Literally, where the travelers rested, Travelers Rest got its beginning in the early 1800’s as weary travelers were passing through and needed a place to stop before making the treacherous journey into the mountains. Travelers would also end up “wintering” in the small farming community and continue their travels northward after the winter season.
In 1794, a new wagon road to Asheville and Knoxville was completed and the road brought many travelers through the farming community – especially in the fall months, these travelers ended up camping and staying overnight at local farmhouses and taverns. In 1808 the Travelers Rest post office was established and the mail was delivered by stage, which ran from Asheville to Greenville. As the stopover post continue to grow local one room school houses operated throughout the area, but in 1883 the “official” Travelers Rest Academy opened – which would later become the Travelers Rest High School.
In 1888 the railway began construction of a line that would run along the Reedy River in Greenville and continue north to River Falls. Controversy would abound, the railway caused a rivalry to develop between town residents in the lower and upper sections of Travelers Rest – and surprisingly, the controversy ran deep enough for two separate railroad stations to be constructed.
Travelers Rest was incorporated as a town in 1891, with both upper and lower sections being included in that incorporation. However, the rivalry over the railroad line created such a controversy that the residents in the upper section of Travelers Rest secured their own incorporation as the town of Athens in 1893. By 1900 Athens ceased to function as a working town and with a population of 107 it had one more person than Travelers Rest.
The town was once again whole with the upper and lower sections together as they were when Travelers Rest was first incorporated. The first major industry wouldn’t come until 1929 when Brandon Mills actually began production at the Renfrew Bleachery. In the last years of the twentieth century, Travelers Rest continued to slowly increase in population and was seen, in large part, as just another suburb of the Greenville area.
Recently, well in the last ten years, Travelers Rest has flourished and become so much more than a suburb. It has come full circle to a true destination, a place families, retirees and executives seek as a home destination. Local attractions, the food scene and beautiful mountain vistas all contribute to the growing popularity.
The town’s official website invites you to “Get Into Your Element” in Travelers Rest.
Things to do and places to see while in Travelers Rest:
Campbell’s Covered Bridge | 171 Campbells Covered Bridge Rd., Landrum
Although officially in Landrum, SC – it is close enough to Travelers Rest for us to include it here.
Constructed in 1909, it is 38 feet long and 12 feet wide – it spans the Beaverdam Creek.
SPECIAL NOTES: This in the ONLY remaining covered bridge in the state of South Carolina.
Poinsett Bridge | 580 Callahan Mountain Road
It is a 14 foot Gothic arch stone structure and stretches 130 feet over Little Gap Creek. Historians believe that is was designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument.
SPECIAL NOTES: Constructed in 1820, it is believed to be the oldest surviving bridge in the state.
SWAMP RABBIT TRAIL | 22 Miles following a historic rail bed
The northern end starts in Travelers Rest and comes into Greenville. A very popular and scenic trail that covers approximately 22 miles.
SPECIAL NOTES: The trail offers fun, non-motorized recreation and transportation opportunities.
TRAILBLAZER PARK | 235 Trailblazer Drive
Used for multiple purposes throughout the year, there seems to always be something going on at the park. From the Travelers Rest Farmers Market to Movie in the Park – there is something for everyone!
SPECIAL NOTES: Visit www.trailblazerpark.com for information on upcoming events.
The Local Flavor | Travelers Rest Area
From tacos to pizza to wine to ice cream, Travelers Rest is an ever growing mecca for food lovers.
With several unique places to enjoy a meal – Travelers Rest is making a wave in the Upstate’s overall foodie nature.
SPECIAL NOTES: Too many unique individual restaurants to mention them all.