Book signing July 9th: A Culture Lost to Thurmond Lake

Thurmond Dam

Between December 20, 1951 and March 2, 1952, people looked out over the rolling hills and prime bottomland along the Savannah River and its tributaries as the waters, backed up by a massive new concrete dam at Clarks Hill, began to swell, slowly inching streams out of their banks. Different people viewed the man-made transformation with different emotions – sadness, indignation, awe, excitement, reverence, amazement, nostalgia, and anticipation – as 70,000+ acres of countryside was forever changed into an eternal body of water. The Clark Hill Project, later renamed Thurmond Lake, consumed 20% of the land area of McCormick County.

What exactly was lost when the lake was created? What homes, barns, gardens, orchards, farms, places of worship, cemeteries, ferry sites, country stores, and other commercial buildings were given up to create the third-largest artificial lake east of the Mississippi River?

Local historian, Bobby F. Edmonds has recently recovered and published some answers to that question in his new book entitled A Culture Lost to Thurmond Lake. Edmonds discovered that during the course of the land acquisitions phase for the dam and lake in 1948-49, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers created and preserved files for the project that included more than 500 photographs of the area accompanied by written documentation that sheds light on the living conditions and activities of the people who lived there. Although these files were not intended to be used as architectural, cultural or historic documentation, they now provide a fascinating view of western McCormick County in the early twentieth century.

On Thursday, July 9th at 6:30 pm in the McCormick County Library, Bobby F. Edmonds will discuss and sign copies of his book. Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the McCormick Library. You can also find a copy at Strom Drug, Books on Main, Chamber of Commerce, McCormick Messenger, Willington Book Store, McCaslan’s in Greenwood, or from the author at

A Culture Lost, cover scanBobby Edmonds

Summer Reading Program 2015

SRP 2015 flyer newspaper insert image file

The McCormick County Library is ready for summertime with an exciting schedule of fantastic programs for children. Performances will be held at the library each Wednesday at 2 pm from June 10th until July 8th. These programs are free and are especially good for children aged 4 to 10 years old, but all ages are welcome and admission is free. Parents or caregivers must remain in the library during the programs. See below for the details of each library performance.  In addition to live performances, the library will also provide a simple way for children to keep track of the amount of time they spend reading this summer. If completed, this reading record can be exchanged for a variety of prizes including books, movies, t-shirts, and games. Reading is its own reward, but many reluctant young readers benefit from a little extra incentive in the beginning. Studies have shown that children will experience a backward slide in literacy during the long school break unless they are enabled and encouraged to read during the summer. A study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center showed that summer reading is significantly more effective if kids are allowed to choose their own books.

 To sign up for the summer reading program or to register for a library card, stop by the library located at 201 Railroad Avenue behind the Post Office. The library is open Tuesday – Thursday from 10 am until 7 pm, Friday from 9 am until 6 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm until 5 pm. The Summer Reading Program is made possible by the support of the McCormick Friends of the Library and their nonprofit bookstore, Books on Main, in downtown McCormick. If you would like to contribute, shop at the bookstore or donate your old books to the library. All types of books, DVDs, and CDs are welcome except for VHS tapes, magazines, encyclopedias, or old textbooks. For more information contact the library at (864) 852-2821 or by email:

Fairburn Family Establishes Military Collection – Memorial Day 2015

Fairburn Donation Display

The McCormick County Library now has available a group of military books, primarily related to WWII with a focus on the South Pacific.  These books will be located in the Bobby F. Edmonds South Carolina and Local History Room.

The family of Major General Robert Randell Fairburn, USMC (deceased) donated the books he collected during his lifetime.

No single chapter, no single book could describe the battles fought and won by the U.S. Marines in the Pacific Theater of World War II. To tell the stories, one would have to tell the individual story of every man who participated in the bitter fighting. The story of Ran Fairburn, then a young Marine officer, deserves to be told and celebrated by all Americans. His memoir is included in the collection.

General Fairburn’s widow, Jane Stephenson Fairburn of McCormick;  his daughter Kathleen Fairburn Armstrong of Hendersonville, NC; his son James R. Fairburn of Philadelphia, PA and his daughter Sarah Fairburn Pannill of Atlanta, GA  gave the books with the hope that they will be the cornerstone of a larger collection.  They hope that others will also contribute military related books and that the McCormick Library will become a center for research related to military history.

The collection will be on display in the lobby of the library through June. Individual titles are available for checkout.