Tryon Myths Dispelled, Insights Gained
At Historical Museum’s Upcoming Lecture
Tryon’s true and authentic history from 1864 to the coming of the railroad will be revealed by Robert Lange at the Tryon Historical Museum April 17 at 5:30.
From Lange’s research of property transfers the history of how Tryon came to be began to emerge, one property transfer at a time.
Lange started down this path when he sought to learn more about Melrose Avenue, the location of the historic property he purchased in 2015.
Lange’s premises about the period from the end of the Civil War to the incorporation of Tryon in 1891 began with a transaction between Columbus Mills and Lemeul Wilcox for the purchase of a 4,000–acre tract stretching from the top of Tryon Peak to Hogsback Mountain.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Mills owned more productive crop land and more slaves than anyone in the county. After the war, his land lay fallow, growing only in increasing tax liabilities.
The Mills were a long established family here but what, Lange, a retired Charleston, S.C., business developer, wondered drew Wilcox, a Pittsburg, Pa., civil engineer, to the area in 1869 to purchase land sight previously unseen..
This curiosity about Wilcox compelled to Lange to deep digging through records of the day in Pittsburg. Unless Wilcox was a visionary without equally, he could not have known 20 years later railroad engineers would select the steep Saluda grade as the best route for desired lines to Columbia smack across Wilcox’s land.
Subsequently, Wilcox drew the site for the railroad depot and marked off one-acre lots for development on streets he named Melrose, Maple and Chestnut on “the Town of Tryon City” map”.
This map, referenced in deeds of the day, proved elusive in state and national archives, only to be found unexpectedly at Polk County Court House in an old map book.
Lange’s lecture is free and open to the public, as are all events at the Tryon Historical Society, located at 26 Maple Street.
Submitted by Jackie Burke
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