Large Sumter exposition held in 1901

By SAMMY WAY
Posted 3/11/18

Reflections returns to the city of Sumter in May of 1901 to report on a large exposition held in the city that year. An exposition is defined by Webster's as "a large public exhibition or show, often international in scope." This cultural, social, …

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Large Sumter exposition held in 1901

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Reflections returns to the city of Sumter in May of 1901 to report on a large exposition held in the city that year. An exposition is defined by Webster's as "a large public exhibition or show, often international in scope." This cultural, social, industrial and architectural display presents a picture of Sumter that should prove both interesting and informative to its citizenry. The author has made use of the 1901 Exposition Report and numerous articles and photographs from The Item archives to prepare this report. Editing was required because of the length of the report. The article will be presented in two parts.

"Sumter offers rare attractions to the home seeker and to the capitalist because it is a beautiful, rapidly growing healthful city of extensive and diversified manufacturing interests, has the best of most everything, is peopled by clever, progressive and patriotic men and handsome, charming women, and because its fertile back country is for the most part in the hands of sturdy, honorable, hardworking farmers of modern ideas, among whom are many historic families - the true charming types of the famous old South."

"The volunteer fire department here, which there is no better in the South, is composed of the best young men in the town who take great pride in their organizations and who sacrifice both time and money to make them the best, working faithfully under rules and regulations copied from a paid department and giving the town all the benefits of a paid department.

"The same class of young men maintain spacious, well-furnished club rooms in the handsome Masonic building, occupying the entire second floor, which embraces a dance hall as large as any in the state, beside pool and billiard, reading and reception room Sumter has a modern theater, a seating capacity of 1,000 in its handsome new town hall building, which is also the home of the First National Bank (the Simonds Bank) and an attractive-looking shoe store."

"This is a community of churches, throughout the county as well as the city. The Presbyterians established churches on the banks of the Black River in colonial times, and the Episcopalians organized at what is now Stateburg over 125 years ago.

"The Old Brick Church six miles from Mayesville was constructed of brick made on its site. The Church of the Holy Cross was built in 1850 consisting of 'pise de terre' and a concrete floor. The pews and all the furniture are beautifully fashioned from solid mahogany, and there is very intricate stucco work in the arch ceiling above the chancel. In the city, the Baptists and Methodists have two churches, and the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Catholics and Presbyterians are well represented. A synagogue is also located there.

"Sumter has double and triple rows of majestic oaks extending through all residence sections of the city, with grassy, well-kept and flowered lawns bordering its many beautiful homes set well back from its clean, broad, sandy streets and sidewalks; this is one of the prettiest little cities in the South There are also many handsome old homes in various parts of the county, and some rare, beautiful scenery is to be found among the 'High Hills of the Santee,' about the old home place of Gen. Thomas Sumter of Revolutionary fame. There is no clay to contend with, and the roads of the county and the streets and sidewalks of the city are always in condition regardless of weather. The broad sidewalks of the city are alive with bicyclists 15 minutes after the hardest rain.

"The riders of wheels are confined to the street only in the business sections, paying a dollar tax under a popular ordinance for the privilege, the money thus raised being expended for street improvement. This arrangement makes the wheel unusually popular in Sumter ..."