Driving along the highway 123 corridor at five in the afternoon has become as tedious an operation as navigating the wilds of Woodruff Road in Greenville.
I have always believed that you can determine a city’s growth by the level of its traffic, and if I’m right, the City of Easley is about to bust loose.
It is becoming a destination, it is becoming a hub, and once the Pickens Railway conversion is complete and the Rails to Trails project is off and walking, running, or biking, we can expect a larger volume of visitors, traffic, and change.
Easley is expanding, and with each new addition comes the reduced services of its older landmarks in favor of their more modern and more efficient counterparts.
Just look at Brice Field, it has been preserved, but it will never be the home of the Green Wave again, and the same can be said for the ’39 building, it too has been preserved, but it will never again bustle with the boisterous crowds of Easley’s seniors.
And what about Main Street, it holds a unique sense of wonder for those that loiter along its sidewalks, but what it was to our grandparents it will never be again.
Big box stores like Wal-Mart, Lowes, and Academy Sports have authored the final word on Main Street, USA and have ensured that its role as the centerpiece for community shopping has ended forever.
But the remnants of Main Street lingers in Easley and people like Vicki Ciplickas at the Starving Artist Café are working every day to ensure its viability, and if not in actuality, then in a connection to the past.
I can tell you that in talking to the residents of this city, “small town” life will die hard in Easley, its people will not let go of the past and you can see that every time you pass one of the vintage shops along Main Street or drive by the old high school campus.
Sure, their former roles have been replaced, names have been changed, and some of its unique and reverent features have been diminished, but they’re still there, and the people of this city have reminded me that we are what we were, and we cannot outrun it.