After many delays, the bookmobile constructed by Farber Specialty Vehicles is ready to roll! The original date of delivery was October 1, 2016, but Farber experienced difficulties in receiving the body from its supplier. Blair Hinson, OCPL’s Branch Services Librarian, was the library staff member responsible for the project and admits it was like “birthing a baby.” Thanks go to Ernie Beck and his crew at Vehicle Maintenance, and Derek Burnette and the staff at Diamond T in Fair Play who provided the art work. The bookmobile will make its debut this Saturday morning, March 18, 2017, at the Shaver Center in Seneca, South Carolina, where Seneca’s annual 5K and Half-Marathon foot races begin and end.
On Tuesday morning, February 21, 2017, the day the Journal published an article entitled “Former Oakway school project taking place”on page A3, I stopped by the school on my way to Walhalla and took the following photos. A week earlier, OCPL staff members Blair Hinson, Branch Services Librarian and Janice Lovinggood, the Library Secretary, who lives nearby, met me at the school for a tour of the facility. Kevin Robinson, head of the Oconee County Delinquent Tax office, had been assigned the task of setting up the meeting by County Administrator Scott Moulder. Sheriff Mike Crenshaw,Terry Swain, a member of the steering committee for the Oakway Intermediate School; and a representative of Lifeline Church, which needs meeting space for several Scout troops, were some of the individuals in attendance for the tour.
OCPL is interested in the possibility of putting a library branch in the large suite of several rooms which formerly housed the School Media Center. Located at the far end of the building, the suite is approximately 3,000 square feet in size and has a separate outside entrance, which is handicapped accessible. It also has its own parking area. Below are photographs of this end of the school building.
The Oconee County Public Library was first established in May of 1948. The first library opened in October of that year in the old courthouse annex in Walhalla, SC. A bookmobile was also purchased and began operation in that same year.In 1952 a library was established in Salem. In 1981, a new Salem Town Hall was built and dedicated May, 1981, with provision for a branch library. Oconee County leases a 1,025 square foot room inside the Town Hall and shares a parking lot and public restrooms with the Town Hall. In 2014, the proposed capital sales tax plan included funds for a 5,000 square foot free-standing Salem Library, but the voters defeated the proposal 55% to 45%.
Dan Polk is the Branch Manager and Kayla Rucker is the Assistant Branch Manager.
The hours of operation are Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.; and Tuesday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Last evening, the three members of Oconee County‘s legislative delegation met to hear concerns from their constituents. The meeting was held in the meeting room at the historic Westminster Depot in Westminster, South Carolina. State SenatorThomas Alexander, State RepresentativeBill Sandifer, and StateRepresentativeBill Whitmire make up the delegation and all were present at the meeting. Also present was Carol Baumgarner, Delegation Secretary,who operates the delegation’s local office located at 10 Short Street in Walhalla, South Carolina.
Today, Friday February 3, 2017, the arborist crew from Oconee County’s Road and Bridges Department visited the property across from the Walhalla Library to take down some dead trees. The 1.167 acre lot was purchased by Oconee County last fall and will be used for staff parking and for outdoor programming.
Below are photographs of County workers in action using their equipment to cut down two large dead trees on the property. Four dump truck loads of debris were removed during the day.
In 1990, a book by George Benet Shealy was published by the Blue Ridge Art Association in Seneca, South Carolina. Reverend Shealy had been the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church from 1968 to 1980. After a short stint as pastor of the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Greer, South Carolina, he retired and returned to Walhalla in 1982; he continued his study of the history of Walhalla and produced Walhalla, a German Settlement in Upstate South Carolina. Copies are available for check out at the library.
Reverend Shealy details the historical background of the Germans who banded together after immigrating from Hanover to Charleston, South Carolina and formed the German Colonization Society of Charleston, South Carolina, which purchased two large tracts of land in what was then the Pickens District* of South Carolina from Colonel Joseph Grisham. One of the two tracts became the city of Walhalla. It should be noted that Sunday religious services were held in the German language from 1850 (the year the town was settled) to well into the 20th century.
The photographs below are of grave markers in the St. John Lutheran Church’s cemetery in Walhalla. I have selected some of the older headstones and obelisks that list the towns in Germany from which the individuals immigrated to the United States.
* Oconee County was created in early 1868 when the western part of Pickens District became a new county. Next year, 2018, is Oconee County’s Sesquicentennial (150th anniversary)!
This morning, shortly after 9:00 o’clock, OCPL’s new bookmobile drove into Oconee County’s Vehicle Maintenance Facility on Wells Highway. Built by Farber Specialty Vehicles in Columbus, Ohio, it had traveled to Oconee County all day Monday. The driver spent several hours demonstrating all its features to library staff. Ernie Beck, department head of Vehicle Maintenance, and his staff checked all the systems to make sure everything met specifications and worked properly. A few minor cosmetic problems will be corrected by a Farber technician in the next few days. Then the new bookmobile will travel down to Diamond T Promotional Gear in Fair Play for a vehicle wrap identifying it as the new Oconee County Public Library bookmobile.
Funds for the new bookmobile were provided primarily by Oconee County Council, with a small portion of the funds coming from OCPL’s State Aid allocation.This bookmobile replaces the library’s existing bookmobile, which has been on the road since early 1998.
If all goes well, the new bookmobile will be on the road by the last week in February.