A picture & a writeup. — Steve Marlow
When I re-located to South Carolina in the early 70’s, I explored highways and byways all over the Upstate, especially in Greenville and Pickens Counties. One road that I frequently drove was Hwy 276 north of Travelers Rest. Entering the Cleveland area where Hwy 11 intersects today, there were the remains of an amusement park called Echo Valley on the left. An old, defunct chairlift, seats empty and swaying gently over a small lake would always catch my attention as I drove by. Out in the middle of a field was a small wooden church-like building, but I never stopped to take a closer look.
I didn’t have to. Not long after one of my drive-bys, I read where South Carolina State Parks had purchased the quaint building and was moving it to Table Rock State Park. The building was re-located in a clearing along the Park road just beyond the west entrance gate. A rustic, wooden sign over the double-screened doors read simply, “Meeting House.”
When Janie and I were planning our May wedding in 1982, we chose the Meeting House for the wedding and the Table Rock Lodge for our reception. It was a perfect combination! We still have a postcard featuring the photo above that reads, “Table Rock Chapel, one of the few chapels in the South Carolina State Parks. It is a popular setting for weddings, although it is over 100 years old…” The building has since been razed, but every time I drive through the Park, I “see” the Meeting House in the small grassy clearing — and I recall with great joy a very special day in May 1982.
Many locals certainly remember Echo Valley. In the event you’re not familiar with its past, a gentleman whom I have not met by the name of Thomas Taylor has a tremendously informative, historical and rather amusing account (with photos) of Echo Valley on his “Random Connections” website. I encourage you to visit it at: randomconnections.com/memories-of-echo-valley/
Photo: Fox Photo, Asheville, NC