OK. I just spent about two hours reading the Florence forum when I should have been working. Very interesting stuff.
I pretty much consider Florence as my home town since I lived there from the age of about 5 to 15 and then again from age 28 to 38 (yes, I came back.) Now I am in Silicon Valley, and love it here.
It is great to see folks so passionate about the development of Florence. I had a mild interest in Urban Planning when I was in college, and this topic was still interesting to me.
For years I kept a section from the Florence Morning News from the late seventies about all of the growth coming to Florence. That was about the time McLeod decided to move down the street and start their new campus. As has been pointed out on this forum the main hospital building on the "new" is a nice example of modern architecture with unique and innovative features. A pity, though, that the 6-7 story brick McLeod Infirmary couldn't be updated and maintained. Both of my younger brothers were born there. Does anyone remember the picture of Dr. McLeod in lobby? It was one of those portraits where the eyes followed you. It used to creep me out, in a fun way. I used to also be fascinated by the switchboard operator who sat in a raised platform overlooking the lobby. All those cords going in and out of the old switchboard. Girlfriend kept busy!
I could go on for hours about FloTown, but I had couple of questions:
1. I noticed recently that the McClenaghan property is for sale. What happened to the retirement home? Are there still residents? Any rumors about what may happen with it? What about the rest of the old Bruce Hospital campus on Dargan next to McClenaghan. Is that still in use?
2. Speaking of McClenaghan, I went to school there for a few months after Poynor was closed. I know it's a moot point now with funding and plans already completed, but I wondered if the discussions of moving the Little Theatre and building a performing arts facility downtown ever included using the auditoriums at McClenaghan and/or Poynor. I actually don't know if McClenaghan's survived the conversion to retirement home. I know that Poynor's is used some by the School District. It would be nice to see the McClenaghan and Poynor auditorium venues used to their maximum. Speaking of Poynor, thank God it was saved; a real credit to Florence after all of the destruction downtown in the name of urban development.
3. What is happening with the old McLeod House at the corner of Palmetto and Dargan? I know that McLeod hospital bought it, but have they done anything with it?
5. A comment about one of the earlier posting regarding the Post Office at the corner of Irby and Evans. I don't beleive this building was ever City Hall. It was the main post office until the one at Evans and Cashua was built. I think the Old City Hall had a clock tower and was in the 100 block of West Evans Street.
4. A comment. Florence is fortunate that it still has active downtown churches, First Baptist, Trinity Baptist, Central United Methodist, and St. John's Episcopal come to mind. have made many committments over the years to maintaining and expanding their downtown properties. I think I read that one of the historic Black churches (Cumberland) that was damaged a little while back is going to rebuild and the new facility will be a replica of the old. This is good news. The loss of St. Anthony's in the 1970's was tragic.
Anyway, this has gotten a little long. If anyone has any info/insight into my questions and comments, I would appreciate responses.