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Moorhead, Thompson to Join Anderson Hall of Fame

Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

ANDERSON — Well-known Anderson photographer Lewis Dalton Moorhead, whose Works Progress Admnistration work chonicled the area during the 1930s and 1940s, and Major Frank Rogers Thompson, a 1945 Bronze Star recipient and the founder of Anderson Petroleum Company, are the two newest members of the Anderson County Museum's Hall of Fame.

The ceremony will begin Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. The ceremony and reception is free and open to the public.

Born in Sandy Springs and raised in Pendleton, Moorhead was Anderson's best-known photographer of the Twentieth Century. After graduating Clemson in 1930, Moorhead ahe webt ti work at LaFrance Mills in La France.

After being laid off from the mill, he found himself walking on Anderson’s North Main Street and ran into a long line of people waiting to take "penny" pictures at a local photography studio.

“I thought I had better get into the picture business,” Moorhead later said at that moment. He joined John Green’s studio which had been operating in Anderson since 1892, working for Green for a dollar a day and dinner.

Many in Anderson still have "man on the street" photographs of their relatives taken by Moorhead.

After his initial training Moorhead worked for Green photographing local events.  Among the most notable is his photo of Amelia Earhart, who landed at the Anderson Airport on Nov. 14, 1931 as part of her 13-state Beech-Nut Gum promotional tour. Earhart stayed in town only for a few hours, but before departing she posed with several of Anderson’s civic leaders for the photo taken by Moorhead. Moorhead was an exceptionally prolific photographer, taking photos for Franklin Roosevelt’s WPA and in 1938 had his “Five Way Crossing at Three & Twenty Creek” published by Robert Ripley’s Believe it or Not. 

Major Frank Thompson always lived his life by his motto: “help every needy person from the humblest class up.” Born in Concord, North Carolina on June 15, 1903, as a teenager he attended North Carolina College and Porter Military Academy in Charleston where he earned a Civil and Mechanical Engineering degree. He also worked as a cadet at the U.S. Army Supply Base in Charleston. It was here he took up boxing and actually became a welter weight champion during WWI.

Thompson’s intelligence, integrity, and initiative helped him gain rank until he would eventually serve as a commissioned officer of the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers during the Second World War. He traveled to North Africa and Europe as a member of Task Force “A” advanced echelon with General George S. Patton, Jr. and General Arthur Wilson. Thompson planned and oversaw the construction of the first trenches in the port area of Casablanca after the North Africa invasion. For this achievement and his outstanding service in the Tunisian, Italian, and Balkan campaigns, Frank Thompson was awarded the Bronze Star in 1945.

In 1930, Thompson founded the Anderson Petroleum Company and constructed the plant on Glenn Street along with several service stations. His contributions to Anderson’s economy also included hangers provided for the county airport to help Washington to assist the Corps. of Engineers in the planning of the Hartwell Dam Project. He remained a vehement defender of the lake through the rest of life, recognizing the economic potential it represented for Anderson County and the Upstate.

Each year the Anderson County Museum (ACM) Advisory Committee honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to Anderson County and South Carolina. This year, we honor Lewis Dalton Moorhead and Major Frank Rogers Thompson. Two very deserving individuals who influenced Anderson County and our State.

Appointed by Anderson County Council, the ACM Advisory Committee members made the selection of Moorhead and Thompson from more than 20 applications. Nominees must be deceased at least 10 years for nomination eligibility. Moorhead was nominated by Jeanie Moorhead Christopher and Major Thompson by William Owens.

Applications are now available for the 2020 Hall of Fame at the ACM or on the ACM Website The Anderson County Museum is at 202 East Greenville Street, in downtown Anderson. The Fred Whitten Gallery and Whitner’s Mercantile store hours are Tuesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Roper Research Room is open 1 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and by appointment with the Curator. ACM is handicap accessible and admission is free. Donations are always welcome. For more information, contact the Museum at (864) 260-4737.

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