Walhalla, South Carolina
Walhalla is the county seat of Oconee County. It was settled in 1849 when the German Colonization Society, a group of eleven immigrants from Germany, paid $27,000 for the site because of its lush valleys, warm climate and location at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The land - 17,589 acres - was purchased from Joseph Grisham of West Union. On March 8, 1850, the town was named Walhalla, a word of Scandinavian mythology meaning "paradise of the gods" or "happy home."
The settlers divided the land and later sold parcels to non-Germans who also were looking for a better way of life. As generations passed, the German heritage also gave way, though some vestiges remain, including an annual autumn Oktoberfest celebration.
This was the unintended terminus of the Blue Ridge Railroad, when construction west through the Blue Ridge from West Union was suspended by both a shortage of funds and the onset of the War Between the States. The original Walhalla depot had been at West Union, and it was only through the efforts of the Walhalla Town Council and local citizens that the line was extended into the town proper, the first train arriving November 14, 1877. Work beyond the town was never resumed, and the later Southern Railway branch would be truncated again in the 1990s at West Union when the last commercial user of railroad service in Walhalla ceased operation.
Walhalla has a council form of government.
Population is 3,704.
- This is the Clemson Wiki project's 1,256th article.
- "2008 Anderson Almanac", Staed, John, associate editor, Anderson Independent Mail, Anderson, South Carolina, 29 June 2008, page 90.