Sentinel Progress

The Easley Area Museum

Did you know that Easley has a really good museum?

The museum is located at 201 South Pendleton Street in the old martin House. The museum is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.

When you enter the museum, you will travel back in time when Easley was known by another name.

Originally, it was known as Rockville but later it was changed to Pickensville. If you travel down Highway 8 (Pelzer highway), you will see an iron plaque describing Pickensville as a budding settlement.

A fire in 1816 burned most of the businesses.

In 1817, the leaders of Pickensville went to the state legislature to seek relief through a lottery. The legislature enacted a law in 1817 allowing a fire relief lottery. Unfortunately, the lottery was mid-handled and the money to rebuild disappeared.

The decision was to go ahead and rebuild the settlement. After the Civil War, it became known the railroad would be coming through the area. That prompted Mr. Robert Elliot Holcombe and Mr. William King Easley to move the town to the railroad tracks.

Mr. William King Easley was a lawyer, a Civil War Major, a South Carolina House of Representatives for Pickens and a railroad director.

Easley owes its name to Mr. Easley because of championing the cause of having the railroad come through Pickens County instead of through Anderson County.

Mr. Easley passed away before the town was chartered and never knew the town was named for him.

Mr. Robert Elliot Holcombe was a businessman, entrepreneur and legislator. When the town was issued its charter in 1874, he became the first intendent — or mayor.

He built the first store, railroad depot and a warehouse. He also became the first postmaster and was the depot agent.

He truly was the “first citizen” of Easley.

If you would like to know more about the early days of Easley, you should come and visit the museum on the days we are open.

The museum has been open more than one year and it is progressing very nicely. A lot of folks who visit the museum often speak of family members who lived in Easley in the early days. We enjoy knowing about these folks.

Sometimes they mention that they have artifacts of early Easley and might be willing to let them be displayed at the museum.

We have three ways that items can be displayed: First, the curator of the museum would determine if the item would be suitable for display. We can accept the item as an outright gift, or we can accept the item on loan for a specific time of 2-5 years at which time it would be returned to the donor or the time can be extended.

Also, an item can be loaned permanently while ownership is retained by the donor.

In every case, the person giving or loaning the item would be acknowledged with a placard under the item.

This is an excellent way for your family to be a part of the history of Easley.

As you go through the museum, you will see how Easley has developed and grown to the city you know today.

If you are pleased with the history path we have developed, you might like to become a volunteer and escort people through the museum.

We have a volunteer program to help you get familiar with the items we have.

We also offer private tours to schools, clubs and other groups. If your organization is interested in a tour, request forms can be picked up at the front desk.

Anyone who would like to become a member or a sponsor of the museum can pick up a membership form, also available at the front desk.

Come to the Easley Area Museum and see what we have to offer. Come and be a part of the museum by becoming a member or a sponsor so we can continue to showcase the history of the City of Easley.

If your company has an interest in becoming a contributing sponsor, please get in touch with a Board Member.

We love what Easley has been and what it will become.

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By Sam Norris

Columnist

Sam Norris is the owner of Uncle Sam’s Antiques and in on the Board of Directors for The Easley Area Museum. Opinions expressed in this column represent those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent those of the newspaper.