Dark Corner kids make first visit to ‘outside world’

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2016

On December 17, 1936, a group of 23 students from Mountain Hill School on top of Glassy Mountain made their first visit off the mountain to what they and their relatives considered the “outside world.”

They stared wide-eyed at wonders of a modern civilization that had never touched the top of the mountains. Ranging in age from 8 to 19, they walked or rode in a wagon five miles down the mountain to a large truck, which took them to Travelers Rest.

The large number of automobiles amazed the older students and some of the younger ones were awed by the sight and sound of several motorcycles in the city.

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They visited two barber shops, heard a radio for the first time, then were treated to a Christmas tree program that had been arranged by nine schools in the foothills section of Greenville County.

Visiting the Travelers Rest School, the mountain students were shown through the entire building, visiting virtually every room. They were given a delicious turkey dinner prepared by girls in the high school home economics department.

M.C. Barton, former county superintendent of education who was principal and teacher of the small mountaintop school, spoke briefly about the uniqueness of the day’s outing and pointed out that it was in keeping with the Christmas spirit. Garrison Plumley, spokesman for the visiting pupils, thanked Mr. Barton and the Travelers Rest schools on behalf of the group.

Pictures of the visiting group and sponsoring adults were taken on the front steps to place in the Greenville News, and to preserve the memory of the occasion.

Then the visitors entered the large auditorium where more than 600 students from the surrounding grammar schools had gathered to hear the program and take part in the Christmas tree party.

Superintendent L.P. Hollis from the Parker District brought a chorus to sing Christmas carols and other officials and educators made brief remarks. Sloan Westmoreland, superintendent of the Travelers Rest schools, was in charge of the program and acted as emcee.

Eight mountain families, with Plumleys predominating, were represented in the visiting group, and eight cakes were given to them for their families. Each guest student was also given a comb, handkerchief, soap, toothbrush and paste, in addition to fruit, candy and seasonal remembrances.

The oldest visitor, T.I. Hood at 77, was the father of 9-year-old Elizabeth Hood, who would not come without her daddy. He enjoyed the outing as much as the students and talked incessantly of life and conditions on top of Glassy Mountain.