Those Special Days that Come…”Just Out of the Blue!”

Dear Reader:

Ask and you shall receive.” You might remember in yesterday’s blog post I sent out a call for anyone who might be returning to the Community Cultural Arts (Public Works) Building to please let me know since I missed the tour Thursday night. I was dying to get to go inside to see all the possibilities starting to bloom.

Yesterday morning I was out in the garden a little after 7:00 when I happened to glance down at my iPhone and Anne had sent a text saying she was meeting Jana Riley (the Interim Director of the project and Senior Editor and Writer for Azalea Magazine-so talented!) at 10:00 and she would be by to pick me up at quarter til… Beyond excited…I thought to myself…”Boy, that was a fast response” and finished watering the garden as quickly as I could so I could jump in the shower and get ready!

Just like that….”Out of the blue” this wonderful, unexpected day arrived. Don’t you love it when these blissful “pop up” days come out of nowhere? I could just feel the tingle in the air and was not disappointed.

Jana was there when we arrived with her husband and two precious children…the basement inside is large enough for two small children to ride their scooters around and have a ball!

I asked Jana about the history behind Frosty and she said that all she remembers hearing is that he was originally put up in the top cupola as part of a Christmas parade celebration…to look down on all the festivities…but when that happened she didn’t know.

When I asked Jana’s husband if there was anyway to get up there to him…he said he wasn’t sure there was an inside passageway or not…there was a ladder leading upward but he didn’t think it was safe to try it and one plausible reason Frosty is still up there is because he  might have been put in from outside the building by a crane or something like that…and no one remembered or wanted to go to all the trouble to get him back out again….so the cupola has been his home….for how long we still don’t know but figure someone probably does. The last piece of the puzzle still awaits!!!

At the top of the steps leading into the entrance is a block of painted- over dull gray cement… but underneath these layers it has been discovered that blue granite was originally used. Today blue granite is known as our South Carolina State Stone. It was originally quarried in Winnsboro, South Carolina….the famous blue gray color is still sometimes remembered as “Winnsboro Blue” and put Winnsboro on the map for its treasured asset.

It was quarried in Fairfield County between 1883 and 1946. In 1908 this beautiful granite was used in the construction of the South Carolina Statehouse and was also used in South Carolina’s “Favorite Revolutionary Son” Francis Marion’s (“Swamp Fox”) memorial in Pineville, South Carolina.

The name of the quarry in Fairfield was the Kincaid-Anderson Quarry and was successful in sending out this precious granite all over the country because of the convenient location of the Rockton and Rion Railway to the quarry. This stroke of luck made it “possible for the Winnsboro farming community to jump headfirst into the Industrial Revolution.”

Our state stone was once described in a 1893 publication by Thornwell Jacobs as “the silk of the trade.” (Source: SCIWAY-South Carolina Facts and Firsts) Photo of quarry (South Carolina Encyclopedia/Edgar)

Soon it will adorn the entrance to the Public Works Arts Center! What a great way to start!

As soon as Anne and I walked in….the walls were already adorned with people’s names, encouraging comments, fun graffiti, and impressive drawings like those of the multi-talented Dianne Frankenberger (owner of People, Places, and Quilts)

Anne and I went to Dianne’s shop after we left the Public Works Art Center but she wasn’t there. We thought Dianne might know the origin of Frosty since she voiced her determination to make sure he remains in his “home.” Wandering through her shop/s is like living in a parallel life where talented artisans make the most memorable adornments of creativity and thoughts.

This saying (below) struck me because I have known since the beginning of my diagnosis (and from what the doctors told me) that my type of breast cancer is treatable but not necessarily curable. My goal from the beginning has been to ‘hang in there’ until the next miracle drug hits the market…and so far that is exactly how it has played out. I believe in the piece of art and its message

Let me show you just a few rooms from the massive infrastructure and tour Anne gave me today so you can see just how big a project this is but also the potential for something that Summerville has needed for a long time.

The Public Works Art Center will offer “affordable studio spaces for local artists and artisans, educational art classes and workshops for all ages and skills, gallery space for exhibitions and performances, unique space available for special event rentals, an outside stage for music performances and an on-site market that will feature locally-made art and artisan goods and wares.” (Source: Pamphlet: Great Start)

This building was built in 1939 and first served as the town’s post office;  later it was purchased by Summerville CPW in 1985. Because of the original dates of construction, there are several unique features still found in the building…foot-pedals to flush the commode, and antique ceiling lights … discovered to the delight of architect and board member Dennis Ashley above faux lowered ceilings.

How fulfilling it will be one day to look back on these initial snapshots of the daunting task ahead and then smile in satisfaction at the realization of a dream come true for the people of Summerville.

Before we left to go to Dukes Barbecue in Ridgeville (Could the day have gotten any better?) we stopped by the cute train shop on Richardson. Jakie is getting into dinosaurs now and the shop had a train with dinosaurs riding….too cute…had to take a picture for him.

So until tomorrow…When you have a day like Anne and I had yesterday there is only one word for it.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Those Special Days that Come…”Just Out of the Blue!”

  1. bcparkison says:

    I have a love affair with old buildings and if they can be put to good use …Yea!
    Going to adopt the quote…Don’t quit before the miracle happens. I have had the feeling of anticipation..waiting…..for a while now. Don’t know for what but it is a longing for something. God knows but he hasn’t let me in on it just yet.


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