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R. M. Stork Brickyard, Bethel Church Road: 1970   48 comments

Posted at 7:34 pm in Uncategorized

I don't have a lot to say about R. M. Stork Brickyard -- if there weren't a plaque, I wouldn't even have the name. I do vaguely remember when it was in operation on Bethel Church Road however, and how the remnants fascinated me after it closed down.

Today the location, just down Bethel Church Road from Trenholm Park (heading towards Satchelford Road) seems a very unlikely one for an industrial operation, and I don't ever remember having seen the trucks going in and out that it would have taken to support the place. Certainly the traffic would be out of character with the neighboorhood now!

I assume this chimney was attached to a brick kiln. I think I remember some domed ones, though I may be conflating memories of Guignard Bricks just across the Blossom Street Bridge. After lying fallow for a number of years, the place was developed into condos, which look to be fairly nice. The chimney now stands in front of the condo's swimming pool and lodge.

Written by ted on February 11th, 2009

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48 Responses to 'R. M. Stork Brickyard, Bethel Church Road: 1970'

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  1. In a similar fashion to this tower there is a huge brick chimney located about a mile away at what was part of Ft. Jackson but now a part of 42 Magnolia Apartment complex. This tower used to have a small entrance, like an igloo door tunnel that you could crawl. It has since been covered with earth to prevent access, but about 1992 when my son was about 7 we went exploring and found ourselves inside the tower. Embeded in the brick, and evenly spaced about every 14 inches were iron rungs that formed a ladder to the top of the chimney. I am guessing that the chimney is 100 feet tall, but it looked higher from the inside. We climbed about 30 feet up, but with no harness, and the wall angling inward, it seemed wise to desist. I intended to go back with some climbing equipment and go to the top, (how cool would that be to look out over Forest Acres from the top of the tower!), but the land was redeveloped soon afterward and access was removed. Although I have no idea what the chimney was used for, it is still there and easily visible towering above the pine trees from the Forest Drive / Greg Park area.

    Jerry in FA

    12 Feb 09 at 11:14 am

  2. Great story!

    I know the place you're talking about. I think my father's Army Reserve unit used to meet there.


    12 Feb 09 at 11:58 am

  3. FYI, from

    Dr. Abner Landrum published a newspaper, The Hive, in Pottersville near Edgefield. The newspaper was sympathetic to Northern views. [I guess we would call him an Abolitionist]. A committee of the Union Party enticed him to Columbia around 1830 where he published The Columbia Free Press and Hive for a short time.

    Bringing with him pottery making skills, he moved to the present Bethel Church Road area. He established the Landrum Brick and Pottery Company which operated from 1832 until 1911. He introduced alkaline glaze pottery to the area. Fire bricks which could withstand intensive heat that made them suitable as liners for stoves, fireplaces, boilers and heaters were made at his brickyard. Landrum built a house which is located at 4712 Bethel Church Road. [now on the historic register as the Landrum-Stork house]. His daughter, Julia Abner, married into the Stork family. The Landrum industry became the R.M. Stork Brickyard which operated from 1911 until 1970.

    The original chimney from the 1800s stands encased within another chimney built in 1935 on the grounds of the Brickyard Condominiums on Bethel Church Road.


    13 Feb 09 at 8:24 am

  4. I was stationed in Alaska with a Robert B. Stork jr. from Columbia, S Carolina. he was my room mate for two years in the USAF...He told me that a brick factory was owned by his family. I always wondered about that

    Al Canterbury

    19 Apr 09 at 8:23 pm

  5. Interesting -- I don't envy any South Carolinian posted to Alaska!


    19 Apr 09 at 11:32 pm

  6. The R.M. Stork family owned the property menitoned above, and lived in the house at the corner of Landrum Dr. and, I think, Storkland, adjacent to the historic home on Bethel Church. This was a 10 acre tract 25 years ago. Ray Stork also owned the property where the old Piggly Wiggly in Ravenwood is (was), Trenholm Park (?), as well as the property sold to create Satchel Ford Elementary School, as well as the brickyard property.
    The Robert Stork mentioned above may be a nephew, I am not familiar with the name. In 1974, retaining his commercial properties, RM Stork sold his Columbia home and moved to Murrells Inlet, S.C. Ray Stork had 2 daughters.


    24 Jun 09 at 1:28 pm

  7. Robert B. Stork Jr. was my grandmothers brother. He was the the son of Edna B. Stork and Robert Barnes Stork Sr. My greatgrandmother and greatgrandfather. I know he died in a car accident before I was born. Do you have any pictures of him? Robert Manning Stork bought the brickworks, he had two sons, Robert B. and Raymond.

    Jeff Coleman

    11 Jul 09 at 12:46 pm

  8. I'm afraid all I have is what I took in the parking lot there. You chould check the local history room at the RCPL perhaps.


    11 Jul 09 at 1:07 pm

  9. Oh, sorry Ted. I ment to ask Mr. Canterbury if he had any pictures from Alaska.

    Jeff Coleman

    12 Jul 09 at 7:41 pm

  10. One of Ray Stork's daughter's has a myriad family photo's, going back to the 1850's. Not sure where she lives now, but was located in Columbia about 9 years ago.


    28 Jul 09 at 1:38 pm

  11. I'm very suspicious of the closing date carved into the marker because I very distinctly remember playing in the old brickyard in the mid '60s and it was already closed. I would say not merely closed but abandoned. Maybe that date represents the sell date of the property. My best friend and I had the greatest fun giving each other rides in the brick cart which had train-type wheels and rolled over a length of train track under a big open shed from one end to the other, maybe 20 feet or so. We would pedal our bikes there every few weeks after school from Brockman Elementary and never had the first authority figure interrupt our fun. There were no gates or locks that prevented access, and rusting tools were sitting everywhere. Had that been today, it would have been stripped of those tools over-night by the neighborhood sticky fingers.

    Could you imagine the legal nightmare for the owners of the brickyard if that had happened today and someone got hurt? If I had broken an arm or lost a toe when the brick cart rolled over it while doing something on the track, my parents would have made me apologize to the owner for trespassing and then punish me for being there in the first place. Probably threaten to put me in a chain-gang camp like the one that used to be across Bethel Church Road from the empty clay canyon lot where Trenholm Park is now. The chain gang camp was probably used by more than one set of parents in that neighborhood to 'threaten' a kid into submission. I have very vivid memories of men in black & white striped jump suits walking around the prison yard with that infernal chain dragging everyone along for the ride and one man carrying a huge black metal ball. Just like the movies.

    Michael Taylor

    19 Oct 09 at 2:32 am

  12. I never knew about a chain gang camp in the area!

    There are still some tram wheels, though no whole trams, out at Guignard, or were a few months ago:


    19 Oct 09 at 2:47 am

  13. Oh yeah man, the chain gang was where Ravenwood Apartments and Darrell's are located today. The access road for the camp was approximately where the drive for Darrell's is and led down that hill toward the prison yard. Not 100% on when the camp was removed, but doubt it lasted much past 1963-65 or so. Never really thought much about it growing up other than being afraid of doing something wicked enough to be hooked up to the chain. Otherwise, it seemed perfectly normal to ride my bike by a chain gang. Today it's surreal to think about a chain gang camp being in Forest Acres.

    Thanks for the photos of the cart wheels from Guignard. I meant to add that your photos in the Guignard entry pretty much look like how I remember the Stork yard looking when we played there. The Cushman industrial yard cart sitting in one of the Guignard buildings sums up the feeling of the Bethel Church Road place to a tee: abandoned. Must be some ethos in the brick-making business to just up and leave all the tools and equipment when closing up shop. Seems like the Cushman cart alone would be worthy of storing in a barn as it's probably worth something as a collector's item.

    Michael Taylor

    19 Oct 09 at 12:47 pm

  14. The chain gang must have been before my time, but they were just changing the name to Covenant Road instead of Poorhouse Road. (Although below it's called Alms House Road.) This is from the area history on Forest Acres' website:

    " 1948, the church’s [Bethel Methodist] first brick sanctuary was built. 'Miss Mae' Dent, wife of Benjamin McDonald 'Donnie' Dent, led the women of the church in a fund-raising project that earned five thousand dollars, one fourth of the cost of the building. The basement of the new sanctuary was dug by the county chain gang, a group of prisoners who were incarcerated but were taken out together in the day, under guard, to work on government and civic projects. The chain gang was located on the southern side of Bethel Church Road near Covenant Road and Trenholm Park. Covenant Road was previously called Alms House Road because a home for the indigent elderly was located near it on the northern side of Bethel Church Road near the corner of Willingham Drive."


    19 Oct 09 at 12:57 pm

  15. I just found out from talking with my garden center uncle that my grandmother's sister (my great aunt) married into the Dent family. She died not long after I was born and I never got to know her, but to my knowledge there has never been any association with the Dent family at reunions and such. The funny thing about it is that I went to school with Donna Dent for years and never had the slightest clue we were related by marriage. Wish I had some of that old money of theirs right about now.

    By the way Dennis, the Forest Acres website is marvelous for finding out the history of the town; thanks for confirming the chain gang with the article. Now if only we could find someone with a big fat photo album to get interested in Columbia Closings we'd be set.

    Michael Taylor

    19 Oct 09 at 1:30 pm

  16. Can some one post the link to this Forest Acre website?


    19 Oct 09 at 4:19 pm

  17. Probably

    Which I really need to read. Dennis even sent me a PDF once, and I printed it out, so I have no excuse (other than the Steve Martin classic "I Forgot!")


    19 Oct 09 at 4:37 pm

  18. Michael Taylor

    19 Oct 09 at 4:39 pm

  19. Yesterday/ 10 /29/10 I found some white brick with the writing of
    R M Stork columbia sc on one surface. The home place had it's last home ( still in use by family ) around 1917 or 1920 .. the home site is older than that. I don't know when these brick were
    used. Several are whole and in a pile. So I just thought I would check out the company name of the website.
    eastside of Charlotte, NC

    Will Faires

    31 Oct 10 at 2:05 pm

  20. Interesting. I wouldn't have thought brick would have been shipped that far


    31 Oct 10 at 5:46 pm

  21. my dad lived with the Stork's. His nick name is Booster. He was very fond of Raymond and Little Maude. I would love to get in touch with any of the remaining family. My dad is ninety-two y/o.


    23 Nov 10 at 12:34 pm

  22. I have a brick in my living room chimney box that says "R. M. Stork, Columbia, SC". The house was built near downtown Charlotte, NC in 1948. I guess their fire bricks were used all over.


    30 Jan 11 at 4:53 pm

  23. Gale,

    Call me. I have al about your dad. 446-0365

    Jeff Coleman

    3 Feb 11 at 8:30 pm

  24. Ted,

    Is there anyway to figure out Gale's email address?

    Jeff Coleman

    3 Feb 11 at 8:46 pm

  25. Gale,

    I just met with little maude and she talked all about Booster. We have to meet!

    Jeff Coleman

    3 Feb 11 at 8:47 pm

  26. I see all the email addresses people give when they leave a comment. I don't give them out, but if you like, I can email Gale with your address.


    3 Feb 11 at 10:57 pm

  27. Ted,

    That would be great, could you please do that? I would really appreciate it. Could you also tell her my phone number 8034460365

    Jeff coleman

    3 Feb 11 at 11:14 pm

  28. Done


    4 Feb 11 at 2:53 am

  29. Does anyone know why this area was caled Ravenwood? Unfortunately, the new book on FA does not provide an answer.


    4 Feb 11 at 8:04 am

  30. Robert B. Stork, Jr. and I were dating when he had his car accident in Georgia where he was stationed at Warner Robins AFB. He was driving a TR-3 at the time and it turned over. He is buried in the Family plot off of Satchelford Road with RB Stork Sr and several Landrums. The family plot is located off of Satchelford Road on the street next to the school yard. I have his class ring and he was buried with mine.
    Robert was a member of the Sports Car Club of America and
    participated in many of their activities in Columbia. He died on May 5 1960.

    Barbara Moore Pearson

    17 Sep 11 at 3:08 pm

  31. I am a granddaughter of little Maude as you would call her . She is my grandmother and she is still living. She does have tons of pictures and stories about her dad and the stork brickwork place. I am really fascinated when she shares her history with me. If anybody has any old pictures or websites please let me know about my Grandmother Maude. Thanks


    30 Mar 12 at 3:28 pm

  32. I am doing research related to Stork family that had a nursery in Columbia in early 1900's; they hired a young immigrant from Japan who later was very successful in floral business in Columbia; would the grandmother little Maude be part of that Storke family by chance; would like very much to contact her.


    5 May 12 at 1:43 am

  33. Rebecca,
    My grandmother's family (Sarah Stork) had a nursery in Columbia. Her father's name was Abram Stork. He married into the Roof family and moved to Lexington. I can ask if she knows or has any family information on a Maude in the family.


    5 May 12 at 12:25 pm

  34. When I referred to asking "if she knows or has any family info...etc" I was referring to my mother. Her Mom Sarah passed in May of 2000.


    5 May 12 at 12:27 pm

  35. I am little Maude's granddaughter and i can get you in touch with her if you would like .She married and had 1 boy who was my dad(passed in 1987 same day and year as her husband ) and 3 daughters, and 9 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren so far. She still lives near Aiken. email me at and i will let you know more.


    28 May 12 at 12:55 pm

  36. I have a brick with the name R.M. Stork Columbia, SC
    No idea where I found it but thought it was neat. Still sits on my bookshelf. It has a couple of the corners broken off but the name is very visible. It is light tan in color.

    Ed Beaman

    20 Jul 12 at 1:25 pm

  37. Ed -- I bet R.M. Stork wants his brick back.


    24 Jul 12 at 5:51 am

  38. Hi Donna,

    My grandfather was Abram H. Stork and he was Sarah's brother. If you have any information on the family that I could have please let me know. He died before I was born and did not share much about the family.

    Christian Price

    1 Dec 12 at 4:53 pm

  39. The old smokestack, the last structure associated with this Historic and important enterprise is now covered in ivy which is degrading the morter holding the bricks together ..the tower will eventually come down unless the vegetation is removed ..oh well ..

    Ron Ammons

    13 Sep 14 at 8:54 am

  40. I am interested in obtaining a brick with the Na!e of my great grandaddys name .Maude passed away in 2015 at 98. The 3 daughters are still alive.One near Columbia ,one still on the land that was given to Grandma Maude by her dad when she got married.The other daughter resides in NC. If anyone has any pictures or copies that I could get would be wonderfully appreciated. My phone number is 864-506-2449. Thank you.
    She also did a interview for a TV station out of Columbia about exactly her family and the brickworks.

    Morgan Rebecca Shull Voorhees

    29 Feb 16 at 3:33 pm

  41. I lived near both the Stork Brickyard and the Chain Gang facility and remember them both. The brickyard was still going strong around 1955-58. We kids rode our bikes all over the area and I recall seeing the hot fire through gaps around the kiln door. The bricks were a pale creamy color made from clay dug nearby. I recall seeing this clay in several places around the area. My recollection is the bricks were larger than the typical bricks used for house veneer.

    I also recall the chain gang camp which was located in the triangular plot between Bethel Church Road and Covenant Road. The gang itself frequently came by our house on Academy Way. A chained group with an armed guard shuffled by every few months to clean the ditches on either side of the then-dirt road. At one point I felt sorry for an old black man in the gang and brought him a piece of bread which he ate with toothless gums. The camp was of course fenced, but there were open fields of crops (corn, among others) around the camp which we assumed were tended by the prisoners. Once in about 1949 one of the prisoners escaped and stole the ’47 Pontiac from next door as he passed by.

    I also recall the Bethel Methodist Church in 1948 before the first brick building replaced it. I remember sitting in the pew with my parents and fanning myself with one of the church-provided fans. The fans were made with a wooden handle like a tongue depressor attached to a piece of cardstock printed with religious images. When the old wood church was demolished we kids found a large stack of these fans dumped by the side of the road near our house. As late as 1952 the graves of Confederate soldiers in the church cemetery had Confederate flags placed on them regularly, I believe at least on Confederate Memorial Day (April 24). I remember the girl up the street used to pinch flowers off the graves while she walked to school and give them to our first grade teacher!

    Paul McKibben

    27 Jan 17 at 4:16 pm

  42. Wow, that's very interesting info!

    I wonder where the clay *did* come from. I'm not aware of any pits in the area..


    28 Jan 17 at 3:20 pm

  43. Ted, The clay came from the ground.


    24 Apr 17 at 4:03 pm

  44. According to this site, a lot of the clay came from the Broad River:

    I have a home built in 1960 a few blocks from the brickyard. It has "R.M. Stork" bricks in it. Fascinating to learn about. Thanks for the comments, all.

    James R

    26 Jun 17 at 10:59 pm

  45. @Rebecca
    Re: the immigrant from Japan
    Was the last name 'Tokanuga'?

    Jessie J

    28 Oct 18 at 8:27 am

  46. I found the remains of astructure in the woods with bricks withR.M. Stork Columbia,sc on them, any way to date structure


    21 Feb 20 at 12:09 pm

  47. 4/14/2021. Yesterday my granddaughter found a brick with R M Stork Columbia SC imprinted on it. So I googled it and found this site. Got to read a lot of interesting history about the bricks history.

    Chris Williams

    14 Apr 22 at 11:05 am

  48. Fascinating Chris

    Did she find it in Columbia?


    14 Apr 22 at 6:45 pm

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