Waterloo, South Carolina – Community leaders from the Laurens County Trails Association, the Rosemont Preservation Society and the LC Revolutionary War 250th Committee came together Monday morning in Waterloo to celebrate a groundbreaking for a parking area and a trail which will lead to the homeplace of the woman who saved Mount Vernon.
Grant funds from the South Carolina Conservation Bank in 2007 and again in 2020 have allowed the Rosemont Preservation Society to expand its preserved portion of the Rosemont property to 133 acres. It’s the property where Ann Pamela Cunningham was born and lived out her life. It’s also where the invalid young woman began the campaign in 1850 to raise the funds to restore and maintain the historic home of George and Martha Washington in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Now ARPA funds from Laurens County will fund a small parking area and a short crushed gravel trail, “The Historic Roadbed Trail.” The long abandoned roadway leads straight through the woods to the 4.5-acre site of the former Cunningham home.
The partnership among the non-profit agencies have made the task possible.
“We decided that the Trails Association’s best option for applying for ARPA funds was to partner with other groups,” said Bud Marchant, a board member with the LCTA. “The Rosemont Society was a group that was ready to partner to open up a new trail and greenspace and this partnership will lead to a much larger trail and mountain bike trail down the road.”
Laurens County Council designated $50,000
in ARPA funds to the Trails Association for the Rosemont Trail and parking area project.
For the Rosemont Preservation Society, the ceremony was also important because of those who traveled to help celebrate, including Dean Norton, the director of horticulture at Mount Vernon, and Mount Vernon Ladies Association Vice Regents from South Carolina, North Carolina and Wyoming, each traveling to Waterloo as representatives for the historic site.
“This organization began right here in Laurens County at the Liberty Springs Presbyterian Church in Cross Hill when a small group of Laurens County ladies raised funds, purchased and began the preservation of Mount Vernon,” said Doris Taylor, president of the Rosemont Preservation Society. “It’s still run by women from across the nation and it owns, runs and preserves Mount Vernon.”
The ARPA funds will cover the construction of the parking area, the first trail and QR code signage providing ample information about the site’s wide variety of plants and trees, such as the tall American Boxwood, native magnolias and the osage orange trees.
Kevin Shoemaker of Thomas and Hutton delivered the large conceptual diagram showing the Historic Roadbed Trail and the future plans for trails going north along the narrow property.
Lastly, the Rosemont Preservation Society’s partnership with the LC Revolutionary War 250th Committee will enable the Rosemont property to be included in the county’s portion of the statewide Liberty Trail.
“This will be one of the 14 trails we can include because the Rosemont Society already owns the property,” said Committee Chair Ernie Segars.
“We’ll be glad to be one of the sites for the ‘250’ celebration of the American Revolution in Laurens County,” Taylor said. “The Cunningham family members were an important part of the American Revolution in the Backcountry of South Carolina.”
This story originally ran on Page 1 of the Wednesday, Nov. 16 issue of The Laurens County Advertiser.