On a March day in 1988, time stood still for Knollwood, one of the largest and oldest communities in Mauldin. Vice-President George H.W. Bush visited that neighborhood for a presidential fund-raiser. Bush would go on to claim the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States and win a decisive victory over Michael Dukakis, the Democratic nominee for that office.
RC Jones, Mauldin mayor at the time, recalls the event being held at Dick Greer’s home in the Knollwood community. Mr. Greer, who had close connections with Carroll Campbell, S.C. Governor at that time, and the Republican Party, hosted the hotdog supper where over a thousand people attended.
Vice-President Bush arrived in a bus but did not disembark until a host of Secret Service had thoroughly searched through Mr. Greer’s home and surrounding areas. Taft Matney, current Mauldin Council member and lifelong resident of this community, was a high school student when Bush came to town. He remembers that the Secret Service commandeered his friend’s game room and they had to find another place to hang out. Although he served baked beans at the event, he did not meet Bush personally but does recall satellite dishes and TV cameras everywhere as well as cars lined up as as far as you could see.
Vice-President Bush was accompanied by S.C. Governor Carroll Campbell and Cheryl Ladd, famed at the time for her role in “Charlie’s Angels”. Bush came outside and mingled in the crowd while Ms. Ladd said a few words. Afterwards, Bush himself gave a speech and returned to the area between the house and the crowd. It was here that Mr. Jones presented Bush a key to the city of Mauldin.
During the visit, Mr. Jones spent thirty minutes or so speaking with Bush. He says that the man was “down-to-earth”, very humble, and interested in what others had to say. Promising to send a picture of the event, the then Vice-President thanked the mayor for the welcome and the key. Mr. Jones laughed as he recalled doubting that such a busy man would ever remember to do that. However, to his surprise, after President George H.W. Bush’s inauguration as President of the United States, Mr. Green received a package from the White House. Inside, he found a letter and a photograph of himself with Governor Carroll Campbell and President George H.W Bush as he presented the key to the city of Mauldin. The photograph remains one of the mayor’s most treasured possessions.