Less Traveled 2012

Ernie Wiggins

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Fountain Inn is a beautiful Upcountry town

Posted 10/9/2011 10:15:00 PM

Each town I’ve visited as the Less Traveled Insider has offered up a distinctiveness unique to that place -- be it the Victorian charm of Ehrhardt in Bamberg County, the rural simplicity of Patrick in Chesterfield County or the hill country loveliness of Salem in Oconee.

In addition to an enormous amount of natural beauty, the Greenville County city of Fountain Inn boasts, understandably, about its two most famous native sons -- syndicated columnist Robert Quillen of the Fountain Inn Tribune, who chronicled village life, and Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, who despite losing his leg in cotton mill accident as a boy went on to international fame as a tap dancer.

The city got its name from the “inn with a fountain” that was located on a postal road between Laurens and Greenville. When a post office was established just south of the inn in 1832, the office was named Fountain Inn.

In September, Fountain Inn dedicated its beautiful new history center, which tells the story of the city’s founding and its growth, much of it taking place after the construction of the Carolina and Western Carolina railroad depot in 1886.

As with many other South Carolina towns, Fountain Inn’s fortunes rose and fell with the textile industry. The completion of Interstate 385 has led to growth in the city’s residential population and renewed optimism among merchants and town leaders.

Along with the new History Center and a nearby Farmer’s Market that is open on Saturdays from 8 to noon, Fountain Inn has a new Center for Visual and Performing Arts. The center is offering a full slate of musical and theatrical performances through spring 2012. In October, the Center’s Tribune Times Fire Series will present a female version of The Odd Couple and the Cultural Series’s offering will be Oktoberfest on Oct. 28 and 29.

If You’re Going:

Fountain Inn is located just two miles east of I-385 on Hwy. 418.