“An abandoned country store full of memories and stories.”
City Directories and History: One of the most important of the commercial buildings downtown in Cross Hill was that of Sam Leaman’s, Leaman Brothers Store
constructed about 1928. It was a large and prosperous establishment on the west side of the railroad tracks. It shows clearly on the 1928 Sanborn Map as the large brick red building separated by a vacant lot from the medical offices (1970’s) facing North Main Street.
Also associated with J.B. Leaman, Miller Leaman, J.E. (Edwin) Leman.
Note these small building facing North Main Street originally housed a bank, drug store, post office and other necessary sites for the community to visit. Additional sites associated with the Leman family can be easily searched on R&R by using the search bar.
The Rock Hill Record reported on July 8, 1907 – “The Cross Hill Oil and Hosiery Mills in Laurens County were placed in involuntary bankruptcy last week.”
Cross Hill is located in the lower part of the county. The fertility of the soil made this area attractive to early settlers who named the settlement because of its location at a crossing of a foot trail and a wagon road at the top of a hill. There is little evidence today of the original settlement, however, because of the later relocation of the town. In the early 1890’s the Seaboard Airline Railroad came through the area. In order to take advantage of the railroad, the town of Cross Hill was relocated one mile south of the original settlement. As anticipated, proximity to the railroad stimulated the economic life of the community and made it for many years an important business and social center. The railroad also brought people from throughout the state to the nearby family’and health resort known as Harris Lithia Springs which was widely known for its mineral water. Another change in the mode of transportation, the appearance of the automobile in the early 1900’s, contributed to a decline in the prosperity of the turn-of-the century period. With the greater mobility of automobile travel, the population of the area went elsewhere for employment and entertainment.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
Like Mountville to the north, Cross Hill began to be heavily settled with the arrival of the GC&N Railroad in 1890. The land that the main section of town would be built on was donated by progressive resident Mary McGowan Miller in August of 1890 to induce the railroad company to come through the area. Mrs. Miller was right in her assumption, after the construction of the depot in the early 1890s, the town of Cross Hill quickly formed and would become a hub of activity. The town was officially incorporated in December 1890 and was prospering shortly thereafter. The Bank of Cross Hill was formed by several local businessmen and the town had two drug stores, a knitting mill, two gins, and two boarding houses.
By the early twentieth century, the railroad had produced a flourishing town with 15 stores, five doctors, and nearly 1,200 residents. In the late 1910s, as many as 6,000 bales of cotton were produced in and around Cross Hill. A small downtown emerged with the depot acting as the main point of interest. Cross Hill was enjoying a period of great prosperity. J.E. Leaman opened his General Store on Main Street in 1912 (Site 2315) (Figure 30). Leaman operated as a time merchant—trading merchandise for property liens and future crops. The store stood next to the Cross Hill Hotel (Site 2316), run by the Wade Family. Courtesy of the Architectural Survey of Eastern Laurens Co., S.C. – SCDAH 2003
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