Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Head of the Cabbage World


This is the Town of Meggett, SC, which received its charter in 1905. We're parked in front of an area which once contained buildings contiguous to the two brick structures on either side. This is their main street which has received recent appointments of curbed sidewalks and simulated period lamp posts. The small white peaked roof covers an atrium which is a brand new fixture to give you the time of day and a bit of shade.

The two story brick building in the background once housed the South Carolina Produce Association, built for that purpose around 1921. Meggett was almost entirely an agricultural community at the time and the Cabbage Capital of the World. The Association was a consortium of local farmers formed to promote and sell their crops worldwide. Directly across the street were large packing sheds and a railroad siding.

We seldom pass up an opportunity to tie railroads into our visits. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad ran a spur ( side track ) right through this area which terminated at a dock on Yonges Island, an adjacent community. Crops where shipped out both by merchant vessels and train. Neither modern paved roads nor the efficient vehicles which ply them existed at that time.

In our travels we often wind up on remote paved roads which terminate into dirt paths or fields, roads to nowhere. Because agriculture was a primary industry for the state in those years, the S.C. Legislature funded considerable rural paving to allow farmers to both harvest and deliver their crops to market. Often a farmer might have a bumper crop, a bull market, but become bogged down on muddy, rutted, impassable dirt roads only to go bust for the season. Frequently a public posting or newspaper ad promoting some event would include a boast of excellent road conditions as a primary draw. That was a hundred times the seduction of free hot dogs and rides for the kiddies today.

Meggett was a thriving community in the 20's and 30's and fared better than many rural or urban communities during the Great Depression which began in 1929. The Association's building later became an active local bank. The first telephone exchange for the Meggett - Hollywood are was housed in the rear of that same building. A library came into the place in later years and was quite popular in those distant days prior to the planting of satellite dishes in every garden.

It is uncertain what sort of activity will be generated by these recent adornments to the surviving business district. We notice that the lamp posts came equipped with staffs to display banners such as those we see in many towns promoting some sort of festival, event or encouraged community sentiment.

The building forward of the GT was once the post office then Town Hall, but houses a real estate office now. In this delightful, quiet and yet unspoiled community it seems certain that those realtors will be very busy. Property owners will no longer need to call at the post office as Charleston County will gladly mail their tax bills directly to those increasingly valuable homes. The tax man will be harvesting a lot of cabbage from those wallets this season.


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