Responsible for working with Laurens County Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Department in marketing and promoting tourism in Laurens County. The Visitors Center is centrally located, housed at the Chamber. In 2017, new branding for the entire County, was introduced and the Chamber continues to implement this branding through various marketing outlets.
Laurens County features many attractive, friendly neighborhoods, bursting with character, where pride in ownership is explicitly evident. Situated in the upstate region of South Carolina, geographically centered between Greenville, Spartanburg and Columbia, Interstates 26 and 385 offer a convenient link to these outlying communities, along with Charlotte, N.C. (100 miles), Atlanta (165 miles) and Charleston, S.C. (175 miles). Laurens County is a filled with hometown charm and only miles away from the benefits of major cities.
One of South Carolina’s largest airports, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, GSP, is less than 45 minutes from the center of Laurens County. GSP serves the upstate with 100 total daily nonstop destinations and one stop connections to over 200 cities. GSP is located 12 miles northwest of the city in Greenville and has connections to major airports such as Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, Philadelphia, Newark, as well as Dulles and Reagan National airports in Washington, D.C.
As a primarily rural County, we take pride in the success of our general aviation airport. The Laurens County Airport offers service to turbo props and business jets. The 4,000-foot paved runway welcomes private and corporate aircraft, hangar rental spots are available, maintenance and fuel service are offered, and a courtesy car is available during business hours. Each September South Carolina Breakfast Club members fly into Laurens County to enjoy breakfast with a local Boy Scout Troop 339, many unique private planes, pilots, and friends are enjoyed by all.
Rail service to Laurens County is provided by CSX Transportation, with the company’s main line passing directly through the City of Clinton. Taking full advantage of the character of the many trains hauling through town, the City hosts events at their downtown depot and presents a Spring Festival, Rhythm on the Rails, each year. If you visit the quaint City, you can enjoy the Train Ticket walking tour filled with history. The Carolina Piedmont division of South Carolina Central Railroad operates a 34.4-mile rail system between Laurens and Greenville that runs parallel to I- 385.
Laurens County is brimming with opportunities for recreation. With rivers, lakes, hiking trails, golf courses, hunting areas and more, there is never a shortage of activities to be enjoyed.
Well-maintained park sites dot the map of Laurens County, offering a combination of baseball/softball fields, basketball, playground equipment, picnic areas, swimming pools and tennis courts. The area also features a host of private and public lakes, including Lake Greenwood, with more than 200 miles of shoreline, and Lake Rabon, as well as the Enoree and Saluda rivers, which provide excellent fishing and boating.
Walker and kayakers enjoying the abundant nature here, have the perfect guide through the Laurens County Trails Association (LCTA) www.lctrails.org. The LCTA formed in the spring of 2013, since, working on a Master Plan, documenting existing natural and historic resources, proposed segments of the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail, defined on- road bicycle routes, defined opportunities for blueways (water routes), and a team has been formed to develop an equestrian plan.
Golfers revel in the selection of beautiful, challenging courses in this South Carolina region. Laurens County has two private and one public 18-hole golf courses: Musgrove Mill, an Arnold Palmer World Class Championship Course that was chosen as one of the top modern courses in the U.S. by Golfweek magazine and the hosted the ACC Men’s Golf Championship in 2017. Lakeside Country Club (which is a great neighborhood to call home), and Rolling S Golf Club, a public 18-hole golf course are both courses worth spending some time on.
Hunters utilize private and leased lands in the county, as well as in Sumter National Forest. Skeet shooting and turkey, deer, quail and other hunting packages, as well as lodging and meeting facilities are available at Harris Springs Sportsman’s Preserve between Cross Hill and Waterloo. The Clinton House Plantation, located just north of Clinton, offers bird and duck hunting, deer and turkey hunts, sporting clays, and corporate meetings and conference facilities. www.clintonhouse.com
Racing enthusiasts enjoy watching auto racing, the Laurens County Speedway, also known as “The Darlington of Dirt” offers race track fun from April through September. www.laurensspeedway.com For the off-roaders, the Gulches Off Road Vehicles (ORV) Park is a family friendly dream come true. Ages 4-94 are welcome and camping is available. Sometimes referred to as the “Disneyland” for 4x4s, trails range from easy to “absolutely stupid.” www.gulchesrvpark.com
The Laurens Parks and Recreation Department, housed in The Ridge at Laurens, continues to grow programs and services. Local residents enjoy variety of sports programs such as Little League baseball, basketball, football, volleyball and cheerleading. “The Ridge” is a new state of the art civic center for Laurens County.
The local YMCAs are staples in the communities they serve. The Clinton Family YMCA works with the City of Clinton, School District #56, Presbyterian College, Thornwell, churches, business and civic organizations to help serve greater Clinton and Laurens County as the recreational provider for the greater Clinton community. The Family YMCA of Greater Laurens, recently approving a merger with the Greenwood Family YMCA in 2019, through programs and services like diabetes prevention, afterschool tutoring, volunteering, vocational training and more, the Y provides people with endless opportunities to achieve more.
Lake Greenwood embraces true Southern hospitality with kind neighbors and friendly waves. Enjoy a boat ride or a fishing trip on the11,000 acre playground. Serving as a choice residential and retirement area, the lake offers beautiful scenery and fantastic wildlife including Bald Eagles. Even without a lake home, visitors can enjoy many lake amenities such as campsites, boat ramps, picnic shelters, playground equipment, and trails. Lake Greenwood, located in the counties of Greenwood, Laurens, and Newberry, is one of South Carolina’s more popular lakes. Stretching 20 miles and with a shoreline of 212 miles, Lake Greenwood is the site for many recreational activities. The lake climate is mild and seasonable, with an average temperature of 68 degrees. While the summer can bring heat and humidity, the spring and fall exhibit mild temperatures and many days filled with sunshine and beauty. Winters at the lake are comfortable, with very little precipitation or snow. For visitors, year-round outdoor activities are common and include fishing, boating and a host of other water sports. You will find an abundance of information on the Connect Lake Greenwood website www.connectlakegreenwood.org but nothing compares to visiting in person. One visit and we are certain you will fall in love with this special lake!
Community fun through festivals, events By Judith Brown
Whether it’s bagpipes and bratwurst, barbecue, ice cream socials, wine tastings or a 5K of reindeer-costumed runners, events and festivals which bring the people of Laurens County together are wide-ranging and offer plenty of fun.
Many of these events are fundraisers, such as Main Street Laurens’ Squealin’ on the Square's KCBS-sanctioned barbecue festival in early October and the Run Like A Mann 5K which raises funds benefiting Laurens County cancer patients. Revenue is raised for homeless families with a Family Promise Bed Race in downtown Laurens and the annual Hospice of Laurens County’s Flight of the Dove, which brings to Clinton about 400 cyclists for a variety of rides, including a metric century.
Other events are provided for the sheer enjoyment of the county’s residents, such as Main Street Clinton’s Rhythm on the Rails in mid-May, Main Street Laurens’ Sip and Stroll wine tasting in late April, numerous oldies and beach music bands during Finally Friday! summer concerts in Laurens and the newest festival, Clinton’s new Scots and Brats, blending Presbyterian College’s Scottish heritage with an Octoberfest theme at Vance Park.
- Finally Friday! Concerts and Events, the last Friday night of each month, April - Aug.
- Sip and Stroll, Main Street Laurens - Friday, April 26
- Joanna Town Music Festival, Late April
- Rhythm on the Rails BBQ Fest., Main Street Clinton - May 17,18
- Ware Shoals Catfeast Festival - Memorial Day weekend
- Flight of the Dove cycle race, Hospice of Laurens County - Aug. ??. (((Catherine’s working on this - this week))))
- Coming Home to Cross Hill Festival, Cross Hill - Labor Day weekend
- Run Like a Mann 5K - Laurens County Cancer Assoc. - Mid-Sept.
- S.C. Breakfast Club Fly-In, Laurens County Airport - Sunday, Sept. 15
- Bed Race, Family Promise of Laurens County, Laurens Square - Late Sept.
- PAIA Lower Easter Cherokee Nation POW WOW, Gray Court - Sep. 28
- Squealin’ on the Square BBQ Festival, Main Street Laurens - Oct. 4, 5
- Scots and Brats - Main Street Clinton - Oct. 11, 12
- Christmas Parades - Dec. 7
Laurens County is blessed to have a coordinated network of health care systems and professionals to meet the medical needs of its residents and continue to improve the quality of life for all. Primary practitioners, dentists, orthodontists, optometrists, chiropractors, physical therapists, and a litany of other life sustaining professionals provide excellent health care for Laurens County. Two hospital systems, Prisma Health System’s Laurens County Memorial Hospital and Self Regional Healthcare serve the community with a commitment to excellence that is unrivaled in the Southeast.
Great Care in Our Community
At Prisma Health Laurens County Medical Campus, residents of the community can access high-quality healthcare services and programs blended with small-town hospitality. The campus is conveniently located on Highway 76 between Laurens and Clinton.
Prisma Health Laurens County Medical Campus houses:
- Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital
- Prisma Health Women’s Life Center
- Prisma Health Upstate Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Center
- Prisma Health Diabetes Center
- Prisma Health Cancer Institute
In addition, Prisma Health has four primary care and four specialty physician practices throughout the area, providing residents with access to care where and when they need it.
The campus is part of the largest not-for-profit health organization in South Carolina, Prisma Health, which serves more than 1.2 million patients annually. It is comprised of two affiliates — Prisma Health–Midlands (formerly Palmetto Health) and Prisma Health–Upstate (formerly Greenville Health System).
Prisma Health seeks to improve the health of all South Carolinians through improved clinical quality, access to care and patient experience, while also addressing the rising cost of health care.
Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital
Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital has provided the local community with exceptional care and a hometown blend of professionalism and courtesy since 1989. The 90 bed hospital provides care to individuals who need an inpatient stay. In addition, the emergency department provides high-quality acute care around the clock in an environment designed to maximize patient comfort.
[Side bar feature within the Great Care / Hospital section above]
Advancing Breast Health
A major advance for women with dense breast tissue, 3D mammography is offered at a number of Prisma Health locations, including Prisma Health Laurens County Medical Campus. 3D mammography has a better cancer detection rate than routine digital mammography and enhances the patient’s experience by decreasing callbacks for more tests.
The system allows radiologists to more effectively pinpoint the size, shape and location of abnormalities, leading to better detection and greater peace of mind for patients. In conventional 2D mammography, overlapping tissue is a leading reason why small breast cancers may be missed and normal tissue appear abnormal. A 3D mammogram uses imaging that reduces tissue overlap by taking multiple images. A computer then converts the images into a stack of thin layers, allowing the radiologist to review the breast tissue one layer at a time.
The 3D exam requires no additional compression and takes just a few seconds longer than a conventional 2D breast cancer screening exam. The FDA has approved 3D mammography and it is covered by Medicare and most insurance. This exam is recommended for women of all ages and breast density.
Prisma Health Women’s Life Center
Having a baby? In addition to superb medical care, Prisma Health Women’s Life Center at Prisma Health Laurens County Hospital provides the expertise and technology to give the newest member of your family the best start in life.
Throughout each stage of your pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum care, Prisma Health Women’s Life Center team members will work closely with you and your family. You and your family members may participate in childbirth education classes covering prenatal care, childbirth, physical recovery and breastfeeding.
The center features private rooms for your labor and delivery that are equipped with everything necessary for the birth of your baby. After you give birth, you and your newborn will go to one of the centers spacious postpartum rooms with a shower, television, vanity and bureau for personal belongings, and a convertible sofa for your support person. There’s ample seating and comfort for up to four individuals.
Self Medical Center Laurens (SMCL,) conveniently located at 22580 Highway 76, is Self Regional Healthcare’s flagship medical facility in Laurens County. This 28,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility houses three medical practices: Family Healthcare Clinton, Internal Medicine Laurens and Express Medical Care Laurens (for extended-hours, urgent care service.)
The medical center brings many much-needed services to Laurens county. From a cold to cardiac care, the board-certified physicians and clinical support staff at SMCL work to provide Clinton, Laurens and surrounding communities with comprehensive healthcare. And, as affiliates of Self Regional Healthcare – just down the road in Greenwood - they have access to resources, diagnostics and technology of a nationally recognized regional referral center serving the entire Lakelands of South Carolina. The Laurens facility boasts spacious and modern waiting areas, exam, treatment and procedure rooms, onsite labs and X-rays, and even a community room for meetings and public events.
Additionally, Laurens patients benefit from a rotation of skilled specialists. At Self Medical Center Laurens, Spine and Orthopedics physicians regularly see patients, and just down the road at The Laurens Specialty Medical Office (23013 Hwy 76 East) Cardiology, Vascular and General Surgery specialists from Self Regional are on site every week to meet the many healthcare needs of you and your loved ones. For employers, Self Regional staffs the Self Medical Center Laurens with Occupational Health providers who offer injury management, wellness programs, drug testing, and many other services to improve the health of your team and your business.
The facility recently added several new amenities for the convenience of patients including a dedicated Physical Therapy room, a Self Regional Healthcare lab draw station and regular visits from the organization’s new, cutting-edge Mobile Mammography Unit.
Good Shepherd Free Medical Clinic – Provides free medical care to citizens who are without private insurance, government assistance or the financial resources to afford such care. The clinic is staffed by volunteers and funded by other sources, including private donations.
Whitten Center – Located in Clinton, is the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs’ largest residential services facility for those individuals who are mentally handicapped or have behavioral problems.
The Laurens County Health Department and Laurens County Department of Social Services – Provide numerous health-related programs, from training to temporary aid for limited-income families.
Laurens County has a fine selection of nursing homes, retirement homes and assisted- living facilities, including Bailey Manor, Langston House, Martha Franks Baptist Retirement Center, NHC Healthcare, Carolina Gardens, Clinton Presbyterian Community and the Hospice of Laurens County. For a full list, please call the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce.
BY: ERNIE SEGARS/MYCLINTONNEWS.COM
The members of the Discovering Laurens County Committee determined that the best way to address the chaotic, sometimes violent, often inspirational history of Laurens County from 1840 to1900 was in smaller, more manageable bites. A member of the Committee dealt with industrial development, a couple of members dealt with the coming of the Civil War and the war itself from a Laurens County perspective. Others, including this writer, addressed the turbulent years following the war, including Reconstruction and the often violent and historic election of 1876 that resulted in the election of Wade Hampton as governor with (Laurens County played a key role in that controversial election).
It started out as a labor of love. Two and a half years later, it turned into a 475-page labor and those involved dearly love it. “Discovering Laurens County, South Carolina, Volume III, Dramatic Changes, 1840-1900” hit the street in December 2018. Like the first two volumes, this edition is a heavy, handsome publication, complete with old pictures, maps, charts and, I believe, some very accurate historic research compiled by some very serious and competent local historians.
The “Discovering Laurens County” series began several years ago, largely through the efforts of a Committee of the Dedicated (my description) including two valued local historians, Russell Burns and Elaine Martin, now deceased.
Russ Burns was truly Laurens County’s Renaissance Man. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. Following service in the United States Air Force, he joined the staff of Laurens County School District 55 where he served as a teacher, federal grants coordinator and Director of Technology. A proponent of the natural world, Russ helped form the Upper Savannah Land Trust and he was a member of the South Carolina Nature Conservancy and the South Carolina Costal Conservation League. He also served for many years of the Board of the SC Archaeology Research Trust.
Elaine Martin served as a beacon and an oracle to literally thousands of people from around the country seeking to trace their lineage back to this place called Laurens County. Following her graduation from Laurens High School, Anderson College and East Tennessee State University, Elaine worked for 57 years as a librarian in the Laurens County Library System. She began her service as the Bookmobile operator and she later became the caretaker of the Local History Room at the library. Upon her retirement, that room was named the Elaine Martin Local History Room in her honor, a fitting tribute to a service and a county she loved so well. It would be inaccurate to characterize this volume as a dry recitation of historic facts. The volume contains dozens of photographs of historic homes, portraits and biographies of famous and influential people and entertaining vignettes of life the way it was, and will never be again. Harold Ligon, a Committee member from Waterloo, provided an insightful and poignant chapter entitled “First Hand Accounts; Memories of Ex-Slaves.”
The “Committed of the Dedicated” was made up of local residents with a love for their home County: Gene Brooks, Linda Armstrong Finley, Harold Ligon, Jack Marler, Gene Ott, Elizabeth Horton “Bootsie “Rasor, Robert H. Roper III, Nelle Knight Lollis Rowland and Kathryn Weathers.
Volume III is history now. There will be a Volume IV and I hope to be invited back as a participant. There is truly nothing as joyful as a loved collaborative effort that actually works.
The book is available for purchase at the Laurens County Museum.