A Proud Past, a Struggling Economy, and a Bright Future
The town of Allendale during the 1950's and 60's bustled with activity as thousands of Americans passed through on Route 301, the main route between New York and Florida. In the 1970's Allendale suffered a series of economic blows starting with the farming crisis in which soaring interest rates made it impossible for many farmers to maintain their farms. Then Route 95 was completed, rerouting tens of thousands of travelers and tourists about 30 miles to the east. Dozens of motels up and down Route 301 had to close. The garment industry moved to China and Bangledesh, forcing the Apparel company to close down, putting hundreds of hardworking Allendale residents out of work. Still, despite its empty commercial buildings, the southern charm of the town of Allendale remains, and a new breed of community leaders and entrepreneurs are forging a path toward a more prosperous future.
Today Allendale is clearly a town experiencing new life. The header photo shows part of the University of South Carolina Salkahatichie campus in Allendale. Driving into Allendale you cannot help but notice the many motels left over from a better day. In a sad state of disrepair and typically covered with weeds, the motels and empty store fronts stand as a sad reminder of the town's faded economy. But when you get to know the town better, you find a spirit of entrepreneurship and community that represent what is good and strong about our country, and you know that better days are ahead.
The town has a new web site: www.allendale-enterprise.com which is certainly worth visiting.