw the Denny’s sign at the top and thought they had a restaurant in the building. We thought it odd because we had never seen a Denny’s in a corporate building. But, we thought it was at least possible. Upon closer inspection, we found another sign that clearly stated Denny’s HQ. In front was a beautiful stretch of park with small waterfall features along both sides.
A surprising and unique thing that we came across was a building that had its doors and windows all covered with plywood. That was not the surprising thing. What was surprising is that each upstairs window board was painted to look like it was dark with light coming in. Each downstairs window and the main door was painted to look like you were peering into a dark room with hanging chandeliers.
We also came across something that made me chuckle. I did not take the time to see if this was someone’s last name. However, with the business name of Turnipseed Law Firm, you have to admit that it is at least worth a slight grin.
The Nomads spent the afternoon walking around and taking in the mixture of all of the different cultural and architectural mixtures the city had to offer. In my opinion, if you like to do urban exploration, enjoy architecture and artwork mixtures and you are going to be within an hour or so of Spartanburg, then Downtown Spartanburg is worth stopping by for an afternoon. Safe Travels.