Hattie’s View: Homeless Hideaways

By Ellen Coffey

 I suppose you could say my paternal family of Hooks, Roofs and Redmonds owned a lot of land in Lexington County, especially around the West Columbia Wall Mart area.

 I was named after my paternal Grandma, Ellen Hook (Sturkie) and Grandma Hattie Jane (Tolbert).

I have fond memories of the white two story house facing US 1 right about where the Walmart gas station sits today. I thought about that house as I turned into Hardee’s to pick up biscuits. 

That’s when a thin figure-of a girl darted in front of my truck. I watched as she headed toward the dumpster, where she disappeared into a small clump of trees. 

I placed my order and watched from my rear view mirror as she retrieved something from a Bilo shopping cart hidden in the bushes.


Earlier in the week, while waiting at a traffic light in the same area, I spotted a bearded man coming out of the brush near Hendrix Street. He too, had a hidden shopping cart.

Had their previous camp recently been eliminated? I may have the answer. As I’m driving down Dreher road, passing Hites Bar B Que, I recently noticed heavy equipment clearing the property between Hites Pond and land behind Hobby Lobby.

This land is the future location of 126 new town houses. 

So, I have known for a number of years, homeless folk were camped in the woods behind hobby Lobby and Walmart. 

I discovered the camp while walking my pups, behind Hobby Lobby, down a path into the woods. 

My male pup, Little man, spotted a jack rabbit and away he went.

I saw a faint wisp of smoke rise above the trees, then spotted a couple of tents, gallons of water, bed rolls and trash. I hurriedly picked up my dogs, one under each arm, and hightailed it back toward the street. 

When I hit the clearing, I put both dogs down. That’s when I saw an officer with a Bull Horn.

“LADY LEAVE NOW. This is not a safe area.”

When I reached his patrol car I explained I had allowed my pup to chase the rabbit. 

He advised against walking into a homeless campsite. He Knew?

“Surely you can find a safer place to walk.

So Homeless Hideaways are in more neighborhoods than you’d expect. I’m sure most of them are harmless. I’m just saying be aware.

As the saying goes the homeless hideaways are often hiding in plain sight Y’all

PS: Part 2 next week

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