This small brick structure in the Newberry County town of Prosperity was built in the 1960s as a railroad office and eventually replaced a wooden depot erected in 1900 for the Columbia, Newberry, and Laurens Railroad. Also known as the Dutch Fork Line, the CN&L Railroad formed in 1885 after two earlier railroads – the Laurens Railroad and the Greenville and Columbia Railroad – merged.
The new rail line crossed 75 miles of the state from Laurens to Columbia, making more than two dozen stops along the way – including one in Prosperity. The line was bought by Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1924, though the railroad company elected not to change the well-known name. At some point the line was owned by Southern Railway until CSX purchased the line in 1984, which still owns it today.
Though the 1900 depot was no longer used once the office began to serve as the train station, the wooden building remained standing. Not wanting to see the historic remnant of Newberry County‘s railroad past fall victim to time, local preservationists worked for years to raise enough funds to save the depot. Together, the Palmetto Trust, the Town of Prosperity, and the Palmetto Conservation Foundation were able to restore the building.
Today the former depot sits on town square and is used as a community center and classroom. The metal frog sculpture standing outside the depot is a whimsical tribute to the town’s previous name, Frog Level. In fact, the name changed several times over the years, beginning as Stony Battery and then alternating twice between Frog Level and Prosperity. The sculpture was created by metal artist James Sizemore and is the largest frog sculpture in South Carolina.
Reflections on the Prosperity Depot
Photographer Ann Helms sent us this note in August of 2016: “On a recent trip back from the Upstate along US 76, I stopped in Prosperity to take another look at the Greenville & Columbia (and later Southern Railway) Depot that was built in 1873, replacing the original burned at the end of the Civil War. I shot pictures of the station years ago before it was restored, and was delighted that the community worked to have it renovated. And as I discovered this past weekend, some new artwork has been added that tips its hat to one of the town’s earlier names: Frog Level.”