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Paris Mountain, South Carolina

After many days with highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s, I am relishing the 68 degree, Colorado blue sky day today.

I am at my sixth Paris, Paris Mountain State Park in South Carolina.  It was a scenic drive from Tennessee with muted but still beautiful fall colors.  I’m a bit embarrassed to admit I did not realize this part of South Carolina is so mountainous, has so many lakes and is so pretty.  It feels different here than in West Virginia and most parts of Kentucky. It’s as rura, but maybe it is the fact that there are so many outdoor recreational spots?  Quite a number of state parks in the Upstate as this area of South Carolina is known.

The park is smallish as is the campground with less than 40 sites. Not sure if that size is the reason, but folks are quite friendly. I met two people walking their dogs and folks waved as I walked through the campground.  Regarding the dogs, one was a Australian Shepard that was amazingly calm. And one was an English Springer mix.

Nice to have a bit warmer weather and sunny skies. Rain tomorrow and then off to Atlanta for the weekend to see Clucian.  But today my goal is get in 15,000 steps; can I do it? And the find a picnic table so I can do planks, leg raises and hip flexor stretches.  And maybe a tree to use my stretch bands?

Now I’m off to Publix to get some food for the next few days. Last night I had cereal for dinner using my “don’t-need-to-refrigerate” milk.  Who knew?

What follows is the story of Paris Mountain and the state park.  I’m pretty sure no other Paris will have as good a story about the origin of the name.  I tried to clean up the prose from Wikipedia but I may have missed some “language problems.”

Paris Mountain State Park is located five miles north of Greenville, South Carolina.  Activities available in the 1,540-acre park include camping, hiking, biking, swimming and picnicking.  The 13-acre Lake Placid offers swimming and fishing. Canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats are seasonally available for rental; private boats are not permitted. 

Campsites range from rustic, back country sites to paved sites with water and electricity hook-ups.  The park's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) structures, including the Camp Buckhorn lodge, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cherokee Indians once dwelled on Paris Mountain, before Europeas began to colonize North America. The first white man settled in what is now known as Greenville County in 1765. He was an Irishman from Virginia named Richard Pearis. He married a Cherokee woman and became close to the Cherokee tribe. The Indians continually gave Pearis land until his property enclosed 10 square miles.

In 1775, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Jonathan Stuart, wrote a letter to the Cherokee Indians [do you think it was in English??] chastizing them for selling their lands to white men. In one part of the letter, Stuart wrote, “You are constantly listening to Richard Pearis, who cheats you of your lands." Some of the land which Richard Pearis possessed contained the mountain known today as Paris Mountain.  (The name "Paris" is a construed form of "Pearis") 

A legend surrounding the mountain tells of the first white men to visit the mountain. The chief of the indwelling Cherokee tribe tried to protect the mountain, and when he grew old, he passed on the responsibility to his daughter and her husband. The husband failed in this task and sold the mountain; in anger, the daughter of the chief killed her husband.

One of the earliest uses of the mountain by the City of Greenville was as a source of water between 1890 and 1916. Numerous lakes and dams in the park were built in 1890 by the Greenville City Water System as part of the reservoir.  In 1928 Table Rock Reservoir was put into service, and the use of Paris Mountain as a water supply declined.

The mountain also had other uses. In the 1890s, a resort was located on Paris Mountain named Altamont Hotel. However, the resort failed and was sold to N. J. Holmes, who in turn, founded a Bible institute on the site.  The institute was first known as Altamont Bible and Missionary Institute and later as Holmes Bible College. The college opened its doors in 1898. The institute was later sold to another citizen, and the building later suffered a fire in 1920.

The state park on Paris Mountain was built in the 1930s by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  Sixteen other parks in the state of South Carolina were also created due to the work of the CCC. The land for the park was acquired in 1935 from the City of Greenville.

It’s a bit ironic that Paris Mountain itself is not located inside the boundary of the state park but is a couple of miles away.

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