Robert Marett Papers
Robert Marett Finding Aid (PDF)
Robert Marett (1919-1994)
Rock Hill, Land Surveyor
“Bob, no question, was one of the great surveyors in the area. Everything started with him.”
–Warren Norman (Prominent Rock Hill Developer)
Every morning for nearly four decades following the conclusion of World War II, Robert (Bob) Marett with surveyor’s bag, transit, and other instruments in hand left his Fewell Park home to head outside. Late in the afternoon he would return home with field books filled with measurements and calculations. From these notes, Marett would eventually draw up thousands of plats depicting the boundaries of the land on which future families would build their homes, local developers would plan the future site of a bustling subdivision, and local entrepreneurs and community leaders would use as layouts for future private and public buildings. Many of the subdivisions he surveyed are still inhabited today such as Swan Meadows, Beaty Estates, Meadowbrook, and Bel-Aire Acres, to name a few. Bowater Inc., manufacturer of lightweight coated paper, leaned heavily upon Marett in planning out their Rock Hill Catawba Plant in the mid-1950s, while such entities as Rock Hill’s Oakland Baptist Church relied on Marett for his services during their many expansion projects from the 50s through the early 90s. Most of Marett’s work was performed in York , Chester, Lancaster, Union, and Cherokee Counties in South Carolina, however he surveyed as far away as Georgia.
During World War II, Bob Marett served in the Army Corps of Engineers. Upon his return he partnered with the H. H. White firm in time to assist in the layout of the Celriver Plant in 1946. Soon after Marett joined H. H. White’s son, William C. White, in forming the White and Marett Construction Co. The two would remain associates until Marett retired from full-time surveying in 1980. At which time, Marett moved his operation to an office behind his garage and continued to survey properties on a part-time basis until the early 90s when physical problems began to limit his activities to a greater extent. In 1994 Bob Marett lost his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or what is more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Following Bob Marett’s passing, his widow (Alene) and son (Joe) received constant requests from local surveyors searching for individual plats amongst the more than 25,000 stored in the Marett Family garage. With these requests increasing and realizing the importance of preserving this piece of history, the Marett Family decided to donate his papers to the Winthrop University Archives and Special Collections. In February of 2006, the organization and inventory of The Robert Marett Papers were completed.
These papers are a valuable resource for researchers, as well as surveyors, in researching the growth and development of the various communities in which he worked. Bob Marett’s work, which includes survey plats (as well as copies of plats from previous surveyors), maps, architectural drawings, field notes, correspondence, copies of deeds, and appointment ledgers are available for researchers and surveyors to peruse. The collection consists of 28, 532 pieces and 124 bound volumes that span from the late 1800s to 1992. The Inventory itself consists of 311 pages and individual plats are searchable by Property Owner as well as by the Date of the Survey.