Nettie Moak Campbell, the town clerk of Elgin, isn’t wild about getting her name in the newspaper.

It was there last week, and it complicated her life. This autograph business can get pretty tiresome.

Mrs. Campbell, who already knows everybody north of the Frosty Bite in Pontiac, became even more popular last week with her rendition of an Elgin watch joke.

“If somebody comes in and is 15 minutes late, we say, ‘Well, you must have an Elgin watch’,” she said in last week’s Neighbors, explaining the sentiments some Elginites harbor toward the watch company that left Blaney just four years after the town changed its name for it.

Now, if you are a longtime Northeast Neighbors reader, this is the first you’ve heard of this. See, there were two Northeast Neighbors last week. If you live from Arcadia Lakes to Blythewood or Pontiac, you received the regular Zone Two; if you live from Pontiac to Lugoff, you got what my editor dubbed Zone 2 1/2.

Lugoff-Elgin officially became our neighbors last week, as we welcomed 2,000 families in those communities to the fold. Executive Editor Tom McLean, he of Blythewood heritage, explained the expanded coverage in a letter to readers. “Our inclusion of Elgin and Lugoff is a natural extension of the dynamic development along U.S. 1 and I-20,” he wrote.

Indeed, Elgin is a mere five miles from the Pontiac stoplight, which used to be considered “country” but now is just another part of northeast Columbia. You can still call Elgin and Lugoff “country,” but do it now before it’s too late. Elgin has a frozen yogurt shop. McDonald’s is building in Lugoff. Commercialization marches on.

I am by no means an authority on the twin towns; however, I have an Elgin Catfish Stomp sweatshirt, I know a couple of Goffs, and I frequent the Lugoff Shoney’s, where they’re open until 1 a.m., a little later if you don’t mind them mopping around you.

But if you’ve never been to Elgin and Lugoff, then I still know more than you, and so I feel obliged to offer a sort of beginner’s guide to Elgin and Lugoff.

To get there, take U.S. 1 past the Pontiac Factory Outlet. You will pass a smelly chicken farm, a lot of property owned by Monroes and a bunch of red Jim Podell Realty signs tacked to pine trees.

The drive is beautiful, and it’s hardly no time at all until you enter Elgin’s 35-mph speed zone, where the now-defunct Elgin Police Department once collected something like $8,390,417 one weekend from motorists clocked at 38. (Even though the police department is no more, they tell me an unmarked highway patrol car lurks around, so don’t get any ideas.)

Sights to take in in Elgin:

* Claude Campbell’s Grocery: first unmarked store on your right. In 1963, Mr. Campbell cast one of the 16 votes against changing the name from Blaney to Elgin. He knows everybody, and he takes personal checks.

* Lem Wooten Realty: This business is a historical landmark of sorts. The Snake Motorcycle Shop used to be there.

* Old Blaney Elementary School gymnasium: This is next to the Elgin Town Hall. Kershaw County uses it for recreation these days, and the Elgin Catfish Stomp (first weekend in December) goes on around it.

* Elgin Town Hall: It’s on your right, just past the now-defunct Belle Dame Wig store. Stop by and ask for Nettie Campbell’s autograph.

* Hammy’s Barbecue: The brother of Nettie Campbell (She’s everywhere! She’s everywhere!) runs it. His name is Hammy. This is not because he makes barbecue, but because his little sister couldn’t pronounce his given name, so they took to calling him Hammy.

Proceed down U.S. 1, and you’ll get to Lugoff in five minutes or so. The drive is still pretty.

Sights to see in Lugoff:

* Shoney’s: You can buy four different newspapers out front, and they’ve got booths big enough to spread them out all over the table. Free lollipops for the kids.

* McDonald’s: Watch this going up from your booth at Shoney’s.

* Bodene’s: Restaurant that claims they have the best buffalo wings anywhere.

* Leo’s: Restaurant next to Bodene’s that claims they have the best buffalo wings anywhere.

* Holiday Inn: Plum’s nightclub. Jacuzzi suites. Recently remodeled.

* Wateree River: Site of Lugoff’s rafting festival.

* Bridge: Turn around. Go home. You’ve gone too far.

There’s something else you’ll notice about Lugoff and Elgin. Folks there are friendly. They smile a lot. They like you to visit them.

Wanda Hobbs and family moved to Lugoff in February. It was when they first started clearing their land that they noticed it.

“Everybody waves,” she said, still somewhat incredulous. “We’d be out in the yard, and everybody who came by would wave. People you didn’t even know.”

It is, I suppose, the wave of the future, and we are happy to be on the crest. Again, hello, Lugoff-Elgin. We hope you’ll love thy Neighbors.

Jennifer Nicholson, whose book “Lugoff and Elgin on $14 a Day” is soon to be released, is community editor of the Northeast Neighbors. Got a story idea? Call 771-8507, or write c/o Neighbors, P.O. Box 1333, Columbia, S.C. 29202. The toll-free number from Lugoff and Elgin is 768-2626, extension 8507.

September 8, 1988 | State, The (Columbia, SC)

1988.09.08 - Sightseeing in Twin Cities
September 8, 1988 State (published as The State) Columbia, South Carolina Page 68

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