A History of Pickens, South Carolina


First Pickens County Court House.
Built in 1868, replaced in 1891 with a larger building on same Main Street site.

In view of the growing population and poor transportation facilities in Pendleton District, the legislature divided it into two new districts (counties) in 1826. The legislation went into effect in 1828. The lower part became Anderson County and the upper part became Pickens County, named in honor of the distinguished Revolutionary soldier, Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, whose home Hopewell was on the southern border of the district. A court house was established on the west bank of the Keowee River, and a small town called Pickens Court House soon developed.


Pickens County Court House - Pickens, SC (2008)

A new court house for Pickens County was erected at its present location, many miles from the first town and court house, and many of the residents of Old Pickens Court House on the Keowee moved to the newly-created town, some with their dismantled homes.


Pickens is known as "The Gem of the Foothills." It is the County Seat of Pickens County.


Haygood Mills

The Hagood Mill site may have been originally owned by William Jennings around 1773. Benjamin Hagood purchased the grist mill in 1823. The mill as it stands today was built by his son, James Hagood, about 1845. It was willed to John Hagood in 1865 and, on his death in 1879, it was willed to Ester Benson Hagood. Upon her death, it was willed to James Hagood in 1891. Following a line of heirs it was eventually conveyed to J. Bruce Hagood in 1958, and continued to run commercially until 1966. The grist mill and surrounding property was donated to the Pickens County Museum Commission in 1973.


Plan a visit to the upcountry area around several events in and around the town of Pickens. Haygood Mill holds “Milling, Mountains & Memories” on the third Saturday of each month. Folks donate their considerable skills for fund-raising to maintain the center piece, a c.1845 mill with its overshot wheel. The property has, besides the mill, a heritage barn building, log cabin, still-on-the-hill. Each month, all kinds of old-time activities take place during this great, spontaneous event. Musical groups such as “Nick and the Nick Pickers” and “Fiddlers Three” entertain. There are animals to enjoy, good food, old time “pickin’ and singin’”, traditional crafts, mountain men with their unique vehicles and best of all, no admission charge.

On the third Saturday in April, the popular Azalea Festival doubles Pickens' population of 5,000. This event has great local flavor with good music, food, crafts, and some of the friendliest people in the USA to chat with. Pickens also boasts the largest flea market in the south which is held every Wednesday, rain or shine year-round.


As Pickens Court House, the town was granted a U.S. Post Office on May 16, 1827, and its first Postmaster was Mr. Silas Kirksey. Although the court house was moved in the 1840s, its Post Office was moved as well. In 1894, its name was officially shortened to simply Pickens. Its Post Office has been in continuous operation ever since inception.


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved