Local woman seeking information on White Oak Mountain for new book

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 13, 2018

When Susan Speight and her husband, Charlie, bought a cabin at Camp Skyuka on White Oak Mountain 14 years ago, writing a book was certainly not foremost in their minds. 

However, soon after moving in, former campers and counselors began showing up at their door, wanting to reminisce about their childhood adventures at the old Spartanburg YMCA camp that operated near the site of the Skyuka Hotel on White Oak Mountain from 1954-1985. After hearing so many stories, it was clear there was a story to be told. 

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An area newspaper ran an article on Speight’s quest to find more campers and counselors, and hundreds of people contacted her to tell their stories and to share old Brownie camera photographs, camp brochures, letters and even the waterfront director’s lanyard with whistle.

As a result, Speight published a scrapbook titled, “As We Climb the Mountain, Up the Winding Roadway . . .,” named after the beloved Camp Skyuka song. 

During the process of writing the book, she became fascinated with the rest of the story about the mountain and the people who came to the mountain top years ago.

A second book is in the works, and Speight is looking for Polk County people who might have photos, postcards or information to share. 

Speight says that she has just about exhausted all internet sources as well as the Polk County History Museum, Polk County Public Library and North Carolina universities special collections. She has already done extensive research about the Stearns family, Rixhaven, Slick Rock/Dodge House, Grace Coolidge, Florence Adams, the Log Cabin Inn, the Skyuka Hotel and the modern day White Oak development by Earl Taylor.

“What I’m looking for now are photos and postcards from private Polk County collections or stories that have been passed down from generation to generation,” Speight said.

Anyone sharing pictures or information will be credited in the book. People may contact Speight at scspeight@windstream.net or call 828-894-6511.

– Submitted article