Sunday, October 13, 2019

Dr. Ronald McNair

NASA Astronaut

A  foggy morning brought us to Lake City, which is just down the road from Florence, to admire the statue and life of Dr. Ronald McNair and learn more about him. It was cloudy as we drove there and as I started to take pictures the sun came out.

Born in Lake City on October 21, 1950, Dr. McNair was a humble country boy 
who picked cotton and tobacco in the summers. He was the son of an auto mechanic 
who never finished high school.  He excelled in his studies and became a star athlete, 
played football, basketball, and baseball, was an honor student, an accomplished 
saxophonist and karate champion. He never accepted being second best and 
was valedictorian of his high school class. 

He was a renowned research scientist and one of America's first 
African American astronauts. Chosen from a pool of 1,000 applicants to 
join the NASA's space shuttle program in 1978,he was a mission specialist aboard 
the Space Shuttle Challenger when it tragically exploded after liftoff from the 
Kennedy Space center on January 28, 1986.  As with other major events in life I 
can recall the moment when this happened.  We were  watching the news 
at a guest house in New Haven, CT, awaiting military housing.

After graduating from North Carolina's Agricultural and Technical State University with a degree in physics, he went to the prestigious MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), where he obtained his doctorate at the age of 26 in laser physics.

He grew up in the racially segregated era of the 1950's. When he was 9 years old,  he went to the local library  to check out some books. Unfortunately, the staff person did not want him to check out the books and because he was so persistent she called the police. Two police officers came to check out the "disturbance" and the staff person pointed at Ron who sat patiently waiting. In the meantime his mother was called to the library and she was praying along the way that he would not be arrested. The police officers told the lady that he could have his books. Today, the library is named in his honor.

What a wonderful person he was!

Dr. Ronald McNair's mausoleum.

The Ronald E. McNair Life Center was opened in 2011, and is adjacent to his gravesite. The museum features photos and artifacts of his life. Plans are underway to expand it as a science center to interest  young people in science.

Many schools and parks across the country are named in his honor as well as a crater on the moon. Lake City also has a Ronald McNair Boulevard.

 He was an excellent role model and I hope that young people will be inspired by his life.
You can accomplish your dreams by hard work and dedication.

Enjoy your Sunday and wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

Linking to:

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Soda City Market

We are still enjoying summer in the Carolinas, on Thursday and Friday the temp record was broken and it was 99F. As of yesterday we now have a cool down with temps in the low 80's.  The above temps caused a flashed drought and unfortunately the farmers lost their corn crops. Last Saturday, we decided to spend the Saturday morning at the Soda City market in Columbia. This is a year long event, rain or shine and it is only held from 9 till 1 pm. on Saturdays.

Grab your cuppa tea or coffee and enjoy!

This vendor drew a lot of customers.
 I think a bouquet of flowers always bring sunshine into your home.

Some impressions as we walked the three blocks in downtown Columbia.

There were not that many fruit and vegetable stands as you will find in Europe.
The emphasis in this market is on arts and crafts, food, and entertainment.

Needless to say it was very crowded as people are enjoying the sunny weather.

The low humidity makes it a pleasant walk with interesting views by looking up.

There is entertainment along the way with very talented musicians.

Time for some nourishment and there were lots of food trucks to chose from.
We decided on a delicious barbeque sandwich.

Lots of arts and crafts, you will see the Palmetto tree with
the crescent moon a lot on decorations as they represent the SC symbol.

Colorful dream catchers, handmade earrings and an inviting sign for
a refreshing organic beer. I did notice that there is a designated area
to consume your alcoholic beverages.

As we say in the South, thanks for visiting you'all and do come back.
Hope you have a pleasant Sunday and a wonderful week ahead!

Linking to:

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Historical Buildings

It has been a beautiful week in the Carolinas. The calendar says it is autumn but the temps are still in the 90's  and the humidity returned after having enjoyed cooler temps the past few weeks. I love old houses and buildings. You can see the Greek Revival architectural style in commercial businesses like banks, churches and the library as well as homes in this area. 

Please join me on this historical architectural tour, click on the photos for an enlargement.

The first stop is the Old Post Office on the corner of Irby and W. Evans
currently undergoing extensive renovations.
It was gifted to Francis Marion University in 2017
and it will serve the programs for the Health Sciences department.

Photo source: Wikipedia

The Old United States Post Office is a significant example of the Second Renaissance Revival style of architecture, constructed ca. 1906. A massive three-story building with hipped roof, the edifice features a cut sandstone basement and first level.  Upper floors are of tan brick. The roof is characterized by circular “Eye of a Bull” dormers and heavy cornice brackets supporting projecting eaves. The interior of the building is equally well detailed, featuring English oak paneling, marble stairs, decorative plaster consoles, swags, patera, ionic pilasters, and terrazzo and oak flooring. A major three-story addition to the rear of the building ca. 1935 duplicated the scale and proportion of the original building along with many of the decorative architectural features. served as a center of government for over seventy years.  Listed in the National Register December 21, 1977.

A few blocks away you will find

the POYNER building

now serving as an adult education school.

Poynor Junior High School is a two-story brick Georgian Revival school building constructed in 1906-1908. The school features a central tetrastyle colossal Ionic portico. The main block of the building has six bays on either side of the portico with four-bay pavilions at each end of the main block. The building has a full brick basement and a stepped parapet above the Ionic entablature that is carried around the entire building. The brickwork is common bond with every sixth course bonding. The mortar is colored red. The pedimented portico has four unfluted Ionic columns and two pilaster responds with Attic bases and Scamozzi capitals. The columns are built of stuccoed brick.

Poynor Junior High School has been significant in the lives of Florence citizens as a center of community activity throughout its career. Listed in the National Register May 19, 1983.

Down the road is the Downtown Historic District

 a collection of thirty commercial buildings.  This area contains the majority of the late nineteenth to early twentieth century architecture remaining in the city. Most buildings are two-story brick buildings with embellished cornices. Many are characterized by flat roof lines, decorative brick moldings, and vertical pilasters. While all the properties have been modified to include modern storefronts, the upper facades are largely intact and retain their integrity. These contributing resources are from a time during which Florence enjoyed tremendous growth and prosperity and reflect the development of the city from ca. 1890 to ca. 1940.
 Listed in the National Register July 2, 2008.

Examples of commercial architecture dating from the period ca. 1890-ca. 1940

An exciting period of downtown revitalization is underway and new businesses
are now moving to Dargan Street

Local Motive Brewing is another addition to the downtown area

...and the last stop
The Columns

The Columns; Carolina Hall built in 1857
 is a favorite venue for weddings and reenactment to support historical preservation. 

Also called the Rankin-Harwell House is an outstanding example of the Greek Revival, which was fairly prevalent in the antebellum South. The house has 22 giant order Doric columns, strict symmetry, and a painted white façade. The twenty-two freestanding Doric columns are brick covered with stucco and surround the house on three sides. The two-story frame structure rests on a raised basement. The façade has five bays. Two 6/6 double sash windows flank the entrance, which is a double doorway with transom and sidelights. Low-pitched hipped roof covers the house and portico. 

Dr. William Rogers Johnson was the original owner of the house. He practiced the professions of physician and planter; and was very active in politics. He lived at the house from its construction in 1857 until his death thirty-six years later. Corresponding to the image of the antebellum southern home, the Rankin-Harwell House served as a model for the setting of the 1934 movie “Carolina.” Listed in the National Register October 9, 1974.

The Columns is also a farm, impressive fields with cows lazily grazing in the late summer sun
 and hay bales ready for pick up.

Hope you enjoyed learning a bit of the different architectural styles found in my neighborhood. 

May your week ahead be filled with memorable travels! 

Linking to: Our World Tuesday

Linking to: Image-in-ing

Reference: National Register of SC

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Enchanted Nature

I was going to name this blog post: Sounds of the Woods but spending a wonderful sunny morning here I decided to change the name of this blog to Enchanted Nature. We went to Lynches River County Park, located just outside of Florence in Coward. If you are planning to go or just want to know more about this place here is a link for all your information:

Throughout the woods you can find cabins, camp grounds, trails, a splashpad, picnic benches,  an archery range, or go kayaking down the Lynches river, you can also do geocaching.  

Let me show you the way:

Leave the noises of the city behind you and  visit the
 Environmental Discovery Center, tucked away in this beautiful landscape. It is a great resource center with information about different species. Here is their Web address

Behind the building is this bridge. It is quite a challenge to cross it and unfortunately 
I did not wear the appropriate shoes.

They have a wonderful staff with extensive knowledge. I thank Daniel for his time 
explaining about the kind of animals you may find here in the woods. This little alligator is called Lynch. He is being fed a piece of shrimp. Once he has outgrown his surroundings, he will be placed in an alligator sanctuary. 

These animals are native to our area.  Daniel is holding a box turtle.

You will find bird houses throughout.

However you don't need to be afraid encountering alligators when kayaking down 
Lynches river.  As Daniel explained the river is densely populated by trees and other plant life, and alligators like more open spaces.  Check out this Web site  for information if you are interested for a unique experience down the river:

A serene impression of mother nature. This is the river front trail with beautiful 
Bald Cypress.

I enjoyed hearing the rustling of the leaves,  the birds singing and twigs snapping caused by squirrels jumping in the trees and pine cones falling.  However in this area you do have to be careful for snakes if you are walking the trails. Most of the snakes are not venomous. Also use insect repellent against mosquitoes. This Web site offers information about the outdoors of SC;

Have a wonderful week ahead and
hope you are able to enjoy enchanted moments in nature!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Visiting Firenzi, SC

Florence is a half point between NY and Florida and because of its location many tourists stop here to enjoy the shops, the many restaurants, golf courses and the buzzing nightlife as well as performances and festivals. The City of Florence was named for Florence Henning Harlee in the late 1850's. She was the daughter of General W.W. Harlee, president of the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad. Here is a link if you would like to read more about him:

Unlike Firenzi, Italy, with its beautiful renaissance art and architecture, Florence, SC, has its own unique southern charm. I love the architecture of the old homes where the War Between the States museum is housed and the new buildings such as the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center and the Florence County Museum.

Please join me on a tour of my favorite places to go:

This is the FMU Performing Arts Center. They offer great programs throughout the year but my favorite is their December program with the Florence Symphony Orchestra presenting the Holiday Pops 
and the Swan Lake performance.

For more information:

Across from the FMU Performing Arts Center is the Florence County Museum
which provides visitors an engaging experience.

For more information:

Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation Library showcases an impressive architecture. Here is where I check out books from my favorite British authors like Rhys Bowen. They have a great collection on the second floor about SC history.

They also offer great community events: 

The War Between the States Museum is housed
 in the previous home of R. Frank McKain. 
You can see original documents and 
other artifacts of the Confederate War. 

It is run by 2 volunteers who can assist you with your family's genealogy.
 An interesting place for people who love history.

We continue to enjoy sunny weather and fall is nowhere in sight here in the Carolinas. There is so much more to explore and I hope to share my experiences and photos in my blog as I continue to explore my new home state and enjoy the southern culture.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

Dr. Ronald McNair NASA Astronaut A  foggy morning brought us to Lake City, which is just down the road from Florence, to admire the s...