About Anderson County

Welcome to Anderson County! Our team at Visit Anderson is so excited you’ve chosen to join us in our little slice of the South. Whether you’re here for a vacation or looking into relocation, we know you’ll feel right at home here. Learn a little more about the history of Anderson below.

For hundreds of years, the great Cherokee Nation made its home in the Upstate. The Native Americans traveled along the creeks and rivers, fishing and hunting for wild turkeys, deer, and rabbits.

Settlers began arriving in our area in the mid-1700s after the opening of the Great Wagon Road. The Cherokee resented this intrusion and there was violence between the Native Americans and the settlers. Following the American Revolution, the Cherokee ceded their land in the South. State officials named our area the Pendleton District, and the town of Pendleton was named the seat of government.

As more and more people came to the district, state officials split the area in three, creating Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee Counties. Two were named for officers in the Revolutionary War, General Andrew Pickens and Colonel Robert Anderson. The town of Pendleton was very close to the border of the new counties, meaning Anderson County would need its own courthouse. It was built in the center of the county in 1826, and soon streets were laid out surrounding the courthouse, and the town of Anderson Courthouse (now Anderson) was born.

The county’s economy was originally based on farming. By the late 1800s, the county became industrialized as numerous textile mills were established. William Whitner, an Anderson engineer, experimented with transmitting electricity and made it possible to send electricity through wires over a distance. This innovation meant mills could be established and powered anywhere in the county! Anderson became known as the Electric City.

Cotton farming involved the entire family. Generally men and boys did the plowing, and everyone helped with the hoeing and picking. Women and girls were involved in food preparation, and they delivered food and water to the men and boys in the fields. Every community had a gin that sometimes ran 24 hours a day.

Though textile mills first came to the Upstate in the early part of the nineteenth century, they arrived in earnest at the end of the century, and by 1910 Anderson County was home to 15 mills. The housing provided by the mill for its workers was called the mill village. Each mill provided tokens to its workers, which they could trade for goods in the company store. Some mills provided schools, churches, and athletic opportunities for families. Particularly popular were team sports such as basketball and baseball, and the textile community was well known for its Textile Baseball League.

Anderson County today has a large manufacturing economy. Our plants make everything from auto parts to consumer products and power tools.

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