Eva Russel Chandler Heritage Preserve and Beyond

Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve sign - 1
The Eva Russel Chandler Heritage Preserve is a heritage preserve located off Persimmon Ridge Road near Cleveland, SC. The heritage preserve is home to certain rare plants, the ruins of a homestead, and a waterfall, but what really brings me here this visit is the prospect of continuing my search for the ruins of moonshine stills.

Slickum Creek, also called Persimmon Branch, flows through the preserve down through Wildcat Wayside Park, then into the South Saluda River. I had already searched Slickum Creek up to one waterfall short of Heritage Falls, and now I'm back to explore further upstream.

I parked out of the way of the red gate:
Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve - 01
then walked around the gate down the trail part of which was once an old dirt road.
Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve - 02
I started at the same waterfall where I left off last time.
Moonshine still ruins at waterfall - 1 Moonshine still ruins at waterfall - 5
I bushwacked my way up to the base of Heritage Falls where I already knew some ruins were located. I actually found more ruins than I expected. I found this barrel and a still furnace I already knew were here:
Heritage Falls moonshine still ruins - 04
What surprised me though were how many metal bands I found, but finding a good angle to capture them so they'd show up in my photos was hard:
Heritage Falls moonshine still ruins - 11
I was also surprised to find an old galvanized bucket I hadn't heard about:
Heritage Falls moonshine still ruins - 12
I also found a lonely brick in the same area:
Single brick
After satisfying myself I had found every moonshine-related ruins I could find, I made an effort to take photos of Heritage Falls. The waterfall is large, yet unphotogenic with all the vegatation at the base. At the base, the water splits into three even more unphotogenic streams before coming back together again. Going up off the right side (in the woods, not on the slippery rock) of the waterfall then carefully easing out on to a flat part of the bare rock face produced a decent photo.
Heritage Falls - 4
I continued up the right side, but I had to move away from the waterfall to maneuver around a cliff. I spotted a feature I've seen before on a satellite view I thought may have been an old logging road. It was definitely an overgrown path of some kind.
Old path - 1
I followed this old path away from the creek for a while, before turning back and followed the old path (except to detour around a thicket) back to the creek. I crossed over the creek where I met up with a heritage preserve trail. I looked back at the old path:
Old path - 3
I followed the heritage presrve trail back toward Persimmon Ridge Road. I didn't see any ruins by the creek along the way, but I also didn't expect to find any either.
Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve - 11
I followed Persimmon Ridge Road toward where Slickum Creek flows underneath the road through a culvert. On the other side of the road near this spot, I walked down a foot path that stays close to an unnamed creek feeding into Slickum Creek.
Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve - 13
This foot path starts in the preserve, but soon enters land owned by Naturatrust and is open to hiking. The foot path leads to a dirt road over a earthen dam.
Lake panorama
I turned left on to this dirt road where I ended up at the ruins of a small house.
Persimmon Ridge house ruins - 03 Persimmon Ridge house ruins - 11
I explored other connected dirt roads, and I also headed down a another foot path that led toward the other end of the lake. A fallen tree blocked the way, but someone thought of reusing some stairs to make the going a bit easier.
Persimmon Headwaters Tract paths - 04
The foot path leads down to a dock, but a clogged drain pipe has caused the water to rise up and over  the path.
Persimmon Headwaters Tract paths - 06
I wasn't about to attempt this tricky walk on this cold day:
Sunken pier
I explored the dirt road over the dam in the other direction where I found nothing but more dirt roads. I headed back down foot path to the dock to explore one of the creeks feeding the lake for still ruins. I was searching along the creek when I came across something rather interesting, this stripped, rusting pickup truck:
Rusty Dodge Pickup Truck - 01
I photographed this curiosity from several angles:
Rusty Dodge Pickup Truck - 04 Rusty Dodge Pickup Truck - 05 Rusty Dodge Pickup Truck - 07
I wondered what make of pickup truck this was. Fortunately, the answer was right in front of me:
Rusty Dodge Pickup Truck - 08
Alrighty then. This was a Dodge pickup truck of some vintage. I also found a tire a short distance away that I would assume once belonged to the truck:
Rusty Dodge Pickup Truck - 09
I resumed my search for ruins. I had no success until I found a bit of a area where the creek bank was rather flat (which raised my suspicions) and then I found what I was looking for:
Creekside still ruins - 1
What interested me most about this moonshine barrel were the axe marks.
Creekside still ruins - 2
When law enforcement discovered a moonshine still operation, they would render the equipment unusable. For a still like this one, this often meant it got to meet the business end of an axe.

My terrain map and ground truth indicated the terrain ahead would steepen. I decided my chances of finding more were slim on this creek, so I turned around and headed back. I haven't seen the heritage preserve's chimney ruins in a seven years, and it was only a few minutes of the way, so I headed down that trail to get another look.

The chimney looks like it's almost ready to collapse. The last seven years since I've been here have not been kind to this poor chimney. Here are my photos taken in 2011:
Old homestead chimney Chimney - back side
Now mine from 2018 taken this week:
Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve homestead - 01 Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve homestead - 03
Next time I come here, this chimney may just be a pile of rubble. This is exactly why I like to take photos of old structures like this. All too soon they will be gone and all that will be left are photographs.

After that downer, I made my way back to the parking area where a road maintenance vehicle had just rather loudly passed by.
Road maintenence
The dirt road portion of Persimmon Ridge Road is in fine shape. I had no trouble getting here in my front wheel drive car. I also don't remember any trouble getting here back in 2011 either with a different car.

Like I usually do, I've uploaded my trip photos to an album on Flickr, or you can also go through them below:
Eva Chandler Heritage Preserve and More - March 2018


Comments

  1. Yes, I've been impressed with the shape of Persimmon Road also in recent years. I do remember a time when we had to turn back with our Ford Taurus because of the washouts - but this must have been off-season, at least 10 years ago - and think about it every time we head to Ashmore or Chandler...

    What do you think about the chimney? Is its hastened death due to human or natural causes?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say vandals accelerated what would have happened anyway.

      Delete
  2. I stumbled across you blog after exploring Eva Chandler last weekend. I was searching for info on the history of the property, but found very little except your blog. Thanks for posting this. The chimney is now a pile of rubble sadly. It was standing strong last time I saw it in 2015. I was told there were 3 teenage hoodlums that had been causing havoc in the area, and that they were likely the ones to knock it down.
    I found another still in a remote corner of Eva Chandler, along the smaller creek that forms the western boundary.

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