Shoals Junction Depot

One of the earliest and first railroads to come to Barmore, SC, now known as Shoals Junction, was The Greenville & Columbia Railroad. The Columbia and Greenville would be later bought out by Southern Railway.

Shoals Junction History

One of the earliest and first railroads to come to Barmore, SC, now known as Shoals Junction, was The Greenville & Columbia Railroad. The Columbia and Greenville would be later bought out by Southern Railway. This railroad was chartered on December 15th 1845 and it was built to connect Columbia, SC to Greenville, SC. The construction of the railroad began in Columbia, SC in 1849 and the tracks through Shoals Junction were completed in October 1852. The milepost marker at the station read 100, but it was actually 99.5 miles from Columbia, SC. The railroad line was completed to Greenville, SC in December 1853. As of 1871 the Shoals Junction depot was one of five permanent depots in Greenwood County. The depots were located in Ninety Six, New Market, Greenwood, Hodges and Shoals Junction. Historically there were at least three
known depots at Shoals Junction, each built subsequent to one another. When the train first stopped at Shoals Junction, passengers would disembark to the blue skies, without any depot at all. Then the first depot was a three-sided building, which is pictured here.

1st Depot

The 2nd Depot

The second depot, which was the first modern depot, was able to house both freight and passengers and is also pictured here. According to locals, there was a wooden box car parked near the depot that was struck by lightning and caught on fire around the mid 1930’s. This boxcar fire spread to the depot which destroyed it.

The 3rd Depot

The third and present depot was an existing depot in Lockhart, SC and moved to Shoals Junction in the mid 1930’s. That depot was built before the turn of the century. According to Robert Drake of Donalds, SC, who worked on the Ware Shoals Railroad, said his uncle was the depot agent when it was in Lockhart, SC. The Shoals Junction depot served the area with a quicker means of transportation services which included passenger, freight, and mail. A passenger could board the train in Shoals Junction and be in Greenville in 3 hours instead of a full day’s journey by horse or wagon. They also could be in Greenwood in about an hour, Columbia in about 6 hours, and Charleston in about a day. The trip to Charleston would normally take about a week by horse or wagon. Around 1911 a passenger could hop on the train at Shoals Junction and ride to Greenwood for 40 cents.

The Ware Shoals Railroad

In 1904 the Ware Shoals Railroad was beginning construction from Shoals Junction to Ware Shoals to serve the Riegel Textile Company. That railroad was finished in 1906 and was one of the shortest lines in America. This railroad was to supply the mill with cotton, coal, passenger service, mail service, and to back-haul finished goods to market. It was at this time the name was changed from Barmore to Shoals Junction. The first train engines for the Ware Shoals Railroad were leased from Southern Railway. The engine numbers included numbers 49, 51 and 152.The steam engine pictured below ran the Ware Shoals railroad. By this time Southern Railway had bought out the Columbia and Greenville RR. 


Honea Path Street

The hub of activity was at Shoals Junction. Many people from Ware Shoals would ride the train over to Shoals Junction. They would catch a dance or see who was getting on and off the Southern trains stopping at the Shoals Junction depot. At the height of the passenger service, the Ware Shoals line would run 24 trains daily in and out of Shoals Junction. In the early 1930’s passenger service started to wane due to improved highways and increasing car ownership. When the Ware Shoals Railroad became a common carrier, the decision was made to build a permanent train depot. One was purchased from Pelzer and moved to Ware Shoals intact. The new depot was placed on Honea Path Street, which is displayed here. 

The 1917 Motorcar

In 1917 a motorcar was added to the Ware Shoals Railroad, and it was operated by a Mr. L. Oxley. The motorcar made round trips to Shoals Junction almost hourly. These daily trips by motorcar connected to seven northbound and seven southbound trains on the Southern and Piedmont and Northern Railway (P&N). The Piedmont Railway ran through Shoals Junction on a separate track beginning in 1913. It was an all-electric line founded by The Duke Power magnate James Buchanan Duke. The motorcar reportedly could seat up to 18 people and is pictured here. 

Although the Ware Shoals Railroad leased their engines, they did own one of their own locomotives. That engine was number 576 and is pictured below.

A 10¢ Ride

It would take about 20 minutes to ride from Ware Shoals to Shoals Junction and would cost about a dime. The passenger line was formally discontinued around 1936, however the Ware Shoals Railroad would occasionally let the Cub Scouts and youngsters ride to Shoals Junction as late as 1979. The last engine to run the Ware Shoals Railroad was the engine number 1955. It was purchased from Southern Railway in February 1954 and is shown here.

The Ware Shoals Railroad ceased operations in 1985. Locomotive 1955 was sold to Republic Locomotive Works in Greenville, SC and on December 9th 1985 it was towed from Shoals Junction to Greenville, SC.