Residents Reminisce Over Eclipse of 1970

People in the Midlands experience a once in a lifetime event twice.

Sumter County, SC (WLTX) – Some Midlands residents will have déjà vu next week.

Back on March 7, 1970, thousands of people in Sumter, Manning and Orangeburg witnessed the complete blockage of the sun during a total solar eclipse. 

“At that moment the good Lord showed us just how special his effects are,” Joel Osborne explained.

Osborne was 22 at the time and remembers the phenomenon like it was yesterday.

"The birds quit chirping. The insects quit making noise. It's just like it's nighttime and everything's going to bed and then about three minutes later they wake up and say 'what was that?' It was magnificent," Osborne reminisced.

He said he climbed to the top of the Rosemary Lookout Tower in Sumter for the perfect view.

"We climbed that tower, the four of us, laughing and joking and having a wonderful time because we knew we were going to see something special,” he said. 

Sumter resident Hap Griffin said he was 11-years-old in 1970 and watched the eclipse in his friend's backyard.

“We were all set up with pinhole cameras, and back then we didn't have the eclipse glasses,” Griffin remembered. “Very exciting. I remember when the eclipse started when totality started you could feel the temperature go down.”

In just a few days, he will watch the eclipse in the upstate with his grandchildren.

“I was so impressed by the eclipse back in 1970 that I went to the library the next day to see when the next one would be and found out it would be in August of 2017 and I thought you know gee whiz I'm going to be an old man by then but here we are, here we are,” Griffin joked.

“There’s so few people in one location that get to see two solar eclipses in their entire life, and I’m just one of them that’s blessed to be able to do it,” Osborne said. “We’re going to sit out in the yard and lawn chairs, my wife and I and some friends and we’re going to sit there and watch it.”

With fond memories of the eclipse 47 years ago, these expert eclipse viewers say the phenomenon will never get old.

"It was a miracle then. It'll be a miracle now and we just pray for clear skies,” Osborne laughed.

Do You Remember the SC Total Eclipse of 1970?

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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