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Possum Trot School — Gaffney, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Cherokee County  |  Possum Trot School

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Possum Trot School

Possum Trot School is located in the upstate city of Gaffney. It was built in 1880 and is one of the few remaining one-room schools in South Carolina. The school was originally located on farmland in the Midway community just outside Gaffney. It was constructed by brothers Jimmy and Tom Pettit (with the help from other Cherokee County residents) and educated students through 11th grade. The name “Possum Trot” is a term used in the South to describe a shortcut between two rural homesteads or villages.

Possum Trot

Michael Mascari of Blythewood, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

With the construction of newer, larger schools, Possum Trot School was abandoned and eventually fell into disrepair. In 1969, Louise Phifer Camp hired local builder Ernest Wyatt to restore the schoolhouse as a gift for her husband Bill Camp, a Gaffney native who attended the school with his siblings. Although the school had greatly deteriorated over the years, its foundation was still intact, which made it possible for Wyatt to restore the building to its original measurements.

Possum Trot School

Ann Helms of Spartanburg, 2010 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Due to a property transfer in 1992, the school had to be moved to its current location next to Hamrick’s department store on Peachoid Road. It now sits just a half-mile from the famous Gaffney Peachoid.

Possum Trot School Interior

Rodger Painter of Gaffney, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Plans are in place to relocate Possum Trot once more. Moving the old school to the site of the Cherokee County History and Arts Museum will allow it to become an integral part of the community. The building is expected to be open to the public daily, whereas it is now open during special events only.

Reflections on Possum Trot School

Photographer Rodger Painter, who shares the interior photo above, says: “I shot this on May 25, 2019, during the Cherokee Historical & Preservation Society’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. The old school currently is located at Hamrick’s property on Peachoid Road. Plans are to move it to the Cherokee County History and Arts Museum on College Drive where it can be better maintained and opened daily to the public. It currently is open only on special occasions.”

Possum Trot School Info

Address: Peachoid Road, I-85 at Exit 90, Gaffney, SC 29340
GPS Coordinates: 35.085162,-81.703539

Possum Trot School Map

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7 Comments about Possum Trot School

SC Picture Project says:
January 20th, 2019 at 7:56 pm

We have never seen this photo but would love to! We will search online and will let you know if we come across anything. If you happen to find it before we do, could you let us know either here or via email at share@scpictureproject.org? Thank you!

Curtis Grier says:
January 20th, 2019 at 4:59 pm

As a child back in the 60s I believe, myself and a group of other African-American children had a picture taken in front of the school with the wife of the POTUS at that time. I’m trying to find a copy of that picture, can you assist?

William Myers says:
October 22nd, 2016 at 6:56 pm

Do they ever open the school to the public? We noticed it is furnished.

SCIWAY says:
February 1st, 2016 at 9:39 am

Ask the Cherokee Preservation Society if you can photograph the inside. The group’s website is linked in the page above. Good luck!

Pherson Weathermon says:
January 31st, 2016 at 4:52 am

Is there a way I could take photos on the inside of the school?

Sara says:
May 21st, 2013 at 10:51 am

I would like to see pictures of the inside and know some of what they learn. Do they learn the same things as I do?

Gloria Hawkins says:
May 11th, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I would like to learn Possum Trot’s history and to photograph it. Is that possible?


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