There's no better place to take in Greenwood's industrial and railroading past than along the aptly named Heritage Trail, which extends more than 2 miles from the town center south to outlying countryside. Throughout the mid-20th century five railroads ran through town, crisscrossing and paralleling one another. (This route runs along the Georgia & Florida Railroad corridor.) The busy junction was dubbed Hobo Jungle because the rails attracted a population of transients who would captivate local children with tales of wayward adventure.
A commemorative brick plaza marks the trailhead. It centers on a turntable once used by railroad workers, two at a time, to manually turn steam locomotives for their return trips. The plaza also has interpretive signs, a pair of passenger cars from the early 1900s and the Railroad Historical Center.
A half-mile along the tree-lined trail look for the old Coca-Cola building, which bottled soda through the 1950s. In the early 20th century a circus set up tents in the adjacent field, and the rail line was used to transport animals and equipment for a downtown parade. Farther down the trail stand the century-old Panola and Mathews mills, part of the nationwide Abney Mills and Greenwood Mills textile companies. On the west side of the trail, the Grede Foundry used to cast automobile parts and other products. The paved trail ends amid open fields and scattered homes.
Parking and Trail Access
Take I-26 to Exit 54 and head southwest on SC 72 about 30 miles to Cambridge Avenue in Greenwood. Veer right on US Highway 25 Business to Main Street/SC 34. The trailhead is at the intersection of Main and Circular Avenue. Palmetto Bank allows trail users to park in its lot.
Greater Greenwood Parks & Trails Foundation
P.O. Box 8021
Greenwood, SC 29649
Scenic and eerie
"I have run on this trail about 4 times and have seen only about 3 other people. The abandoned adjacent railroad tracks and idle textile mills gives me an eerie feeling. Surface is smooth and well maintained. Lots of green. 1/4 miles are marked but not ...