May 9, 2016 was a day of research and discovery for local historians and friends of the Fountain Inn Museum (FIM). Several senior citizens who grew up in our town remember playing at the spring that was allegedly the “fountain” that supplied water to visitors of the Inn on this stage coach stop. Being eighteen miles from both Greenville and Laurens, this spring was at a point where the horses and passengers would be in need of a place to get refreshed from this old mode of transportation before the railroads came through the area.
This project was a long time in the making. We gathered stories from local lore, newspaper articles and several members of the Board of Directors of the FIM who had researched other sources. One individual told of seeing the old Inn on a grammar school field trip in the late 1940s and remembered that the fountain was near. A trip was taken at that point by a small team to no avail, as the area had grown up over the years.
FIM Board members Chuck Ellisor and Charley Garrett, along with Museum Director Jack Marlar and geologist Lee Mitchell, started out slashing and ducking their way through heavy briars and under-brush by the creek on Howard Drive. Several others coached from the edge of the roadway trying to recognize things from old documents and newspaper articles. Various water lines and underground pipe construction projects hampered interpretation of what would have been natural. Several of the team remembered the area from the 1960s when it was cleared, but could not recall an exact location.
One paper said the fountain was five yards off the current road (Howard Dr.). We located an active spring, and it was directly below where the Inn actually stood! While the area is heavily grown up and has utility work and construction occurring today, some of the brush was removed for future positioning. Further study is planned by the FIM and Geologist Mitchell.