Intro: A little Summerville history for you immigrants.
Excerpt from the Post & Courier, May 2011:
The engineer who drew up an 1832 “survey” for the town never set foot in Summerville, so his railroad and street rights of way were drawn through existing streets, properties and Town Hall. Also, at least one of the surveyors who set stakes according to the plan was said to be fonder of drink than straight lines; he marked up the wheel of his mule-drawn wagon to leave marks on the ground as the wheel rotated.
C.E. Detmold was the chief civil engineer for the S.C. and Georgia Canal and Railroad. The line carried the “Best Friend,” the fabled steam engine that pulled the first passenger train in the world.
The railroad had Detmold grid out that tract and what he could of the existing town into four-acre squares, and create a 200-foot right of way for the tracks. The plan also created a 200-foot right of way for Main Street and a few other thoroughfares. There were a few problems with that.
So, some of the Detmold grid became “paper roads,” no more than lines on a plat, while the real streets went where they were. Luke Street and Doty Avenue, the streets running along the tracks, became “trespass streets” paved literally in the railroad right-of-way.
The whole mess is unwieldy enough that for years, when the town needed the railroad to sign off on its right of way for something, and the railroad hesitated, town leaders would call on Jim Farmer, the former police chief. Farmer stood out at the tracks, waved down the engineers and ticketed them for traveling too fast through town — until the railroad gave in.
Three lucky pedestrians traversed a 10 block loop of Detmold’s squares multiple times, just to check their accuracy. 420′ squares, with 100′ rights-of-way, should measure about 0.1 miles/block, making the loop 1.0 miles.
Thang: From the parking lot, turn left and run to W. 4th N. Street, left to Hickory Street, left to the R.R. tracks, left to N. Laurel Street, left back to the parking lot. Alternate running a block and walk/jogging a block AMRAP until time is called.
Mary: None. This is a running AO.
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