Less Traveled 2012

Ernie Wiggins



Oconee Heritage Center shows history, growth of county

Posted 8/6/2011 5:49:00 AM
The Oconee Heritage Center in Walhalla offers visitors a rich assortment of artifacts that tell the story of the settlement, growth and development of Oconee County.

Entering the center, visitors are introduced to two of the center’s more recent acquisitions – the Chattooga and Keowee canoes. Immersed in vats of treated water, the canoes date back to the 1700s and represent the “prehistory” of Oconee County. They may have been carved by Native Americans or early white settlers, center historians say. The OHC was recognized by the state archeologist for its work in canoe preservation.

A tour through the exhibition hall shows visitors found objects and personal effects, public and private documents through pre- and early settlement, the colonial and antebellum periods, the Civil War and Reconstruction, early and mid-20th century growth.

But the center is working to extend its reach beyond the walls of the Walhalla facility to include a General Store Museum in nearby Westminster; a re-creation of a Southern Appalachia farm in Mountain Rest, and the Center Church in the Oakway community, which will be the site of the center’s work in interpreting the county’s religious history and heritage.

The center holds an Old-Time Music Gathering on the second Saturday of each month headlined by Bill Lowe and the Heritage String Band. The free concert is from 3 to 5 p.m.

If You’re Going:

The Oconee Heritage Center is located just off of Main Street on the corner of West South Broad and Tugaloo streets. It is adjacent to the Oconee County Courthouse. The center is open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and by appointment.