Former Greenwood Mayor Thomas Wingard, left, receives the first parking meter removed from Uptown from Earle Wilson who, as president of the Uptown Merchants Association, was instrumental in getting the meters removed. The meters were removed during one of the downtown area’s first renovation phases in the early 1970s. Soon afterward, the railroad tracks that ran through the center of town were removed, making way for the “Widest Main Street in America.” Wilson and his wife, Catherine, owned and operated Sligh & Wilson, an appliance store.
(Submitted)
Former Greenwood Mayor Thomas Wingard, left, receives the first parking meter removed from Uptown from Earle Wilson who, as president of the Uptown Merchants Association, was instrumental in getting the meters removed. The meters were removed during one of the downtown area’s first renovation phases in the early 1970s. Soon afterward, the railroad tracks that ran through the center of town were removed, making way for the “Widest Main Street in America.” Wilson and his wife, Catherine, owned and operated Sligh & Wilson, an appliance store. (Submitted)
A wise man once said “Nothing is so constant as change itself.” My father was a wise man, but I’m not sure his quote will stand the measure of time as much as the one just related: “Do socked feet leave footprints in the sands of time?” Dad was philosophical, but no Plato. Still, I find I have pondered his deep question more than a time or two since he first shared it in the early 1970s.
All of that leads up to the fact that change is inevitable, perpetual. Those permanent memorial bricks at the Greenwood County Library, American Legion Post 20 and HospiceCare of the Piedmont likely will remain for many, many years to come. But permanent? Probably not. Even some of our greatest historic sites will, most likely, one day crumble. But hey, if you want to do your part to save one, I saw the other day that Carter’s Grove, a beautiful plantation home along Virginia’s James River, is for sale. Seems it was owned by a dot com mogul whose dot com money hit a large period. So if you have a spare $14 million or so, you can buy Carter’s Grove, fix it up a wee bit and move in.



NOT ALL CHANGE IS BAD, not all change is good. Back to Carter’s Grove, for example. It would not be good if that piece of Colonial history were to fall into disrepair and become, say, the site of a big box store. Or theme park. Here in Greenwood, we are witnessing the transformation of land that once housed a well-used water plant as it becomes a beautiful park. That’s certainly good. A drive along Montague Avenue (yes, and Hampton Avenue or Street or whatever) provides evidence of even more changes. Whether good or bad might depend on your perspective.
That Lander University’s old dorm, Coleman Hall, is in the throes of demolition probably gives some alumni a sentimental twinge, but little else. It’s an eyesore. Change will be good. Well, unless another gas station/convenience store goes up there. Speaking of Lander, who can argue that what grew out of an abandoned shopping center along Montague is not positive change? The Jeff May Complex is one of the best transformations this community has witnessed.
Not far from either Coleman Hall or the May Complex is the scene of another change, another demolition as the Budget Inn is reduced to rubble. I recall seeing a post card of that hotel. I believe it was touted as the place to stay in Greenwood at the time. The old Oregon Hotel was long gone, but no doubt there were a few other hotels here and there, such as the Holiday Inn that stood where the Walgreens now stands across from Ruby Tuesday. But in its day, Budget Inn was a modern wonder serving people passing through town. From what I’ve heard around town, its demolition is a welcome change. Where will some people go to while away the hour?

MANY STILL MOURN THE PASSING of Sports Break off Montague, which had to be demolished following a bad fire. The initial fire itself was not a welcome change, obviously, but up from the ashes will spring a new Sports Break. Granted, it’s moving to a location farther off Montague and along Crosscreek Connector, but this might actually be a good thing. What will pop up where the restaurant/bar stood is anyone’s guess, but it too might be a welcome change. For that matter, it will be interesting to see what crops up where the old Wendy’s once stood, right next to Sports Break’s former digs.
Along Main Street in Uptown, change has been taking place ever since the railroad tracks were pulled up and the Uptown Merchants Association launched the beginning of even bigger changes. Old buildings were given new facades and second levels, and even the parking meters were pulled up, making for happier merchants who were doing battle with the mall and its endless sea of free parking. More changes have taken place, of course, and more is on the way. Who knows? Maybe one day Welborn Adams or some other mayor will be handing the keys to the Uptown police patrol vehicle to the president of the Merchants Association, signaling the end to any parking time restrictions.

Whiting is executive editor of the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-943-2522; email rwhiting@indexjournal.com ,or follow him on Twitter at IJEDITOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.