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)

South Carolina: Pickens County

Pickens County (pop. 119,224) is west of Greenville County. It is one of three Pickens counties in the U.S.

All three were named for Andrew Pickens (1739-1817), a hero of the Revolutionary War.

The county seat is the city of Pickens (pop. 3,126).

Pickens County Courthouse

Pickens County is best known as the home of Clemson University, located in the city of Clemson (pop. 13,903). Clemson University, founded in 1889, is a public university with about 20,000 students.

Tillman Hall

The city of Central (pop. 5,159) is not in the center of the state; it was named for its central location on the railroad line between Charlotte and Atlanta.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham was born in Central in 1955.

The city of Easley (pop. 19,993) hosts the annual Big League World Series.

For ages 16-18

Table Rock State Park is on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Table Rock

Baseball great Joseph Jefferson “Shoeless Joe” Jackson (1887-1951) was born in Pickens County. His father was a sharecropper.

Joe started working in a textile mill at age 6 or 7.


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South Carolina: Greenville County

Fast-growing Greenville County (pop. 451,225) is the most populous county in South Carolina. In 1960, the population was 209,776.

Downtown Greenville

The county seat is Greenville (pop. 60,709), located on Interstate 85 about halfway between Charlotte and Atlanta.

Greenville was once known as “The Textile Capital of the World.” Today, it is the home of the International Center for Automotive Research.

Associated with Clemson University

Greenville is also the home of Bob Jones University, a Protestant university with about 4,000 students, and Furman University, a private liberal arts university with about 3,000 students.

The Bell Tower at Furman University

Falls Park on the Reedy was built on the site of a former textile mill in Greenville.

Pedestrian bridge over the Reedy River

The Greenville Drive of the Class-A South Atlantic League play at Fluor Field at the West End (2006).

Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox

NBA basketball player Kevin Garnett was born in Greenville in 1976, and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson was born in Greenville in 1941.

Class president at segregated Sterling High School

In City View (pop. 1,254), adjacent to Greenville, the former Monaghan Mill (1902) was converted to loft apartments in 2006.

The mill closed in 2001.

Paris Mountain State Park is north of Greenville.

Lake Placid has swimming and fishing.

Campbell’s Covered Bridge, built in 1909, is near the town of Gowensville. It is the state’s last remaining covered bridge.

Closed to traffic since the 1980s


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South Carolina: Anderson County

Anderson County (pop. 187,126) is north of Abbeville County, along the border with Georgia. It was named for Robert Anderson (1741-1813), a Revolutionary War hero from South Carolina.

There are four other Anderson counties – in Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas.

Anderson is the 11th-most-common surname in the United States.

Lake Hartwell is a large reservoir, mainly in Anderson County.  It was created by the construction of Hartwell Dam on the Savannah River in 1959.

962 miles of shoreline

The county seat of Anderson County is the city of Anderson (pop. 26,686).

Former Courthouse (1898)

Anderson has been known for many years as The Electric City; it was credited as the first city in the U.S. with a continuous supply of electric power – from a water mill on the Rocky River. Today, the county is known for its many automotive supply and plastics companies.

The restored Chiquola Hotel in downtown Anderson now has condominiums.

Built in 1888.

Anderson University is a private university affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. It has about 3,000 students.

Founded in 1911

The 2003 movie “Radio,” starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Ed Harris, was based on the story of Anderson resident James Robert “Radio” Kennedy.

Statue of “Radio” at Hanna High School

The town of Pendleton (pop. 2,964) was the birthplace of Samuel Augustus Maverick (1802-1870), later a Texas politician and land baron. He was the source of the term “maverick.”

“An independent-minded person”


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South Carolina: Abbeville County

Of all the counties in the U.S., Abbeville County (pop. 24,417) comes first alphabetically.

The only Abbeville County

The area was settled in the early 18th century by French Huguenot farmers; they named it for Abbeville, France.

On the Somme River

The South Carolina Abbeville County is across the Savannah River from Georgia.

John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), U.S. vice president and senator, was born in Abbeville District before it was a county.

Also secretary of state and secretary of war

The county seat is the city of Abbeville (pop. 5,237).

Abbeville County Courthouse (1908)

The Abbeville Opera House (1904) is connected to the Courthouse.

218 seats

The Frazier-Pressley House is a three-story, octagon-shaped house.

Built in 1856

Trinity Episcopal Church in Abbeville was built in 1860.

In the Gothic Revival style

The 373-foot Prysmian Copper Wire Tower in Abbeville is recognized as the tallest structure in South Carolina. It is used in the manufacture of power cable.

Built in 2009

The town of Due West (pop. 1,247) is the home of Erskine College, a Christian liberal arts college established in 1839.

About 600 students


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