November 1978 came along at last, so we, Basil and Mary Jones, of Holbrook, Pennsylvania, gravitated down to our favorite rendezvous, Bomar Water Gardens, Cheraw, South Carolina, located on the major flyway of southbound snow birds, and as usual received a genuine Bob Rogers welcome, greeted old friends and started making new ones. One old friend came with us, Mrs. Anna Thomas, who has been here before, and once more settled with us in our travel trailer, in its regular parking space.
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Hiers of Massachusetts, preceded us, and are already in Florida for the winter. Their family owns and operates a toy drum factory, with an output of as many as 5,000 drums a day. Ralph's long suit is water wheels of which Bomar Water Gardens has the largest collection of operating water wheels known to me. Ralph reworked one water wheel on his trek north last spring.
Earl and Kathryn Schwartz of York, Pennsylvania, active in the Williams Grove Show, arrived Thanksgiving Day, the only rainy day that week. They had electric service at their accustomed spot before the rain stopped. They pull a baggage trailer behind their motor home, and are on their way to Indio, California, but will be back for the 10th annual steam show, the first weekend after Easter, 1979. Earl is a retired locomotive engineer from the Pennsylvania Railroad and is engaged in developing Bomar Water Gardens 24-inch railroad. The compressed air locomotive is on rails, and waiting to get itself incorporated into a system. Earl is working on splices and assembly of the 1100-foot oval track.
Oren and Mary Hollen, of New York state, whose travel trailer is parked with relations in North Carolina, dropped in to greet us and be greeted. They plan to return to Bomar Water Gardens after Thanksgiving and before continuing to their wintering area. Oren makes and exhibits live steam models, and Mary is known as 'Hamburger Mary' at steam shows from Key West to Canada on account of the goodies she prepares and serves. Thieves (in Florida) stole Oren's exhibit early in the season, but he built a replacement and exhibited it that same summer.
Two sisters and a sister-in-law to Mrs. Thomas, touring the south, rendezvous here. They stayed at nearby Baker Motel. They were enthralled by the flowers in bloom, flowers literally growning on trees. Camelias bloom from November through April when the Azaleas take over.
General Sherman, after his march through Georgia camped here in 1865 but residents say he did very little destruction. He might have spared the place, the City of Cheraw, because of its beauty. Today's residents point out the residence he used as headquarters. Picture takers are welcome, people are proud of the beauty of their city, their flowers, their trees, their homes, and the 30 odd years of care that brought it all about.
People come from all over, also to see the museum pieces of Bob Rogers. One man, here from England on business, telephoned to inquire if he might view an engine he had heard about. The answer was 'yes,' and the engine had steam up when the visitor arrived.
The Mini-Museum, well housed, contains smaller but significant exhibits such as a cotten gin made by Eli Whitney and small gasoline engines. Outside there are four steam traction engines and a portable, that were under steam Easter week. Several have been painted since the last show.