The newly painted train station in the heart of Yemassee
is a sign of renewed life for the tiny town that straddles the border between Hampton and Beaufort counties
The station’s new coral color will be followed by about $600,000 in additional work, which is funded by revenue generated by the non-profit Yemassee Revitalization Corp.
Plans for the depot -- which was bought by the corporation from CSX for $1 in 2010 -- include a luggage area, a space for a restaurant, gallery and office. The Silver Meteor and Palmetto trains stop in Yemassee twice a day, and in 2010 picked up or deposited 13,500 riders at the station, which was built in 1955.
Though the original stores and hotels around the depot have long since closed, new businesses have taken their place and are placing their hopes -- and dollars -- on the town’s plans for revitalization.
“We want to restore (the town) to what Yemassee used to be -- a vibrant town,” corporation president Paula Flowers told the Charleston Post and Courier in July. “Now, downtown is an eyesore. We’ve got to take care of it,” said Flowers, who owns Fletcher’s Finds antique store and Fletcher’s Finest deli.
The town is being gussied up this week for the annual Shrimp Festival, which begins at 9 a.m. Friday (Sept. 16) with amusement rides behind town hall and food and arts and crafts concessions starting at noon.
That evening, the festival will be formally launched with a lighted parade, street dance and fireworks show. Saturday morning at 9:45, town hall will be the location of the shrimp-eating contest (entry fee is $5), and at 10, the Shrimp Festival Parade will march down Highway 68 and Salkehatchie Road. From noon to 10 p.m., performers will take the stage at town hall and provide live entertainment. The Mayor’s Dance will be held at Interstate Packers from 8 p.m. to midnight (admission is $10). The festival will conclude in a Mud Run on Sunday at 1 p.m. (entry fee is $10).
If You’re Going:
The town of Yemassee is accessible from three exits along Interstate 95 (exits 33, 38 and 42). Highways 17A and 21 run right through the town.