Anderson: A Saluda Treasure

Published 11:31 am Friday, June 8, 2012

The first time I ever met Martha Stoney Anderson was a serendipitious moment back in my early years

Martha Stoney Anderson, a Saluda treasure, supports Saluda Community Land Trust at a recent meeting, her daughter Nora Parks Anderson is membership chairperson on the board of SCLT. (photo by Bonnie J. Bardos)

in Saluda when my son was kindergarten age. My young son in tow with  Number One Shar-Pei pooch Puddles, I’d strolled down the hill from my house to town to swings, sand and all things that connect kids to other kids. Silver sparkles in her loose top-knot, sparkling kind eyes and a big smile in place, Martha was a welcoming magic fairy I found that day at the town park.
That special day stays in memory: spotting Martha sitting, exuding laughter and joy on a grassy bank with her grand-daughter, now college-age — a small girl in dancing pigtails, happy and carefree. Let’s just say kids of all ages can find each other in this special town.
Oh, how time flies! Yet, that long-ago day stands out in my heart, and I’d found a Saluda Treasure.
Saluda Treasures abound in this town, and always have…Martha is one of the best! Living in “Happy Hut,” a rustic, comfortable log home her parents built in the Columbia Heights section of Saluda in 1928, Martha grew up spending summers in Saluda, except for a few years when her family lived in Hawaii. Columbia Heights was the first summer development in Saluda, based mostly on Columbia, S.C. families who built second homes here to escape low land summer heat. Her father was an Episcopal minister, as was her husband.
“Mother and Daddy loved Saluda,” she laughs,  as she remembers the past. “Saluda was home. This was it.”
After retirement from teaching and the ministry, Martha and her husband moved full-time here from Mandarin, Florida. Widowed 10 years now, Martha enjoys her five children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
She’s been knitting since third grade, and is well-known for not only her knit creations, but for basket weaving more than 40 years, and caning/weaving chair bottoms, an old-time skilled craft indeed. You often see her on hand at the Saluda Hometown Christmas event, knit items on display, people gathering around to admire and buy.
“We are so lucky to be here!” Martha said, as she remembers other Saluda Treasures like Robert Pace, Jack Ward, Charlie Ward, and many others. “The core of Saluda has not been lost.”
It’s weathered through, reinventing itself several times in a lifetime, over and over.
According to Martha, it’s those core values that hold this little town intact, a place with heart, where folks still care about one another. She mentions a past snow storm, when she was keeping three grandkids and had no electricity. How Good Samaritan Dick Wright hauled over a supply of wood so she’d have  heat, how folks would call and check on her.
If you happen to be by the town park and see a silver-haired fairy with a big smile and magic in her happy eyes, that’s Martha Stoney Anderson, a Saluda Treasure indeed!
Thank you, dear readers for reading this column! Each and every one of you is special to my heart — I want you to feel like we’re visiting on the leafy, flower-filled front porch enjoying tea together.
If you have something of note, feel free to contact me at; or 828-749-1153. You may also find me on facebook, or visit my website at

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