Lockhart Power Planting 100 Trees to Celebrate 100 Years

One Upstate business, Lockhart Power Company, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in a rather unique way: by planting 100 trees at locations throughout its service area.

Incorporated in February 1912 to provide electrical services to surrounding mill villages, the company, located in Union County, today is an investor-owned utility which provides electric service to approximately 6,500 direct customers and 7,000 indirect customers. Their rates have the distinction of being among the lowest in the state of South Carolina.

The company is committed to protecting the quality of our environment, striving for a goal of zero waste generation. And since 99 percent of the power generated is derived from a renewable energy generation portfolio, the undertaking by Lockhart, along with its parent company, Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, to plant trees for its 100-year milestone seems fitting.

"The idea of planting one hundred trees to celebrate Lockhart Power's centennial is a natural one," said Chief Operating Officer Bryan Stone. "Sustainability is at the core of both Pacolet Milliken and Lockhart Power. This is our way of showing appreciation to the people in this area and making a positive impact that will hopefully be felt another hundred years from now."

Stewart Winslow, project manager and horticulturist at Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, worked with the mayors of Lockhart, Jonesville, Union and Pacolet, as well as members of the Union County School Administration, to select the sites for the trees.

The planting proposal, he said, includes both Overcup oaks and dwarf crape myrtles. The oaks are a large, native shade tree, chosen for former Pacolet Milliken CEO Roger Milliken's love for Noble Trees. About 12 years ago, Milliken started the Noble Tree Foundation, encouraging continual tree planting and maintenance programs throughout Spartanburg County and beyond.

The centennial planting plan includes placing 10 of the oaks at each of the five pre-designated sites, which include Sims Middle School; Jonesville Elementary/Middle School; Pacolet Cloth Room and Marysville School; the Mack Cunningham Industrial Park; and a streetscape project in the town of Lockhart.

"We are honored to be a selected site for the planting of Noble Trees in celebration of Lockhart Power Company's hundredth year," said Pacolet Mayor Elaine Harris. "The commons area between the Cloth Room, Town Hall and Marysville School represents a special place, reflective of our cultural heritage."

In 2007, Pacolet was named a South Carolina Pilgrimage of Place Community, and to maintain the status they are obligated to display some creative representation of guiding principles that would be visible in the community.

"This tree planting will be a respectful way to connect the celebration of our heritage and a commitment to our future," Harris said.

The other 50 trees, shrub-like crape myrtles, are proposed for the "Welcome to the City of Union" gateway at the western entrance to Union on Highway 176. Crape myrtles are another hardy plant selection that will add color during the summer and interest year-round, according to Winslow.

The tree plantings are scheduled to be completed in November.

James Richardson is a freelance writer and the publisher of the Travelers Rest Tribune. When he's not writing, James enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two children at any one of many places across the Upstate.