This is a trip into a history of my childhood neighborhood, a section of Columbia fondly known as Bagnal’s Bottom. This sandhill subdivision has a rich history dating back to Wade Hampton III and including many interesting people. In 1942, my family moved into a brand-new, one-story, one-bath home on unpaved, dusty Glenwood Road. The Jennings’ huge farm house on the hill across the road cast an ominous shadow over our small home. In my mind, so did Mr. Jennings—a stern, grouchy man who owned and managed the Glenwood Golf Course bounded by Glenwood Road, Trenholm Road, Sunnyside Drive, and Forest Drive. Between Holes 8 and 9 was a patch of woods the boys of Bagnal’s Bottom called “The Island” from which emerged a lovely little creek.
Mr. Jennings hated children or, at least, that’s what we thought. There were times when some of us climbed the wire fence surrounding the golf course to explore the creek, only to confront Mr. Jennings waving a shotgun and threatening, “If you ever come here again, I’ll shoot to kill!”
He never did, though.
In fact, whenever we visited his golf shop to buy drinks and snacks, he was always friendly. Sometimes he even slipped me a free Tootsie Roll.
The Bagnal’s Bottom Gang would also go for goodies to the commercial triangle at Gervais, Kirby, and Woodrow streets. This was my first “shopping center,” a kid’s paradise that included Khoury’s Grocery Store, Sunshine Laundry, Mr. Nance’s Barber Shop, a beauty shop, a filling station, and a drug store stocked with the latest comic books and a soda fountain that served cherry Cokes.
Next week: Infancy Ills