South Carolina: Oconee County

Oconee County (pop. 74,273) is in the northwestern corner of South Carolina. The only other Oconee County is in Georgia.

The word “Oconee” is derived from a Cherokee word meaning “land beside the water.” The stress is on the second syllable.

Lake Jocassee

Oconee State Park is in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the community of Mountain Rest.

Whitewater Falls is nearby.

The county seat of Walhalla (pop. 4,623) was settled by German immigrants. It has an Oktoberfest every October.

The Oconee County Cage (circa 1900) is on display outside the Oconee Heritage Center. It was used as traveling quarters for chain gang workers.

14x8x7 feet

The Walhalla Graded School (1901) now houses the Walhalla Civic Auditorium.

Used for plays and concerts

The city of Seneca (pop. 8,102) was the birthplace (in 1957) of John Edwards, former U.S. senator and vice-presidential candidate.

He ran with John Kerry in 2004.

Westminster (pop. 2,743) hosts the annual South Carolina Apple Festival in September.

The town also has Mayberry Days in April.

The Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel is an incomplete railroad tunnel, dating from 1856.

Now a public park

NEXT STATE: WYOMING (coming soon)

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One comment on “South Carolina: Oconee County

  1. Mary Schlick says:

    I am surprised at how separated and estranged I feel from this state — even recognizing your fine selections of examples of “everyman’s USA” such as churches, courthouses, schools. It is the first state of your choices that I think of as “the OTHER.” Possibly it is the reputation of some of the politicians!!!

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