MYSTERY PHOTO: Where is this joint?

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There are so many clues in this Mystery Photo that we almost don’t want to give you a hint.  But here it is:  The photo wasn’t taken in South Carolina.  Where is it?  Send your best guess to:  feedback@statehousereport.com and make sure to include your name and hometown.  If possible, write “Mystery Photo” in the subject line.

Several alert readers nailed the location of last week’s mystery of the caboose next to an old train station in Branchville, S.C.  While we had 11 people guess the location, hats off to those who got it right:  C.D. Rhodes of Columbia; Travis Greene of Spartanburg; cartoonist Robert Ariail of Camden; Mikee Johnson of Orangeburg; Charles Davis of Montmorenci; and George Graf of Palmyra, Va.

Branchville, a town of about 1,000 people in rural Orangeburg County, has an outsized importance in the railroad world.  According to photo sleuth Graf:

“According to branchville.sc.gov, the railroad has brought many firsts to the town of Branchville. The town, chartered in December of 1858, owes much of its beginnings to the development of the transportation industry. The railroad, America’s first, began operations on Christmas Day, 1830, when the Best Friend of Charleston speeded along, as some passengers described, ‘on the wings of the wind at a speed of 20 miles per hour, annihilating both time and space, and leaving all the world behind.’

“By 1833, the railroad had extended 136 miles from Charleston. In 1877, a new railroad depot was erected across the street from the original station, vastly increasing capabilities. The dining room was among the finest of its kind anywhere, and in the heyday of railroad travel, it was famous for its bountiful table. Summoned to dinner by a bell on the platform, travelers that included past presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft were regaled with authentic Southern cooking.  The last scheduled passenger train passed through Branchville in October of 1962, when the Carolina Special made its final run to Cincinnati.”

  • Send us a mystery:  If you have a photo that you believe will stump readers, send it along (but make sure to tell us what it is because it may stump us too!)  Send to:  feedback@statehousereport.com and mark it as a photo submission.  Thanks.
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