Bricks and Memories
The tenant house in which our Atkinson Grandparents lived for many years, called The McCraw House, was located only a few miles outside Cliffside, on Buck Shoals Road in the Cherokee Creek Community of Cherokee County, SC. The old unpainted house held many happy memories for our generation. Several of us were born there, and when we went back for visits as children, we were oblivious to any of its imperfections or lack of modern conveniences. As time took its toll on the family in the form of deaths, growing up, and moving away, it also took its toll on the house.
I felt sadness whenever I passed the old house over the years as it became vacant and then derelict, knowing it would soon be gone forever, so I made photos of the abandoned house. Many years later, after the chimneys had fallen and the roof had caved in, I braved the fallen timbers to secure several of the handmade bricks that had tumbled onto the hearths of the fireplaces when the chimneys fell. I planned to save them as memorials.
More years passed before I used the photos I made as aids in restoring the old house, at least on paper, to the state in which it remained in my childhood memories. The bricks I had secured from the house were cleaned and sealed, and an image of the restored house I drew was applied to one side of the brick, with an explanation of its origin and purpose to the other side. In addition to my own brick, one was given to several family members to whom the old house had meant much. Although it is no longer in existence, a mere glance at the brick is sufficient to bring back a flood of happy memories of the house, of family, and of times past.
“This brick is from a fireplace opening in one of the chimneys of the ‘McCraw House’ in the Cherokee Creek Community of Cherokee County, S. C. For many years, this sprawling, two story, silvery gray farm house was the home of James Edward Atkinson and his family, and it later became the home of Ed’s son, Fred Atkinson, and his family. Other than the green composition roof which replaced the original tin roof, and the cement block underpinning that replaced the original foundation stones, the house remained unchanged over the years.
This is the last article contributed to our website by JoAnn before her death on May 21, 2015. Her decade of valuable participation in this project will be forever appreciated.