Explorin’ With Loren: Marion’s people believe the city is ‘just right’
City’s motto: “It’s just right”
MARION, S.C. (WMBF) - This week is all about the city of Marion.
It’s full of rich history, and friendly people who believe the city is, “just right.” Marion lives up to its motto, as it’s just right for business, pleasure and food.
Visitors can’t go wrong with Chop Curbside Restaurant and Catering on Main Street.
“We don’t want you to come here and leave because we don’t have something. We serve everything from hotdogs to crab legs and everything in between,” owner Craig Hopkins said.
According to Hopkins, folks stand in line for the chili cheese fries and the Philly subs. His dream of owning a restaurant started with two food trucks before he took over the eatery last July.
“It was Richard’s restaurant,” Hopkins said.
Previously known as Richard’s, the 40-year-old restaurant at one time wouldn’t allow Hopkins and his family inside, he said.
“I remember coming here as a child with my grandfather. My grandmother and I stood across the road and my grandfather came in through the side. Just to be able to walk through the front door with a key now, is truly a blessing.”
Hopkins didn’t want to change a thing as coffee mugs and license plates still decorate the place. It’s a tribute to all the customers who’ve been loyal since the start.
“Gradually, day by day, one mug will come down and one license plate come down until eventually we can make it ours,” he said.
Folks can walk off their meal browsing the old school house from 1886 that’s now the Marion County Museum.
The newly revamped building is home to several history displays. The museum’s director, Rosanne Black, gave a tour of the Francis Marion room and showed off tons of artifacts.
There’s also a 1960s Disney board game about the Swamp Fox and the revolutionary war hero himself, which is how the city got its name.
Black also highlighted the fashion hallway that has clothes from 1810 through the 1950s, including a baby’s bathing suit made out of wool.
“People love to share something that was important to them or their family. I think you need to remember your history so you can learn from it and not repeat it,” Black said.
Wind down at The Loft at 109, which has an interesting history.
“Everybody knows it was referred to as the chicken lady building,” owner Donnie Gerald said.
Eventually, the chickens moved out and modern luxury moved in. Gerald gutted and renovated the 100-year-old building, transforming it into an upscale three-bedroom, one-bathroom loft while keeping its original charm.
It’s a beautiful space for short-term and nightly rentals.
“All the floors are original. We exposed the brick. It’s fully furnished. All you need is your luggage,” Gerald said.
The loft features midcentury modern décor with the city’s history sprinkled in. Gerald pointed out one picture of a sink that’s decorating the bathroom.
“Taylor’s Barbershop is over 100 years old and I remember as a child, when I did have hair, you’d go over there, sit on a stool and they’d wash your hair. So, I used that sink growing up,” he said.
Guests can book this loft on Airbnb. It’s c centrally located place for visitors to enjoy what Marion has to offer.
“Things are really happening in downtown Marion right now and I couldn’t be happier,” Gerald said.
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