Page 1

Vol. I, 2009


of Sumter Past

The Iris Festival Shaw Air Force Base Mayor bubba Pocalla Springs Morris College and many more... Volume I • Reflections • 1


115 Years

20 N. MAGNOLIA STREET • SUMTER, SOUTH CAROLINA 2 • reflections • Volume I

803.774.1200 • WWW.THEITEM.COM

Welcome to Reflections I

Welcome to Reflections I Sumter has a history. It is a history with depth and breadth.

For over 200 years this community has recorded its history with words and pictures. Much of this history has appeared on the pages of Sumter’s newspapers; after all, newspapers have been described as “history on the run.” But newspaper journalism is a mere footnote and a simple sketch rather than a rich and full canvas bathed in countless shades. Photography provides a snapshot of some of those countless shades, complementing the words. It offers a reflection of what Sumter looked like, capturing its people, places and things from the past that stay with us and remind us of what we may have forgotten so we can remember and cherish certain memorable moments. Reflections I is a beginning, not an end. There will be more, thanks to the efforts of Sammy Way, archivist and historian par excellence for The Item. He has dug deep into the mountainous collection of photos and old newspapers accumulated by The Item over a period of 100 years, trying to bring order to chaos. In addition to that, he has had a lot of help from Sumterites who have generously shared their photos and memorabilia from the past to a collection of history that we hope will never end. Enjoy this maiden voyage of Reflections. And let us hear from you as we begin preparation for the next adventure into the past. We welcome constructive criticism along with any praise we may merit. That way, Reflections II can be even better. Hubert D. Osteen Jr. Editor The Item

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Researcher.............................................. Sammy Way Design and Layout.......................... Cary A. Johnson Sales............................................ Waverly Williams Edited by..................................................Chip Chase Editor................................................ Hubert Osteen Publisher.............................................. Jack Osteen Photos Courtesy Of....................... Johnny Johnson Gene Mabry Morris College Emily Kolb Sumter Family YMCA Dr. Edwin Brogdon Dorothy Reynolds The Late Bubba McElveen Heyward Crowson Item Staff Photographers The Citizens of Sumter Rusty Wilson Special Thanks to the historical research and writings of Anne King Gregorie, Cassie Nicholes and portia myers

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Iris Festival............................................................. 6 Mayor Bubba McElveen......................................... 14 Morris College..................................................... 22 Pocalla Springs.................................................... 30 Shaw Air Force Base............................................. 38 Sumter Heroes...................................................... 46 Sumter Schools.................................................... 54 Sumter Skyscrapers............................................. 62 Tuomey Hospital.................................................... 70 YMCA...................................................................... 78 Scenes from the past Community.............................................................. 84 People.................................................................... 94

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Iris Festival Iris Festival


he first Iris Festival was held in Sumter on May 24, 1940, and was sponsored by the Sumter Kiwanis Club with the support of several other civic clubs. J.J. Brennan is credited with originating that first festival, which proved so successful that the city decided to make it an annual event. In 1941, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, with the support of civic and business organizations, sponsored the festival. The program was much like the first, consisting of tours of the gardens and a parade that were followed by a dance at the local armory. The festival also celebrated the beauty of the iris gardens, which were developed by H.C. Bland. In December 1941 America entered into World War II, forcing the suspension of the dance and parade. The chamber of commerce continued to release information each year about the iris gardens and invited people across the state and nation to visit during the blooming period. On May 22, 1947, the chamber assumed the overall sponsorship of the festival with the Junior Chamber of Commerce organizing the downtown parade. The 1947 Iris Festival opened with a large air show staged at Shaw

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Field. In 1948 the Iris Festival received the distinction as “the South’s most colorful floral festival.” T. Doug Youngblood, general manager of Radio Station WFIG, led the steering committee and Vivian Burress of Wedgefield was selected as Hostess Queen to greet the young ladies who would compete for the title of “Queen Iris.” This program was carried on more than 550 radio stations throughout the country. Newspapers from every southern state also covered the event. The 1948 festival featured the largest parade ever witnessed in Sumter with an estimated 50,000 spectators. The Iris Festival has continued each year since it was revived in 1947. The concept of the festival has grown to include a wider segment of the Sumter population. The parades, which once required hours to complete, have diminished over the years, however, the total number of visitors and participants in the various programs have experienced continued growth. The Iris Festival continues as one of the most recognized floral festivals in the nation.

Previous Page: Parade winding through Sumter streets during the 1947 Iris Parade. Right: Large crowds watching the 1949 Iris Parade from Downtown sidewalks. Below: 1948 photo of marching band passing in front of the old Claremont Hotel.

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Right: A view of the 1954 Iris parade taken from atop the Dixie Life skyscraper. Below Right: Robin Williamson, from Conway, named Neptune’s Daughter during the 1955 Iris Festival. Below: One of the hundreds of youngsters who enjoyed watching the clowns who participated in the Iris Parade.

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Right: The future Mrs. Strom Thurmond, Nancy Moore who was the reigning Miss South Carolina. Below: One of the many innovative floats that participated in the 1949 Iris Festival.

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Left: Bill Pinkney served as Grand Marshal of the 1989 Iris Festival Parade. Right Below: Photo of a rare horse drawn float that participated in the 1948 Iris Parade. Below: Queen Iris contestants pose for a photo at Swan Lake. Circa 1953.

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Left: Doris Avant, Queen Iris 1949. Right Below: Mrs. Louise Epperson Wilson, Miss Sumter riding in the first Iris Festival Parade, 1940. Below: Former Mayor and Mrs. Edwin Boyle driving a two horse surrey in the 1950 Iris parade.

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Mayor Bubba Mayor Bubba


. Ashby McElveen Jr., affectionately known to the residents of Sumter as “Mayor Bubba”, was born in 1928. He lived his entire life at 208 N. Purdy St. an address that became synonymous with his newsletter “Love from 208,” which enjoyed a wide following in the community. He was the son of the late W. A. and Caroline Reese McElveen, who were active in the business realm and civic activities. The young Mayor Bubba attended the city’s public schools where his classmates remembered him for his “hearty laugh and jovial nature.” His early exposure to leadership began when he was elected president of his senior class. He was also active in the student government and numerous volunteer programs related to the World War II effort. Upon graduation from high school in 1945, he enrolled at The Citadel, where he would become one of the most popular cadets. He graduated in 1949 and enlisted in the Air Force where he would spend two years on active duty. In 1951 he would marry Barbara Jean Moore, affectionately known as “Miss Barbara.” They have three children; Nancy, Virginia and Wilson and also several grandchildren.

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Mayor Bubba began his public service in 1972 when he was elected to serve on City Council. He became mayor in 1980 and served eight years in that position. He was credited with instituting numerous changes in government procedures, the most prominent being the change in the meeting time of City Council. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church and he served as both Deacon and Elder. He served on numerous public boards and commissions and was accorded the Order of the Silver Crescent by Gov. Mark Sanford in 2004. Mayor Joe McElveen awarded him the Community Award just prior to his death in 2006. He became the first civilian to be named an honorary U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. It was through his efforts that Shaw would eventually be annexed into the city of Sumter. Bubba McElveen possessed an intense love and curiosity about his community. Over the course of years he would build a large inventory of facts about Sumter which he affectionately titled “The Bubba Archives.” He was active in a number of historical projects and community activities. His column titled “A Look Back”

was a regular feature in The Item. Bubba became Sumter’s historian. Those who sought information concerning the city of Sumter used Bubba as their primary resource. Carol Kammen who wrote “On Doing Local History” offered the perfect summary of Bubba McElveen. She states that “a local historian must be a multifaceted individual and one with a good deal of stamina, a person who is self-motivated and happy working alone, a person who cares to get the whole story and to get it as accurately as possible.” Kammen was referencing Mayor Bubba as he was constantly involved in a number of projects related to

teaching and preserving Sumter’s history. Mayor Bubba died on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2006, while recovering from surgery at Carolinas Hospital System in Florence. He was buried in the Tirzah Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Dalzell. He spent the bulk of his life in the service of others. He was a dedicated father, Christian, businessman, politician, historian and public servant. Bertrand Russell’s quote best characterizes Mayor Bubba: “The root of the matter…is love, Christian love, or compassion. If you feel this, you have motive for existence, a guide for action, a reason for courage and for intellectual honesty.”

Previous Page: Photo of Mayor Bubba taken from the top of County Administration Building. Left: A young Bubba McElveen in his Citadel cadet uniform. Above: Mayor Bubba attending one of his countless ground-breaking ceremonies.

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Above: Mayor McElveen in a candid pose with former Governor Carroll Campbell and President George H.W. Bush. Right: Former Mayor McElveen reflecting on the history of Sumter. Below: Young Ashby McElveen, senior class president, presiding over a student council meeting.

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Above: Bubba McElveen was a member of the 1945 Senior class prom committee. Right Top: Mayor Bubba and his childhood sweetheart/wife “Miss Barbara” Right Bottom: Mayor McElveen and Miss Barbara pose under his street sign located on Bartlette Street.

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Above: Mayor McElveen, Rep. Murrell Smith and David Weeks, as he receives one of his many awards. Right: One of Mayor Bubba’s novel election posters. Below: Mayor Bubba, his wife and friends on their way to the Trian Ball.

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Left: Young Ashby McElveen served as one of the war presidents during his senior years in high school. Below: Mayor Bubba providing one of his many “free kisses” to all potential voters during his run for city mayor.

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Morris College Morris College


he Baptist Educational, Missionary, and Sunday School Convention of South Carolina met in 1877 to consider the construction of facilities to educate black people. It was stressed at the organizational meeting that any school constructed must have “Negro ownership and control.” There were two sites in South Carolina being considered: one in Anderson and the other in Sumter. The Sumter site was selected and the Wateree Association offered land at 100 W. College St., where a high school and state college were soon established. The Negro Baptist Education and Missionary Convention of South Carolina founded Morris College in Sumter in 1908. Morris College was designed to offer three levels of instruction: elementary, high school and college. The purpose of the school’s construction was to provide black children with a free Christian education. Students at Morris were required to attend mandatory prayer services and Sunday school as a part of their curriculum. The school has continued to receive support from black churches and fraternal organizations located throughout the state. Dr. E. M. Brawley became the school’s first

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president and helped organize the curriculum, which included a liberal arts program and helped ensure a “normal” training program for the certification of teachers. Brawley was followed by Dr. John J. Starks, who expanded the curriculum and gave students the opportunity to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree. Starks assisted Morris in attaining 40 additional acres and oversaw the construction of six new campus buildings. In 1930, I.D. Pinson became president and under his leadership Morris restored its junior and senior colleges. Pinson died accidentally in 1939 and was followed by Dr. J.P. Garrick, who directed the construction of the Pinson Memorial Library. Garrick was be responsible for increasing enrollment and was later named President Emeritus after his resignation in 1946. Dr. H.H. Butler took over in 1946 and although his term was cut short due to his untimely death in 1948, he lived to see the completion of the Pinson Library and two other buildings on campus. He was followed by Dr. J.W. Boykin, who served as interim president until Dr. Odell Richardson Reuben took over in that capacity.

It was during Reuben’s tenure that Morris College experienced rapid growth resulting in the addition of several new facilities. He increased the school’s endowment by more than $250,000. Reuben died in 1970 as was followed by several interim presidents prior to the arrival of Dr. Luns C. Richardson in 1974. Under Richardson’s direction, Morris has experienced “a golden age.” He has been successful in eliminating many of the college’s monetary concerns. Additionally, he has been able to increase enrollment and supervise the construction of a $1 million resource learning

center. In 1978 Morris expanded its curriculum, offering educational opportunities in business administration, broadcast media, journalism, criminal justice, health science, theology and several additional courses of study. Morris continues to receive support from many Baptist organizations, its alumni and friends of education within the Sumter community. The mission of Morris College continues to focus on the religious welfare of its student body.

Top of Previous Page: Partial view of the Morris College campus during the early stages of its construction. Above: One of the modern classroom buildings located on the Morris campus. Left: Photo of Morris College’s first faculty in 1908.

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Top of Page: Students and faculty pose on the steps of the Morris Administration Building. Above: Photo of the Pinson Library located on the Morris Campus. Lower Left: Morris students prepare to enter the classroom. Circa 1929. Facing Page: Members of the Morris Women’s Choir.

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Left: Morris students pose at a stone marker which gives the date of the founding of Morris College. Below: The Morris Choir preparing to perform on WSPA television station.

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Left: Photo of early Morris students. Circa 1900

Below: Morris College student newspaper staff.

Bottom of Page: Morris students rehearsing for one of their many live stage performances.

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Volume I • Reflections • 29

Pocalla Springs Pocalla Springs


ocalla Springs became one of the most popular places in Sumter for swimming and camping at the turn of the 20th century. The resort was owned by M.H. Beck, who boasted he had the “Best swimming pool in seven states.” The main building was a threestory stucco structure, containing modern sanitary bath houses, a spacious dance hall located on the third floor and a large room for “games and amusement devices.” Beck purchased Pocalla Springs in 1909 with the intention of making it a profitable resort featuring a swimming pool. It was noted in an article published on May 2, 1914, in the Watchman and Southron newspaper that “Mr. M. H. Beck has developed Pocalla Springs as a pleasure and picnic resort and has done a public service to this community that few appear to realize or appreciate as fully as they should. He has spent a great deal of money and several years of constant effort in transforming the place into one of the most picturesque and attractive resorts to be found in South Carolina.” The facility opened in 1914 after years of preparation. It had several unique features that made it an ideal bathing spot. The swimming

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pool was fed by 11 wells, eight of which were above water and flowed at a rate of 29,000 gallons per hour. The water was crystal clear and was fed by natural artisan flowing wells. The water from the springs was highly valued for its taste and many claimed it had healthgiving qualities. The news of this miracle water caused a large influx of tourists, making it one of the most popular stopping points along the route to Florida. The pool had a yellow sand bottom and was free of any underwater growth, making it an ideal place in which to swim. Beck had a two-story pavilion constructed in order to accommodate the large number of visitors. The concession area and large dining room was located on the first floor. The second floor featured an “electric piano.” The bath house was located in a two-story separate structure and was later attached to the pavilion. This building projected out over the water and provided separate dressing facilities for men and women. Visitors could rent private bath houses for the season and these buildings were located on the opposite side of the springs. There was a free-standing bandstand that was also constructed in a manner that

allowed it to extend out over the water. There was a train that ran from Sumter to Wilson’s Mill via Paxville and Summerton, which also brought visitors to Pocalla Springs. By 1920, the majority of people made their way to the resort using automobiles. The Pocalla resort would continue to grow in popularity and became the center of Sumter’s summer recreational activity during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The first tourist courts in the state were constructed adjacent to the Pocalla area in 1924. This came about as a result of the increase in motor traffic on what was then U.S. 401. Sumter’s young people made Pocalla Springs one of their favorite stopping points. The owners of the springs constructed a number of devices designed to entertain the young people visiting. The most famous of these devices was the “Blue Streak,” which consisted of a continuous rope from the pavilion to the diving tower. Another popular device was the water wheel known as “the barrel.” This half submerged amusement

rotated on an axel with the object being to stand on the device without being toppled into the water. In 1929, the pavilion was enlarged to meet the growing demand of the hundreds of visitors who frequented Pocalla Springs. A modern laundry, soda fountain and games were added to entertain the customers. Pocalla Springs was often chosen as a center for house parties. To accommodate these parties four cabins were constructed, each capable of sleeping nearly 50 people. Pocalla Springs continued to expand and prosper until Beck’s death in 1947. Following his death, the pavilion and the springs were leased to the Shriners for use as their club house. The Shrine Club would be housed there for two years. On Thanksgiving Day in 1949, the pavilion caught fire and burned to the ground. Pocalla Springs was sold to a number of different firms, becoming a golf course before recently becoming the site of a number of modern apartment buildings.

Previous Page: The three story Pavilion which provided dressing rooms and entertainment facilities at Pocalla Springs. Left: Young visitors to Pocalla Springs dive into the pool from the bank.

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Above: Photo of the many youngsters who grew up swimming at Pocalla Springs. Left: Photo taken circa the 1920’s of family members using flat boats to view the Pocalla facility. Below: 1928 photo shows the Pocalla stream at full flood stage. Heavy flooding during this time caused little damage to the Pocalla Resort.

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Right: Many of the resort visitors sitting in the shade provided by large oak trees located near the Pocalla pool. Below: Newly completed three story Pavilion. Note the sliding board used by Pocalla visitors to enter the water directly from the dressing rooms.

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Right: This photo points out the number of flat boats available for the visitors to the resort. Below: Photo taken from the top of the observation bleachers showing the width of the Pocalla Springs pool.

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Right: The diving platform located near the center of the Pocalla Springs pool. Below: A photo illustrates the size of the sliding board where many visitors exited the dressing rooms located in the Pavilion. Bottom of Page: Postcard sold at Pocalla Springs giving the public specific info about facility.

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Shaw Field Shaw Field


n 1941, a committee from Sumter sent a proposal to the War Department in Washington, D.C., requesting that an air field be placed in their city. Along with the proposal, they sent a prospectus of two locations they thought would be suited for construction as a military flying field. After many hours of preliminary planning, several representatives from the War Department arrived in Sumter to review the recommended sites and to make recommendations to the district engineer. The War Department agents chose the site the Sumter committee had originally selected as an alternate site. Specifications as to the exact location were accepted by the Army on May 27, 1941. Project officer for the new air field was Maj. Burton M. Hovey, former operations officer at Maxwell Field, Ala. He was appointed on June 6 and arrived in Sumter a few days later to set up a temporary headquarters in Cherryvale Manor that served as headquarters for the field for several months. Contracts for the building of the field were awarded to various construction companies during the next few weeks, including the Boyle

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Construction Co. of Sumter. The base was officially named Shaw Field on Aug. 14, 1941, in honor of Lt. Erwin David Shaw, the only Sumter County flier to lose his life in combat during World War I. A few days later Hovey officially took command and the first enlisted man to be assigned to the station arrived the last day of August 1941. The crew chief on Hovey’s aircraft, a BT-13A, spent his first few weeks living in a hotel in the downtown area and worked out of Sumter’s airport. The plane was based at Sumter’s airport until a landing runway could be completed. In September 1941, the base headquarters was moved from the Cherryvale Manor to the new headquarters building at Shaw Field. On Oct. 22, Hovey tested the newly built runway by landing his plane there. The larger planes began arriving in the next few weeks. In December 1941, 29 officers and the first instructor cadets came in to organize and plan the pilot training that would begin shortly. The first group of cadets -- 138 men from 22 states who had just completed their primary flight training -- arrived 12 days later. Of the original 138 cadets, 130 graduated the following

February and Shaw was to see thousands more arrive in the next few years. In June 1942 hundreds of foreign officers and Canadian cadets arrived at Shaw Field to begin their training. In October 1942 several RAF officers arrived to help with the training of the large number of cadets. Later in 1942, the number of cadets graduating was more than 2,600. In succeeding years, thousands of men from the United States, France, Canada and Britain joined the ranks of fighting airmen around the world. Following World War II, Shaw became

a separation center for thousands of men processing for discharge as they prepared to return to civilian life. As the number of men being processed decreased, so did the number of men stationed at the base. Flying activity dropped until soon there were few aircraft at the base. However it was not long before Shaw would become a key military installation in the country’s defense scheme. Today Shaw is the home of the 9th Air Force Headquarters and the 20th Fighter Wing.

Previous Page: Photo of the first entrance gate located at Shaw Field. Circa 1942 Left: This photo shows a C47 “Gooneybird” aircraft landing on the newly completed gravel landing strip at Shaw in 1941. Below: Young pilot trainees receiving last minute instructions prior to entering their aircraft.

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Above: The members of the aircraft engineering department pose for a group photo. Circa 1943. Right: Construction begins on what would become Shaw Air Force Base. Below: Shaw Air Force Base Headquarters. Circa 1942.

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Right: Army Air Corps technicians examine tires for proper inflations.

Below: Trainer aircraft in formation on newly constructed runway.

Bottom: Future Shaw pilots dance while listening to a “jukebox” located at the Sumter USO.

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Above: C47 “Gooneybird” preparing for take-off from Shaw runway. Right: Aerial photo showing the newly completed Shaw Air Force Base. Circa 1942. Below: P51 Mustang “The Cadillac” of the Army Air Corps sits on Shaw runway.

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Above: TA-13 piloted by a future Air Corps fighter pilot above Shaw. Right: Construction continues on Shaw barracks which will soon house hundreds of cadets. Below: Shaw cadets begin their pilot training by participating in group exercises.

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Volume I • Reflections • 45

Sumter Heroes/D-Day Sumter Heroes/D-Day


aturday June 6, 2009, marked the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings. Americans paused and reflected on the significance of this momentous occasion and how the efforts of these brave individuals changed the course of history and saved the free world. The landings at Normandy began on the morning of June 6, 1944, at 6:30. The term D-Day was used to note the actual day of the landing and this massive Allied undertaking was also known as Operation Neptune and more commonly Operation Overlord. The attack was launched in two phases, beginning with an air assault and involved the landing of American, British, and Canadian airborne troops. The second phase would necessitate the landing of Allied infantry and several armored divisions at predetermined sites. The troops landed on five beaches code named Gold, Juno, Sword, Omaha, and Utah. Operation Overlord was the largest amphibious operation ever undertaken as 160,000 troops, 5,000 naval and merchant vessels, in addition to hundreds of bomber and fighter aircraft were involved in this massive invasion. Allied intelligence became masters of

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diversionary tactics and would enforce one of the strictest security operations of the war. The Allied Forces used code names to refer to the planning and execution of specific military operations related to the invasion. The initial assault phase of Operation Overlord, Operation Neptune, began on D-Day and would end on June 30, 1944, with the intentions that the Allies would have established a firm foothold in Normandy. Operation Overlord would begin on D-Day and continue until the Allied Forces had crossed the River Seine on Aug. 19, 1944. The unpredictable channel weather became one of the most crucial considerations in the planning of the invasion. The conditions for launching such a massive undertaking were considered suitable for only a few days each month. The correct tide, depth of water, cloud cover and the ability to see navigational landmarks were crucial before giving the signal to launch the invasion. On June 6, 1944, the Allied Supreme Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower made the decision to launch the invasion. The German army, led by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, would prepare one of the

most sophisticated defenses ever devised. This massive construction was referred to as the Atlantic Wall and was designed to stop any invasion forces before they could establish a beach head. Supporting fire for the invasion forces was provided by one of the largest naval forces ever assembled. The ships were responsible for destroying German beach defenses that would allow Allied forces to move inland. Prior to the invasion, Eisenhower issued what would become one of the most important military messages ever given. It read in part “You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months.” He also prepared a statement to be released if the invasion had failed. The invasion was declared a success after several tense hours of furious combat in which

thousands of soldiers from many nations lost their lives. Today the beaches at Normandy remain a stark reminder of the desperate struggle that took place on these now peaceful shores. The evidence of the severity of this conflict can be seen in the number of large cemeteries that remain near the landing site. The American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer features row after row of bright white markers that commemorate the final resting place of thousands of American soldiers. The passing of 65 years has not diminished the sacrifices of these gallant warriors and we shall never forget those who gave their lives to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today. Many of Sumter’s sons and daughters participated in the invasion and served with honor and pride.

Previous Page: German field artillery damaged by American G.I.'s during the battle to enter Germany. Left: American soldier examines weapons and materials left behind by retreating German soldiers. This photo was taken outside of one of the many bunkers found on the beaches of Normandy. Below: American Infantry men prepare to board ships that will take them to the beaches of Normandy.

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Above: U.S. soldiers prepare to embark onto the beaches of Normandy from one of the hundreds of landing craft. Left: Captain George Mabry receives a special citation for his combat efforts at Utah beach. Mabry would later be cited for and win the Congressional Medal of Honor, the only Sumterite to ever be granted this honor. Below: One of many U.S. aircraft destroyed during the Normandy invasion.

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Left: U.S. Combat troops take a well deserved rest during the battle for Hurtgen Forest. Below Left: Left: 9th Air Force member Johnny Johnson who landed on DDay plus thirty in 1944. Below right: Seaman Charles Jenkins who drove an LST delivering troops on D-Day, December 6, 1944.

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Above: A group of Sumter men including the future Mayor of Sumter (Beau Graham, third from right) prepare to report for induction into the military. Circa 1942. Left: One of several hundred Red Cross workers provide coffee and food for those soldiers who took part in the DDay landing. Below: One of many German aircraft destroyed by the U.S. Army Air Corps during the invasion of Normandy.

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Right: A captured V1 rocket which was fired on the city of London, this weapon of destruction was captured by the men of the 9th Air Force. Middle Right: U.S. combat troops board ships which will take them across the English Channel to Normandy. Below: Eugenia Bradford (Mabry) was a Red Cross worker who landed on the Normandy beaches 10 days after D-Day. Bottom of Page: Photo illustrates the devastation caused by allied saturated bombing efforts prior to the D-Day invasion.

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We’ve been bringing you the future for nearly 100 years.

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....TOMORROW. Advance ed Imaging Alle ergy Anesthessio ology Cardiolo ogyy Dermato olo ogy Develop pmental Pediatrics Diabetess/EEndocrinology Eaar, Nose & Throat Em mergen ncyy Care Faamily Praactice Gastroen nte erology General Su urgery Geriatricc Care Gynecolo ogy Hematologgy In nfectiou us Disease In nternal Medicine Medical Oncology Nephrolo ogy Neurologgy Nursery (Le evel II) Obstetriccs Occupatiion nal Medicine Occupatiion nal Therapy Opht hthalm hthalm mol ology olog oggy Orraall Surgery ry Orthop Or Ort paediics Ou uttp pattiie ent Surge ge eryy Pain Managgeme Pa ent Path holog ogy Pediatric at cs cs Pharrmacy macyy Physical Therapy Plaastic Surggery Podiatry Pulm monolloggy Radiation Oncology Spo orts Me edicine Spe eech Th herapy Spin ne Surrge ery Sle eep Cen nte er Uro ology VasscularVolume SurgeryI • Reflections • 53

TUOMEY (Still) bringing more to life.

See what’s next at

Sumter Schools Sumter Schools


n 1837, a one-acre tract was deeded to the village of Sumterville. This land, for the consideration of $1 and improvements, was for the purpose of establishing a suitable school for the community. Granted by Sumter's first lawyer, John Blount Miller, this tract became the site of the Sumterville Academy and for a number of years, it remained the most important school in this area. It was not truly a public school and there is no definite record as to when it discontinued operation, but it is certain that the building burned at a later date. Several schools, either private or parochial, were in operation in the Sumter community during this period. There was an abundance of educational opportunities for those who could afford to pay tuition. Many of the Sumter residents began to demand public educational facilities. In May 1888, the issue of public education was put before the local taxpayers and they responded by petitioning the General Assembly to provide for the establishment of a separate school district and allow for the collection of taxes to support the building of a public facility. A charter for the development of public

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school in Sumter was granted on Dec. 24, 1888, and a school board was elected to initiate operations. The Andrew Jackson Moses mansion on Washington Street (present Sumter County Museum) was leased for the education of white students who began their studies on Sept. 1, 1889. During July 1889 the first teachers were hired and John B. Duffie was selected as school superintendent. The A.J. Moses School opened on Sept. 2, 1889, and approximately 300 boys and girls enrolled. The school was forced to utilize the cellar to find room for this number of students. Nine grades were formed with only one girl qualifying for the 10th grade and no students qualified for the 11th grade. The student's knowledge of math was used to determine grade qualification. Residents decided to construct a larger school building and a portion of land at the corner of Washington and Liberty streets was leased from the Ladies Monumental Society. This lease was to run for 99 years and construction was begun on what would become Washington School in 1891. The new graded school, Washington School, was opened on Sept. 12, 1892, and became a

fixture in the public school system of Sumter for several decades. The building was torn down in 1978. The Wachovia Bank currently stands where this once proud structure stood. Lincoln School On Sept. 3, 1874, District One purchased a half-acre lot on Council Street from Sumter Station Methodist Church, which is now called Trinity United Methodist Church. The purpose was to build a school to educate Sumter's African- American students. In 1875, an additional 30 feet adjoining this property was also purchased from the Methodist church. In accordance to legislation on Dec. 24, 1888, which provided for the establishment of a separate school district in Sumter, what would become Lincoln School came under the supervision of the newly elected school board. This school would serve as the center of educational activities for the black community for 80 years. The initial building was a crudely constructed frame cottage consisting of four rooms. John Duffie was the superintendent and the Rev. I.B. Smith served as the first principal of Lincoln. He would teach along with three female teachers: Martha A. Savage, Jennie Walker and

Rowena Andrews. In 1895, the Sumter School District gained a new superintendent, Dr. Samuel H. Edmunds. During his administration the student population continued to grow while the building remained in poor condition. In 1905, an 18x20 foot classroom was built on the school grounds, however, this building provided only temporary relief. Plans were drawn to construct a new facility, however, Edmunds died in 1935. The newly elected superintendent, William F. Loggins, with the help of Dr. C.W. Birnie fulfilled Edmunds’ dream and a new brick building with 20 classrooms and an auditorium was completed in 1937. By 1953, the facilities had been completely renovated with two new wings that included 20 classrooms, a library and a cafeteria. Shortly after this, a kitchen and a band room were also added. Lincoln High School's 80-year history came to an end in 1969-70 when Lincoln and Edmunds combined to form Sumter High School. The Lincoln High building remains the sole surviving structure of the newly created Sumter School District.

Previous Page: Lincoln High School. Circa 2000. Right: Members of the Lincoln High School newspaper staff. The Lincoln newspaper was called The Echo Photo taken 1968.

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Right: Cornerstone placed on Washington School noting the date of the beginning of construction and completion date. Below: Washington School as it appeared circa 1950.

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Above: Lincoln High honor graduates preparing to deliver their commencement addresses. Photo taken 1968. Right: An aerial view of Academic Square or "The Greens" as it was called by native Sumterites. Photo circa 1945.

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Above: Students assembled in front of the Washington School at the beginning of the school year. Circa 1920. Middle: Stairwells in Washington building which lead to the second floor. Picture taken just prior to demolition of the school building. Below: Picture of the 1968 Lincoln High bulldog football team.

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Above: 1936 photo of students enrolled at Washington School. Photo appeared in Sumter High yearbook dedicated to the memory of former superintendent, Dr. S.H. Edmunds. Left: Historical marker erected by the Lincoln High Alumni association.

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Volume I • Reflections • 61

Sumter Skyscrapers Sumter Skyscrapers


t was announced on Dec. 20, 1911, by the Board of Directors of the City National Bank that the bank would construct the city of Sumter’s first skyscraper. The structure was to be built on the northeast corner of Main and Liberty streets and would offer six floors of rental space to the businesses of Sumter. The contract was to be awarded on Jan. 10 and the structure was expected to be completed in eight months. The buildings on the construction site were removed and a solid granite foundation was installed. The City National Bank moved into its new facility on June 30, 1913. The Board of Directors had spared no expense in making the new bank an impressive structure, featuring the latest in technology and structural design. The bank introduced an elevator system, which many believed was the first in the state. The seventh floor, which featured a roof garden, was occupied and furnished by the Sumter Club. This garden provided the members with a beautiful view of Sumter and the surrounding countryside. The building remained a landmark in the Sumter community for 60 years, but it was

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announced in August 1973 that demolition of the structure would soon begin. The following announcement appeared in The Sumter Daily Item on Aug. 15: “We found it not feasible to have it remodeled,” said a representative of Hodge Real Estate, which owned the building. “It would cost about $250,000 to remodel the building and the return on it would not make it feasible to spend that much money. …the building is out of date, the elevator doesn’t work, the plumbing is out of date, the electrical works are out of date-all we really have is a hull.” The Jet Wrecking Company of Sumter, owned by Gerald Washington, was selected to do the demolition. The location of the structure made implosion impossible so traditional methods of pulling down the structure had to be used. The building proved to be extremely difficult to bring down. “I got my diploma on that building,” Washington said. “It took us six months or more, the five of us. I thought it had wooden floors, but it had seven inches of concrete!” The tearing down of the “Dixie Life Building,” as the skyscraper was known to

most Sumterites, marked an end of an era in Sumter’s history. For decades, the downtown was the primary shopping center for the city’s residents, however, with the arrival of the “malls,” there had been a gradual decline in the number of people willing to support the shops in this area. The city made an attempt to halt the exodus

of shoppers in the area by constructing a downtown mall in 1975. This effort proved unsuccessful. There has been a continued effort by many dedicated people to revitalize the downtown area and help it return to a significant shopping arena.

Previous Page: A view of Sumter’s skyscraper from Main Street looking north.

Right: A crane with a wrecking ball used to demolish the Dixie Life building. Below: A view from Main Street looking north with Sumter skyscraper on the horizon. Note the cars parking in the middle of the street which was permissible at the turn of the century.

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Above: These buildings had to be removed in order for the construction of Sumter’s skyscraper to begin. Picture taken Circa 1910. Right: Photo taken from the Daily Item office located on Liberty Street with the skyscraper in the background. Circa 1938. Below: View from the top of the Dixie Life Building of Sumter looking south down Liberty Street. Facing Page: A photo of the Dixie Life building taken on the corner of Main and Liberty. Circa early 1960’s.

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Above: Shadow of wrecking ball above the head of one of the many workers assigned to complete the demolition of Sumter’s skyscraper. Right: Photo shows the extent of the damage caused by the wrecking ball on the Dixie Life Building. Below: The view of South Main Street taken from atop Sumter’s skyscraper. Circa 1920.

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Above: A 1945 photo taken from atop the skyscraper showing the Edmunds band leading a parade. Right: Photo taken looking through the roof of Jack’s Department store at the Dixie Life Building. Below: Worker uses torch to cut steel beams taken from the skyscraper into smaller sections.

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Volume I • Reflections • 69

Tuomey Hospital Tuomey Hospital


ne of the men instrumental in the establishment of health care in the Sumter area was Dr. William Wallace Anderson (1789-1864), who became the first doctor to remove a cancerous jawbone from a slave owned by Gen. Thomas Sumter. He was followed by several physicians, including his son William Wallace, Drs. S.C. and C.R.F. Baker and Dr. J.J. Bossard. In 1894, Dr. Alexander Dick and S.C. Baker partnered to form the 10 -bed Baker-Dick Infirmary. In that same year, Dr. Julius Mood opened a clinic that later became a part of the Sumter Hospital. Mood, in addition to his medical practice, worked as the editor of the Watchman and True Southron newspaper. The clinics were financed by the doctors using the fees collected from their patients and, thus, they were referred to as private institutions. Most of Sumter’s nurses received their training in these infirmaries under the guidance and direction of the physicians. In 1897, Anna Simpson was appointed Sumter’s first superintendent of nurses by Mood. In 1901, the Sumter Training School for Nurses became a reality. Sumter was then

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able to prepare its own supply of nurses and with Robert O. Purdy serving as president, the school graduated seven qualified nurses between 1902 and 1905. Dr. C.P. Osteen joined the Mood Infirmary in 1900 and formed a partnership that would last until 1911. Mood’s son, Dr. H. A. Mood, joined his father’s practice, thus increasing the number of patients the Infirmary could serve dramatically. In 1908, Baker and Dick added H.M. Stucky, Walter Cheyne and Archie China to their staff, creating a new facility called The Sumter Hospital. The new building operated as a private institution and featured 30 beds. This new facility included a wing designated for the treatment of blacks and was financed by the doctors themselves. In order to eliminate the duplication of services and lower the cost of operation, the Mood Infirmary consolidated with the Sumter Hospital in 1913. The hospital received a financial boost in 1897 after the death of Timothy J. Tuomey, who left his considerable assets to the city earmarked for the “establishment and maintenance” of a hospital. This facility was to

be known as “The Tuomey Hospital,” and after the death of his wife, Ella Tuomey, a perpetual endowment, including Bell’s Mill Plantation, was to be established to continue support for the facility. Tuomey’s will specified that the new hospital was to be managed by a board of trustees. The wishes of Tuomey have continued to be honored and the hospital continues to be administered in this manner. The board of trustees purchased the Sumter Hospital on Aug. 1, 1913, and the name was changed to “The Tuomey Hospital.” The Tuomey Hospital School of Nursing became a part of the hospital in 1914 and graduated its first class in 1916. The estate of Neill O’Donnell, Tuomey’s brother-in-law, left another endowment to the hospital following his death in 1937. A larger nurses home was constructed in 1938 and the board named the nurses residence “The Neil O’Donnell Residence for Nurses,” in honor of his serving more than 25 years as a hospital trustee.

In 1961 the “Old Tuomey Hospital,” formerly the Sumter Hospital, was earmarked for demolition and construction soon began on a new four-story wing. The original structure was built at a cost of $20,000 and the fully equipped facility would resemble the celebrated Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The cost of staying in this facility was usually $10 a week, ranging in some cases as high as $25. The original Tuomey Hospital was replaced by a new multi-level complex costing approximately $562,000. The nurse’s home was moved and renovated in order to comply with the state building codes. This new phase of construction expanded the hospital into a modern 203-bed facility by 1963. As the Sumter community has continued to grow so have the health needs of its populace, causing the “Tuomey Regional Medical Center” to undergo substantial expansions in the last few decades. The most recent addition was its stateof-the-art birthing center, which gave Tuomey 301 beds.

Previous Page: 1954 photo of the entrance of Tuomey, when it faced Calhoun Street. Right: 1915 photo of the Tuomey Hospital staff. Featuring both nurses and doctors.

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Above: Tuomey medical staff sitting on the front steps of the facility. Right: Picture of Dr. Julius Mood, founder of the Mood Infirmary and one of the co-founders of what would become the Tuomey Hospital.

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Right: The Baker Dick Infirmary, one of the first medical clinics established in the city of Sumter. The infirmary was located on (Republican) now Hampton Avenue. Circa 1894. Below: Photo of the Sumter Hospital. Circa 1901.

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Right: Ceremony welcoming a young graduate into the nursing profession. Middle Right: Circa 1928 photo of what was then the Tuomey Hospital. Below: Photo of Tuomey nurses in front of their recently purchased ambulance. Circa 1924

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Above: 1950 class of graduates from the O'Donnell Nursing School. Left: Neil O'Donnell School for nurses, formerly located on Sumter street. Middle Left: North wing of Tuomey, photo circa 1954. Below: Rear view of Tuomey Hospital taken from Sumter Street. Circa 1954.

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he Young Men’s Christian Association met on June 24, 1910, at the Armory Hall on the second floor of what was then Brody’s Department Store. This group met with the intent of raising $35,000 to erect a building that would provide religious training to local youths. Dr. S.H. Edmunds was named president of the first board of directors and this group would guarantee the first mortgage of $16,000, ensuring that construction would soon begin. An intensive drive was initiated to raise the necessary funds required to complete the project. Dr. Edmunds, who was superintendent of schools, served as the president of the “Y” until his death in 1935. The northwest corner of Liberty and Sumter streets was selected as the building site and one year later construction on the three-story, red brick building was complete. The building featured a pool on the lower level, dormitories on the second and third floors with a gym and recreational facilities on the fourth floor. The “Y” fielded its first basketball team in 1914. It also provided spiritual programs and personal guidance to its members. A series

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of motivational speakers were retained and many sports personalities made appearances to provide interaction with the youngsters. The “Y” gained a reputation as an athletic power shortly after it began operation. During the 1930s, every area high school basketball team dressed and played there because is was the only gym in the city until 1940 . The athletic programs experienced unprecedented success with the arrival of Austin Francis in 1930 as secretary of the “Y.” Under his direction, the number of students involved in the programs increased dramatically, and he coached the Midget team that won the Carolinas basketball tournament. In 1935, his Juniors team was state runner-up in its division. The Second World War brought a temporary halt to the athletic program at the “Y” and the organization reduced the number of activities until the war ended. Francis left Sumter in 1943 and was replaced by Carl Link, who continued the “Y” tradition of success. Link would remain until 1949 and was replaced by a number of secretaries, which would include Charles Nooney and Bob Vetter. The “Y” started its church league in 1963 and focused on boys and girls under the age

of 13. This activity became extremely popular with the city and soon there were several teams playing in the leagues. The “Y” has continued to evolve as the demands of the community have changed. The “Y” has developed an extensive camp program with several sessions being offered during the summer. 1966 marked an end to an era, when the old building was sold and later demolished. The building, which had served the youths of Sumter for nearly a half century, was replaced by a modern facility located on Willow Drive. The new facility was dedicated to Bobby Richardson, who has been a devoted supporter of the YMCA for a number of years. The new facility

has undergone several expansions, including a second gym, fitness center and improved courts. The building also features a chapel, dedicated to Mary Burgess for her humanitarian efforts for the women of the Sumter community. The “Y” has continued to be a driving force in the Sumter community since 1910 and is preparing to celebrate 100 years of service in 2010. The facility has continued to expand to meet the changing needs of its members. The latest in modern technology is utilized to insure the best training and conditioning information is accessible to the city and its membership.

Previous Page: Sumter YMCA was formerly located on the corners of Liberty and Sumter Streets. This beautiful brick structure would be torn down and replaced with a new facility in 1956. Right: The YMCA pool was dedicated in memory of Austin Francis (shown here), one of the most dynamic coaches in the history of the Y athletic program.

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Right: The YMCA 1920 State Championship team. Below: The YMCA board reviewing plans for the new facility to be constructed on Miller Road. Bottom of Page: Photo of the 1966 YMCA shortly before it opened. Facing Page: Interior view of the Y on Liberty Street taken circa 1935. Construction continues on the new Y facility located on Miller Road.

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Left: Bobby Richardson as the principal speaker at the dedication ceremonies in the new Y facility. Below: Members prepare to enter the old YMCA located on Liberty and Sumter Streets. Circa 1920.

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Left: Phil Booth, young YMCA member was selected to serve as Mayor of Sumter for the Day in 1934. Above: Youngsters at the YMCA preparing to do wind sprints in the Y gym. Below: Members of the YMCA pose for a picture in the Y gym. Circa 1935.

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Community Community

History notes that the starting point of any community is the founding of a courthouse because it tended to be at the center of all activity. Sumter's first courthouse was established on the northeast corner of Canal and Main streets on the homesite of John Gayle. The date noting the first legal activity at this site was 1800. The community of Sumterville, later to be called Sumter, began to branch out from this point. With the influx of numerous immigrant groups, a variety of businesses and cultural

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interest evolved. And with the arrival of English and Scots-Irish settlers, a variety of religious sects began to establish houses of worship. Later the Jewish and Catholic faiths arrived, helping to form a multi-cultural environment. Today, the Sumter community is home to a diverse range of faiths and religions as well as ethnic and racial groups. The community continues to operate on the core principles of industry, enterprise and invention.

Opposite: The African American movie theater once located on Liberty Street. Left: New Post Office located on the corner of Caldwell Street and South Main Street. Circa 1909.

Right: Fire at Brody’s Department Store once located on Liberty Street. Photo taken 1969. Below: The Lighthouse Restaurant once located on Broad Street near the Bowling Alley.

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Top of Page: Postal employees at work in new Post Office located on South Main Street circa 1912. Above: Photo of old Fire Department prior to demolition in 1970. Right: Church of the Holy Cross located in the Stateburg community located near Highway 261 also known as the King’s Highway. Below: Jim’s Waffle Shop once located on South Main Street would move to Broad Street and become Big Jim’s which remained a popular dining spot until it closed.

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Above Left: “Cotton Day” on Main Street in Sumter during late 1910. Above Right: The Borough House, once a tavern, remains one of the oldest homes in Sumter County. The home is located on Highway 261 in Stateburg. Right: Employees of the O’Donnell &Co. pose for photo in one of Sumter’s most famous men’s apparel shops. Photo circa 1900. Below: Sumter Atlantic Coast Line train station located on Harvin Street. Taken down in 1972.

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Above Left: The YWCA building on Washington Street being demolished in 1968. Above Right: Photo of the Robert Mills inspired Courthouse once located on Main Street across from the Opera House. Photo taken circa 1900. Left: Photo of the First Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Main and Calhoun Street, as it looked circa 1910. Note the unpaved streets lined with large oak trees.

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Above: Wesmark Esso Station located on the corner of Broad Street and Wesmark Boulevard. Photo taken 1966. Left: Paisley Park 1955.

Right: Shore line of pond located at Poinsett State Park. This facility was once the most popular swimming sites in Sumter County. Circa 1969.

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Right: The Robert Mills inspired courthouse once located in front of the Opera House on Main Street.

Left: The old fire house once located behind the Opera House circa 1932. Note the hedge trimmed in the shape of an SFD. Bottom Left: The Delorme Home also known as the High Hills Plantation located near the Kings Highway. Bottom Right: Salvation Army Building once located on Harvin Street.

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Above Left: Boxcar explodes at South Sumter rail yards in 1968. Above Right: Fall fest held on Main Street, October 1893. Right: The popular Sumter Hotel once located on South Main Street circa 1914. Bottom: Workers including Noah Graham Osteen (with beard) pose for photo in the Osteen Publishing Company circa 1920’s.

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Right: The first Boys High School located on Calhoun Street. This school will burn and be rebuilt into the Girls High School and later McLaurin Junior High. Grace Baptist Church currently resides on this site. Below: 1971 photo of cars racing in Darlington 500. Photo taken 1971.

Below: The Opera House was home to the popular Sumter Theatre. Photo taken 1973.

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Right: Santa Claus arrives by plane and is greeted by children from the Sumter community in 1955. Below: Beautiful home built by C.T. Mason, Jr. located near Mason Croft Drive.

Above: B&H Gulf Station once located on the corner of Main and Calhoun Streets. 1931 Photo. Left: The Dragon Fly Co. manufactured fishing equipment and was located between the bowling alley and the new Aldi Food Store on Broad Street.

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People People

What makes Sumter unique is not its buildings, lakes or industries, but its people. A community reflects the hard work, the beliefs, the philosophies, the humor and the creativity of those who live there. For those who first came to Sumter, what they have carved out of

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a raw wilderness remains a vibrant, growing and changing entity. We are fortunate that we can share in the accomplishments of our forefathers. What our city and county has become is a testament to their creativity and genius.

Previous Page: View of the 1947 Iris Festival parade from the South Main overhead bridge. It was the first resumption of the Iris Festival after World War II. Right: Four small girls sit atop a horse in front of the George Shore Law Office located on Law Range. Circa 1903.

Above: P-15 Legion Baseball coaches discuss the upcoming season. Coaches are from left to right, Hugh Betchman, Bernie Jones, Wyman Morris. Circa 1962. Right: Fresh ground grits being prepared at the Ellerbe's Mill House. Photo taken 1965.

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Left: Postal delivery men pose for photo on the steps of the new Post Office circa 1912.

Above: Popular local band the “Nomads” pose for photo at Palmetto Plaza sign in 1967. Right: Sumter police detectives look for fingerprints after break-in at Kress store on Main Street.

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Right: Brogdon family portrait. May 28, 1918.

Above: Photo of the “Sumter Generals” a semi-pro football team no longer in existence. Left: TV personality, Bobby Benson, talks with T. Doug Youngblood and one of the Queen Iris contestants prior to the 1952 Iris Festival parade.

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Top of Page: Employees of the O.J. Hallman Company pose for photo in1966. One of the most popular auto repair shops in Sumter for years. Above Left: Photo of fire truck being donated to the children of Sumter. Truck now located at Swan Lake Playground. Above Right: Logan’s Café was once a popular downtown dining facility in the 1950’s and 60’s. Right: 1967 photo of car participating in race at the Sumter Speedway. 98 • reflections • Volume I

Right: Henrietta Burkett circa 1902. Below: Woman shelling beans in rural store. Photo taken 1975.

Bottom of Page: Gerald Washington and his Jet Wrecking crew demolishing school in Cartersville.

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Top of Page: Photo of the Sumter Fire Department taken in 1950. Above: Richard and Pat Nixon on their visit to Shaw Air Force Base in 1970. Left: Hugh McLaurin checks his peach trees for damage in the Wedgefield area after a severe drop in temperature.

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Right: Rainbow Restaurant interior. Once a favorite dining spot for many Sumterites. Below: Marian McKnight, from Manning, was crowned Queen Iris in 1954. She would go on to win the title of Miss America. Bottom of Page: RuVelles 1955.

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Above: Item carriers spend the day at Poinsett State Park in 1941. Left: Sumter Fire Company which set a state record for responding to an alarm pose for photo with their equipment.

Right: Freddie Solomon, former Sumter High star football player, went on to play professionally with the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins.

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Left: Employees of Brown’s full service Gulf Station pose for photo in 1966.

Above: Item carriers pose for photo behind Item Office located on corner of Magnolia and Hampton Avenue. Harold Wright, circulation manager, is calling the roll. Left: Lemira students checking out books from the “Bookmobile” circa 1950.

Volume I • Reflections • 103

Right: John Brabham Sr. office opens in 1966.

Left: Hubert D. Osteen attending a luncheon for South Carolina Editors with President John F. Kennedy in the White House. Photo taken in 1963.

Right: Youngsters pose in front of Hampton Elementary School located near Hampton Avenue circa mid 1960’s.

Facing Page: Candidates for the title of Queen Iris pose in the front of the Elks Club once located on Broad Street.

104 • reflections • Volume I

Volume I • Reflections • 105









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106 • reflections • Volume I

Reflections VOL 1  
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