Share your memories of Glenn Springs
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Create a post of your memories of Glenn Springs to share with others. It can be about a person from Glenn Springs, a location in Glenn Springs, or a feeling you had in Glenn Springs. Please share any and all cherished memories. We want to preserve for the future all recounts of this great, historic place.
"This story goes back to the early forties continuing until today. In my early teens our church had youth parties in the beautiful, well kept grounds in and around the old Glenn Spring’s spring house. I did what my mother asked me not to do. She did not want me getting into the water. The water pool near the walkover bridge was very inviting. Some of us could not resist. I jumped in and cut a deep place in my knee. This became infected due to my resistance to tell my mother. I have a scar on my right knee until today. It is a real “Glenn Springs” scar from the days when there was a demand for the Glenn Springs Mineral Water. My story continues with a cousin giving me a going away party in Glenn Springs before going to Korea. I met a Glenn Springs young lady by the name of Geneva Ann West at the party. The party was in the old home of the late Dr. Clifton Smith. This led to our wedding over 58 years ago. Upon hearing the call to the ministry I was given a scholarship due to a dear lady who was a member in what we now call “The Old Stone Church.” She was the late Sidney Southerland. I was invited to speak on a Sunday morning in that great old church. It was a memorable day due to the fact that my childhood doctor shook my hand saying, “You have great poise.” This was the late Dr. Clifton Smith. It was one of those encouraging moments I have never forgotten. This story has not ended. In 1999 I began serving the Glenn Springs Presbyterian Church as Stated Supply Minister. It was a privilege to be invited to serve this great old church which was established in 1883. This privilege given to me continues in this year of 2012. I am grateful for all the efforts to preserve the colorful history of this historic community. All of this is to say my roots and those of my wife, who continues to own her parent’s home in Glenn Springs, run deep in the Glenn Springs community. Long live the memories! Written by, The Rev Dr. B. E. Pettit, a present member of the Glenn Springs Preservation Socie
- Rev. Dr. B.E. Pettit
Great story!! I enjoyed reading this. -Jenny
What a wonderful story and what a rich, long history you have with Glenn Springs! I enjoyed learning about your scholarship from Sidney! That is Sidney Smith Southard, right? - Betsy McKeown Martin
"Glenn Springs has always been a part of my life. As a young child, one of my favorite things to do was to visit my maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Grover Wyatt (Alta Cannon), who lived in the Old Stagecoach Inn. This was located in the heart of the old historical district. Behind the Old House was the Glenn Springs Jail which is now a few yards from its original place in what was once the Presbyterian Manse yard. Across the road was the Post Office. Beside the Post Office was the Smith Boarding House. On the left of this house was the Glenn Springs Hotel. Next to my grandparents home was the Presbyterian Manse. One of my memories was seeing the late Mrs. Phillips walking to the Post Office to get her mail in the afternoon, always dressed as if she stepped out of a “bandbox.” Beyond the Manse was the large home occupied by the Gregory family. Around the curve was the Calvary Episcopal Church. To the left of the church where the road divided was the Spring Hill, as it was called then, where we often went to get the famous mineral water. One of my happy memories was my grandmother giving me five cents to go across the road to the Post Office to buy candy. Mr. Eddie Smith, the Postmaster, named me the “Candy Kid.” Mail came twice a day to the post office. In the morning it came from Spartanburg and in the afternoon from Union. In 1946, my parents (Mr. and Mrs. Alfred J. West) built a home next door to my grandparents. My Grandparents were members of Calvary Episcopal Church. It was my privilege to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church. I attended Sunday School in the little house which was next door to the minister’s home. In my teen age years, due to the association of my close friend, the late Mary John Thornton West, I worshipped in the Glenn Springs Presbyterian Church. I also attended Bible School and youth activities in the Cate’s building located next door to the church. I recall an incident where we were not allowed to dance by the late Mr. Otis Gibson, our youth leader. We all decided to leave. After Mr. Gibson left, we returned, danced, had a fun time and all was well. As the only child I have kept the home where my parents lived. It has wonderful memories of my growing up in the Glenn Springs Community. It must have been predestined for me to one day return to the place of my childhood and youth as the minister’s wife of the Presbyterian Minister who for more than twelve years has served as Stated Supply of the Glenn Springs Presbyterian Church. Little did I know this would ever happen. I take great pleasure in claiming deep roots in this historical community. Written by Geneva Ann West Pettit, inactive Elder of the Glenn Springs Presbyterian Church."
-Geneva Ann Pettit Geneva, that brings back so many memories of Uncle Grover and Aunt Alt. Also, of Lottie Mary and Alfred. I remember going to see Uncle Grover when he was sick. I went with Daddy, who loved them dearly. Thanks. - Anne Thornton Thompson
I came across your wonderful reminiscences while trying to track down any information about some of my West ancestors who were in Glen Springs in the early 19th century. In particular, my great great grandmother, Jean Trail West, died in Glen Springs on February 24, 1932. She was 88 when she died and long-widowed. Her son, George West, was born in about 1776 in or near Spartanburg. He later moved on to Pickens County, Georgia, from which his grandchildren moved to Texas in the years after the Civil War. My great grandmother, Julia West Bohannon, finally landed in Bosque County Texas in the early 1880s where she was the matriarch of a large family. When I saw that you were a West, I was curious if many Wests remain in Glen Springs and if any can trace their roots to Jean Trail West. Thank you for the wonderful post. Would love to hear more about the Wests of Glen Springs. - David Solomon
Candy Kid, Uncle Eddie and Pop would love reading your memories of Glenn Springs. Thanks for sharing. What a gift it has been having you and Bob back in this community. - Linda Powell
Memories of the Old School
The Glenn Springs School, grades one through eight, was the gathering place and the center of the community. After consolidation of schools in the early 1950’s the school closed. It had been and exciting place for families to gather for social activities- Fall Festivals with cakewalks, bingo, fortune telling, apple bobbing, talent shoes, womanless weddings, plays put on by students, piano recitals, end of the year graduation ceremonies, classrooms displaying student’s work and projects, and baseball games on Saturdays. It was also the place to vote. My daddy and Uncle Bob were all poll workers. At the end of the day they, with several witnesses around them, would lock the ballot box and drive with it to Spartanburg for the votes to be counted, return home and listen to the radio for the the results to be announced or many times wait until the next day for the outcome in the newspaper. (No CNN or Fox then or television) The school had a paved area up to the front door with a flagpole in the center and boys were always trying to climb the flagpole. There was an auditorium on the left side of the building with a side door entrance. There was a stage with a drop down painted canvas. I do not remember the scene painted on it but it was pretty. In winter the auditorium was closed to save heat. The main part of the school had a wide hall with two classrooms on each side and a small kitchen between the classrooms in the rear. There were two grades to each room of approximately eight to ten students per grade. (I started school when I was five because they needed more students). The hall entrance had pegs on the wall for hanging hats and coats and usually a sweater or coat remained unclaimed just hanging there for months. The floors were unfinished wood and were coated with oil to keep the dust down. Uncle Felix Glenn was the custodian and sat in the basement under the back of the school and stoked the furnace with coal. The heat would pour up in the classroom. We are fortunate the oiled floors did not catch fire and send everything go up in smoke. The classrooms had rows of desks permanently attached to each other with many carvings on them and with inkwells. There was a flag over the blackboard, a picture of George Washington and above the blackboard a panel with the alphabet (capital letters and small letters) in print or cursive depending on the grade. We wrote our lessons on the blackboard with chalk. You would be called upon to go to the blackboard and work math problems or diagram sentences. You always tried to do it correctly but, if not, the teacher helped and it was a learning experience for the entire class (hopefully). Later we would vie for the chance to go outside to dust the erasers and the chalk dust would fly.
Lunch and Recess
We ate lunch in the center hall on long picnic tables with benches. Mrs. Annie Fowler, Mrs. Louise West, and Mrs. Edna West were the cooks and worked hard to provide a balanced diet. You could smell the food cooking by 10 A.M. and were really hungry. During World War II food was scarce and we got surplus rations from the government. I do not remember ever having real milk - only powered milk - until several years after the war . It was not to our liking so the cooks served it as hot cocoa to our delight. We had foots of canned peaches, lots of tomato vegetable soup and peanut butter. Dessert was only on special occasions but there would be a bowl of raisins in the center of the table which we fought over. I do not remember the students complaining about the food,; we were grateful for whatever we got.
At recess we got a lot of exercise playing keep away ball baseball, jump rope, running, hopscotch, red rover, crack the whip and gully bug in a perfect gully for it behind the school. We would beg for more time outside when the principal rang her hand bell. Before Easter there would be egg hunts with pretty dyed eggs.- it was so exciting and the one who found the most eggs and a prize egg got something special. This was a big treat for us. At Christmas each room had a live tree which we decorated with student-made decorations and we drew names to exchange small gifts.
Ruby Lips and False Teeth
In seventh grade our teacher, Miss Anna Wallace, came in and said she had found a way to keep us quiet. She handed out to each girl a "Ruby Lip" and to each boy a wax set of false teeth. We sat quietly at our desks all day except for bursts of giggles and laughs when we looked at one another. This seems such a small thing today but when we were growing up we almost never had anything "store bought" and the most simple thing from the outside world was an amazement to us and a really exciting thing. (no dollar stores then).
Trip to Columbia
My seventh and eighth grade classroom took a. trip to Columbia on a Carolina Scenic Bus driven by Mr. AI Irving. Miss Anna Wallace was our guide. We stopped at Musgrove's Mill, then on to Columbia to tour the Capital Building, the Governor's Mansion, through the State Mental Hospital, and then to the state penitentiary where we gathered around the electric chair and death on it was described by the guard. None of the Glenn Springs class had a propensity for trouble making but after this experience I did not believe anyone would ever commit a crime.
Assembly in Auditorium
On Fridays we gathered for assembly in the auditorium to hear announcements, sometimes awards were presented, but the best part was singing from the Golden Book of Songs. Everyone had a favorite and you could call out the song you wanted to be sung. Older students learned that the more songs we sang the less time to spend in class finally, the principal would say time was up. When Daddy was in school the students were expected to stand up and recite a poem or reading. He could recite many long classic poems by heart. When Aunt Margaret was in school they played a game where someone would describe something along the way between Glenn Springs and Spartanburg and they were to guess what it was. Travel was slower then and it was special to make that trip and absorb any new sights seen.
I do not remember discipline being a problem. The teachers knew the parents and if a parent was informed that their child acted up it was hard discipline at home. Absenteeism was a concern - sometimes children had to stay home to care for siblings or work with crops especially during cotton picking time, illnesses of themselves or a family member and sometimes they did not have shoes to wear. The community and our two physicians were good about helping but many people were too proud to ask for help.
My Mama taught at the school from about 1928- 1933. She was attracted to Glenn Springs because of the hotel and activities going on around it. She and another teacher boarded with Dr. Clifton Smith's family in their large home at the southwest comer of the crossroads. She made ninety dollars a month and paid thirty dollars of it for room and board. The Smith children would go home at lunchtime and bring lunches back to the teachers who boarded. Mama met Daddy, one of the four eligible Williams brothers, at a social at the big Zimmerman home. The ladies put their shoes in a circle - hers were light blue satin - and the men chose a shoe and matched up with the owner to stroll down the well-groomed path to the Glenn Springs creek and spring. Yes, this was Glenn Springs at the time. When she got married she could no longer teach. After World War II this rule changed and in later years she returned to teaching.
Miss Eloise Zimmerman (of the well-to-do Zimmerman family) was a long time teachers. She taught Daddy and he visited her throughout her lifetime. Billy Thompson talked about her being a great influence on students having traveled a lot, brought things back from Europe, and had a big car (Packard?) and would take students places. Other teachers during my time were Mrs. Mary Rhone Lancaster West, Ruby Smith, Lila Maude Irving, and Alene (Clement) Smith came to teach piano.
Mrs. Cornelia Wallace Williams was married to my Uncle Bob and taught me in second and third grades. Her sister, Anna Wallace, was principal. They grew up in Grey Court and taught at Friendship School before coming to Glenn Springs.
In the hey-days of the hotel there were several stores in Glenn Springs. One was Mr. Zimmerman's large store next to the old church, Mr. Allen had a store on the corner of his property, and Mr. John White had a small store. My grandfather had a store on the edge of his home site and later a larger one on the comer of the crossroads (warehouse there now). One thing he sold were coffins and they were constructed on the place. We had several coffins left over and stored in the "coffin house" when Aunt Margaret's property was sold in 1995. In the 30's and 40's Daddy ran the store at the crossroads. He sold harnesses, saddles, fertilizer, tools, seeds, ropes, and most anything farmers needed. There was a loading platform where the wagons backed up to be loaded. He also sold flour and sugar from barrels, slices from wheels of cheese, licorice candy strips, cloth and thread for sewing and the one thing some people had a desire for was cod fish shipped in barrels of brine. About 1945 he leased the store to Mr. Galloway. The store burned when a car ran the stop sign and exploded the gas pumps. Many were not in Glenn Springs that day - we were at the Spartanburg Christmas parade - and when we came home the store was gone. Mr. Creighton Shull had a store on the opposite comer until the For many years we depended on it for gasoline, groceries and anything we forgot to buy in town. Out front would be an ongoing checkers game with the board set across a barrel and the checkers were tops from glass drink bottles. Mr. Lamb Peake was usually the champ. Most of us who lived within three fourths of a mile of the crossroads walked to school. If we had any money we could stop at the store for a soft drink and/or candy bar. A variety of candy was one cent and a large Fifth Avenue bar was five cents, popsicles were five cents, and inside the refrigerated case which you opened from the top was an assortment of Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Royal Crown Cola, Nehi Orange, and Dr. Pepper in small bottles costing five cents but later went up to seven cents. You paid two cents deposit on the glass bottle which was returned when you brought the bottle back.
Hailing the Bus
Not everyone had a car and no family had more than one car. In fact during and after the war you could not buy a car. Most people with cars would give you a ride to town if you really needed it and they were going anyway. The Carolina Scenic Cruiser bus came through Glenn Springs twice a day from Spartanburg to Union and further points north or south if you wished. If you wanted to "catch" the bus you stood by the road and flagged it down - full of anxiety, what if the bus did not stop! The bus station was behind Aug Smith's in Spartanburg. I was always told by my parents that if got lost in Spartanburg to go to the bus station and take the bus to Glenn Springs. Bus fare? I never had any money! Returning to Glenn Springs you would pull the cord to let the driver know you wanted off. This situation caused more anxiety -what if you pulled the cord too soon – or too late!
Memories of World War II
I do not have many specific memories of WWII as I was under ten years old during the war. I suspect that my Mama and Daddy tried to protect me from fears and did not talk about it much around me. I do remember the troops marching from Camp Croft down Highway 215 and across Highway 150 to Pacolet and back to the camp. You could hear them long before you saw them. It was a large group and the leaders were calling out orders. There was also artillery and big trucks in the line. Many times they took a break in front of our house (across from where Cary West lives today). They would take off their helmets and spread out all over the yards, driveways, and beside the road. We would give them snacks, if we had any, and water. This was exciting but I was always afraid when I heard them coming and would hide behind the porch railing and peek around at them. Seeing them pack up and start marching off again was really something.
- Margaret Ann Williams Blackford
Remembering Early Glenn Springs In the early nineteen hundreds, three brothers inherited the hotel and the mineral water spring from their father. Their names were Casper, Paul, and Arthur Simpson.
Paul lived across Hwy 150 from Arthur and Casper. Earl Thornton bought Casper's house, when Casper retired and moved to Virginia. Arthur's house burned in the late 1930's.
Casper's son worked with Westinghouse until his retirement. He retired to Hilton Head. I live in Casper’s house and one Sunday afternoon, he came up to visit me in the house in which he was born. He had two brothers build it for him, Mr. Charlie Smith and Mr. Ferry Smith. He told me how his grandfather had cut the ties by hand for the railroad, from his woods.
Mr. Casper wrote to his "bride-to-be" in Virginia. She wrote him and told him the plans. We found these letters in the attic of the house, and in one letter, he had Tiffany's in New York send him five diamond rings to choose from by a man on the train for his engagement ring. They married when the house was finished. His bride taught school here in Glenn Springs.
My grandfather, worked at the hotel and spring. My grandmother cooked in the inn which was located just below the old stone church. When the old Glenn Springs School had to be renovated in the early 1900's, we had to have school in the inn. I was in first grade, and we all walked together each day to get to school. Mr. Eddie Smith was postmaster. He always came out to the road to chat with us kids. Miss Patra Lee Smith was my teacher. Miss Eloise Zimmerman was the second and third grade teacher.
In the old stone church we had Sunday services in the afternoon at 3 o'clock in the winter. My two older brothers built the fire in the furnace under the church. When they stirred the fire during services, big rolls of black smoke bellowed up through the vent in the middle of the aisle, almost stifling us. In the summer, we would go to the spring house after church, and gossip!
Miss Lottie West opened a tea house across the road for the boarders at the smoke house up the hill. An ice cream cone was 5 cents, so we just watched the boarders, and wished we also had one.
In the 1930's, there was a depression, and no one had any money. Most of us farmed, and we had plenty of food. But, people would be walking the road from Union to Spartanburg to find work. They were tired and hungry when they came by our house and mama always fed them.
I remember one day, my daddy was plowing in the field and the minister came to get some money as daddy was treasurer of the church. He unhooked the mule from the plow, and rode over Glenn Springs to members of the church to get the money the minister needed. Most people farmed, except for the doctors, and store owners.
There was a boarding school in Glenn Springs on Hwy 215. Mr. Boggs taught the boys that lived in the house, and Mrs. Boggs cooked. That house is now known as The Lou Thompson House. We lived next door, and Mrs. Boggs would make ice cream and bring cones to us. They bought eggs, milk, and vegetables from my mother. Mr. Boggs closed the school when I was still a small child.
- Edith Thornton
Gold mines near Glenn Springs? News to me! I grew up in Glenn Springs but did not know about the gold mines until a few years ago. I was visiting with Nannie Casey and she mentioned that her father and grandfather had worked in a mine near Glenn Springs. She said her brother Earl could tell me all about it. Earl was more than glad to share his knowledge of gold mining operations with me. This is Earl McArthur’s account. There were five mines near Glenn Springs located in Union County: Bogan, Mud, Nott, Ophir (Thompson, Fair Forest) and West Mine. Nott Mine is the one of interest here. It was/is located three miles east of Glenn Springs in Union County. It was in operation for short periods during 1932-35 and 1940. How gold was discovered there, Earl did not know. However, he had heard that a black man called Wash Jones panned for gold in the creeks there before the mining began. The work day was a “farmer’s day”, meaning hours from daylight to dark, five days a week. There were probably eighteen to twenty men, many from Glenn Springs, working at Nott Mine when Earl was there. The deepest shaft where the digging took place was about seventy feet. The men wore hard hats with carbide lamps attached to them which helped light the work. Due to these lamps, the interior of the mine was often smoky but posed no threat of explosions as it did in the coal mines. Picks were used to chop out and pull away rocks containing gold. This was loaded onto four-wheeled carts that rolled on tracks. A hoisting engine brought the rock to the top of the shaft and from there it was loaded on trucks that carried it to the stamping mill nearby for processing. In the mill, the processing started by crushing the rock into sand by dropping six very large and heavy weights on them. Nearby was a chute in which quicksilver plates were placed. (These plates were approximately 2 feet by 4 feet.) Water carried the gold-filled sand through the chute and over the quicksilver plates. Gold from the mixture would adhere to the plates. The gold was then removed by heating the plates. Earl knew all about the mining process at Nott Mine because from the age of twelve to fifteen, he “did” a Farmer’s Day along with the men. He was the water boy, keeping fresh water available for all the men to drink throughout their work day. This was a heavy task for a young boy, much more strenuous than it was monotonous. His pay was $3.75 a week! Not bad for a young boy lucky enough to get a job during the early 30’s. He got the job because both his father, Ellis, and grandfather, Boyce, worked there at Nott Mine. Even though he was very young during this time, some seventy years ago, Earl remembered with clarity so much about Nott Gold Mine. To him, it seemed “not very long ago.”
- Nancy Oglesby
This is an account of Ell Huggins experiences when living in Glenn Springs. “In 1947, my family moved from Hendersonville to Glenn Springs. My father, Otis Huggins, had been working at Drayton Mills for years and staying in the boarding house. He came home every week-end on the Trailways bus. It was very hard to find a house to rent back then. I don’t know how he found the house in Glenn Springs. We moved in 1947. I started the 8th grade at Glenn Springs School. Some of the people in my class were Frances Lawson, who ended up as my sister-in-law, Jonell Gowan, Jimmy Smith, Norma Casey and Mary Frances Cunningham. The house Dad rented was on the Glenn Springs Mineral Water property. It was on the hill just below the Presbyterian Church. The drive went around a ravine filled with trees that went all the way to the spring. (The old drive is still there) Behind the house, very close to the porch was a big gully. It looked like an old road bed. The house was very small. My room was a closed in porch. We had no inside plumbing. There was a faucet in the yard. It came from the churches well. We had an outhouse – hot in the summer and