Closing the Land-Use Frontier

In 1893 the American frontier was declared officially closed in an essay written by Frederick Jackson Turner. Back then, the East was civilized and settled, and the West was the frontier, “another name for opportunity,” a place with free land, little law or government, and no regulation. By 1893 there was little farmland not claimed in the East and much of what was claimed had been...

Walking the Old Trolley Line

There’s been so much talk lately about master planning, connectivity of communities, trail building, and traffic that I decided to walk from Glendale to Clifton this week along the route of the old trolley. The old trolley line was Spartanburg’s original “light rail,” and if you’ve traveled much you know it’s a concept that’s coming back in many...

River of the Carolinas

This week, drought and high August temperatures pushed my chance to paddle to the sea from the upcountry back into the planning stages. I’d planned to leave this week my borrowed boat from a put-in at Cliffside, N.C., and arrive 14 days later in the Santee delta. But checking the Broad River gauge on the internet told me in no uncertain terms that the river’s flow is down to one...

This Land, This South

The last few weeks I’ve been reading way too much Southern history. No, I’m not talking about Stonewall Jackson, Rhett Butler, Miss Pittypat, or the moon on the magnolias. My interest has been in what the historians can tell me about this South, our present day South, and what they can teach about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we might be going in the future....

Barnstorming with Christoper Dickey

Earlier this month I was asked to be on a panel in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with poet and novelist James Dickey’s oldest son, Christopher, and Payson Kennedy, the founder of the Nantahala Outdoor Center and one of the stunt doubles for the filming of “Deliverance.” Next year “Deliverance” will be 35 years old, and it continues to resonate with those who remember...

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