Two scenic highways meet in the northwestern corner of South Carolina: the Cherokee Foothills Highway and Savannah River Byway. I decided to quickly sample both, and the most interesting place I found along the way was the tiny community of Townville, South Carolina.
The Cherokee Foothills Highway follows SC Rte. 11, from its western terminus at Interstate 85 exit 1, to its eastern end at Interstate 85 exit 92 (at Gaffney, SC). The Savannah River Scenic Byway begins at Rte. 11 and heads south, following several routes along the way: SC 24, 187, 412, and 81, before ending just north of Augusta, Georgia. The turn from SC 24 onto 187 is poorly marked (I missed the turn, then later abandoned my plans to drive any further on the byway). Townville is located on SC Rte. 24, just north of the interstate.
My route took me up Rte. 11, then turned onto Rte. 24. After crossing over the interstate, then passing over Lake Hartwell, I abandoned my pursuit of the scenic routes, and called it quits for the day, retreating to the high-speed comfort of the interstate. I can tell you that in the first 10 miles of the Cherokee Foothills Highway, there wasn’t a single stretch that even remotely qualified as “scenic” (though I can’t vouch for anything further north/east than Rte. 24). As for the northern end of the Savannah River Scenic Byway, it was more beautiful (the stretch crossing Lake Hartwell was very nice). But the only place that I found worthy of a stop was Townville.
There’s not much to see or do in Townville, which is probably why it feels like time has forgotten this speck on the map. The “downtown” area consists of a couple of storefronts, and a few semi-abandoned homes. Stop for just a few minutes to stretch your legs, as you walk down the sidewalk.
Here’s one of the old storefront buildings, and a shed, maybe? It looked too small to be useful for much.
This old home has seen better days.
Good thing there are bars on the windows!
Another abandoned house, complete with a living room sofa on the front porch.
Seriously, when was the last time you saw “Kilroy” graffiti? Perhaps it’s a sign that the deadly “Kilroy” gang is taking over Townville, South Carolina?
[tmt_info =””]A short detour off the Savannah River Scenic Byway will take you back into Georgia at the town of Hartwell. Here, you can view the stonehenge-esque “Georgia Guidestones”. Roadsideamerica.com tells the odd story of their creation: A mysterious man with a fake name left $50,000 in a local bank, provided instructions for the project, then disappeared. Local folks carried through with his wishes, creating six granite monoliths, each 19 feet tall, inscribed with ten “new” commandments in eight different languages.[/tmt_info]
[tmt_info =””]Try as I might, I can’t find a single fun fact about Townville. Has anything ever happened there? Have I missed some fascinating fact? If so, let me know.[/tmt_info]
Note: This trip was first published in 2006.