SRS Heritage Foundation
            Preserving and Interpreting the Heritage of the Savannah River Site

     The Ellenton Heritage Trail Project is to be a 1 1/2-mile walking trail through the site of the former town of Ellenton.  Ellenton was one of several rural communities uprooted to make room for the Savannah River in the Early 1950s.  The Ellenton Heritage Trail Committee, led by Jim Iwert, are converting this concept into a reality in the not too distant future.

    The Committee is preparing a proposal to the Department of Energy for an area identified as “Ellenton & Environs” with an initial area to be used for guided walking tours of the site of the former town of Ellenton. The proposed Heritage Trail stretches from S.C. Highway #125 to the railroad and includes much of the town ce
Ellenton City Limits Signnter.

The initial Phase I is being proposed for one scheduled tour a month beginning at the Ellenton historical marker pulloff adjacent to S.C. Highway #125. The tour will then proceed through Barricade #7 down Main Street. Visitors to Ellenton will learn about the history behind the decision to permanently relocate the residents of Ellenton, as well as Dunbarton, Meyers Mill, Hawthorne, Leigh, and Robbins, for a cause they did not quite understand. They will learn about a place that was “Almost Like Heaven” for approximately 6,000 residents and what life was like for them prior to the Atomic Energy Commission’s decision to take ownership of approximately 300 square miles of South Carolina farm and timber land in the early 1950s to build a nuclear complex.

During the tour, visitors will learn where specific buildings were located and where various activities took place. For former residents, this will be a walk back in time down memory lane. For new visitors, it will be a step into the past of rural South Carolina.

    Protection to the environment and the cultural resources is the top priority during all phases of trail development. As visitation and audiences increase, the envisioned final phase willttt be extended to a larger area and include interactive displays and partnerships with other historical and tourism entities. The committee includes former residents of the displaced community, the USDA Forest Service-Savannah River, the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, as well as other enthused participants, some retired—some still working—all with a connection to the Savannah River Site.

Committee members include Jim Iwert (Chairman), Gayle Bumgarner, Clarence Bush, Tiajuana Cochnauer, Chris Goodman, Betty Greene, Linda Perry, Dennis Ryan, Buddy Wingard, and Joanne Zobel.

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