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“P” is for Pickens County

“P” is for Pickens County (497 square miles; 2020 population 127,983). Located in South Carolina’s northwest corner, Pickens County is an area of lakes and mountains. The county was named for Revolutionary War general Andrew Pickens, as was its predecessor, Pickens District. In 1868, the county was divided into Pickens and Oconee Counties. In 1889 Clemson Agricultural College was founded and almost immediately became a tremendous asset to the county. Despite the introduction of some textile mills at the turn of the last century, Pickens remained predominately rural. That changed in the post-World War II era with the opening of numerous industries. Three hydroelectric projects resulted in the creation of Lakes Hartwell, Jocassee, and Keowee. In addition to manufacturing, Pickens County’s modern economy relied on education, especially Clemson University and Southern Wesleyan University (founded 1906) and tourism.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.