If you are looking for a way to explore local heritage and enjoy some of the best Pickens has to offer, this site is worth a visit. While the main focus is the nineteenth century gristmill, there are several other significant bits of history not to be ignored.
Although the site was originally used as early as 1792, Hagood Mill was constructed by James Hagood in 1845 at its current location on Hagood Creek, a tributary of Twelve Mile River in Pickens county. Producing a variety of goods including animal feed, cornmeal, flour, and grits, the Hagood family operated the mill for around 100 years off and on. In the height of its glory, the mill produced approximately 140,000 pounds of meal and 14,000 pounds of flour each year. The mill and on-site store became a gathering place for locals in the community. The Hagood family officially ceased production in 1960.
In the early 1970’s, the mill and its surrounding property were donated to the Pickens County Museum Commission. Beginning in the mid-1970’s, the mill was subject to several bouts of renovation. It wasn’t until 1996 that the mill was restored to a fully functioning status. The mill’s 20-foot waterwheel is the largest in the state and the only one still made of wood. It generates approximately 22hp which powers the pair of 1600-pound granite millstones. The mill currently operates on the third Saturday of each month all year and the products are available for purchase in the small giftshop onsite. We can personally attest to the quality of the grits and cornmeal!
In addition to the gristmill, there are two historic cabins onsite that have been relocated and restored to give visitors a feel for the way of life from this long-ago era. The first cabin was originally built in 1791 for Reverend William Murphree, pastor of the Secona Baptist Church in Pickens. This cabin was ultimately donated to the Pickens County Museum by the Hollingsworth family and moved to its current location. The other cabin was built around 1825 by Benjamin Hagood for his family. The interior build of this cabin leads many historians to believe this cabin was used as the store Mr. Hagood was known to have on-site. The cabin formerly stood about half a mile from its current location. After being passed around a few times, the cabin finally came to rest at the Hagood Mill site after being donated by Dr. Larry Brotherton of Easley, who had purchased it at auction.
Over the years, additional structures have been added at the site which now include a blacksmith shop, a moonshine still, and a cotton gin building.
These are usually open to demonstrations during the many festivals. Hagood also boasts a large outdoor stage that is home to many musical events throughout the year. The most notable is the SC State Old-Time Fiddling Championship that was recently held in September. Musicians from near and far arrived at Hagood to demonstrate their skill and compete in this two-day event.
On the property, you can also find the Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site. It was at this location that Dennis Chastain and Mike Bramlett happened upon a 30-foot rock with a carving depicting a human figure in 2003. This was the first discovery of a carving of a human figure in our state. Since this initial breakthrough, thirty-one other carvings have been located at this site. A special building has been erected around them to aid in the preservation of this historical finding. In this building you can listen to audio detailing the discovery as well as a light show highlighting the various carvings that can otherwise be difficult to see. This is one of our favorite activities at the Mill and I would highly recommend that you don’t leave without seeing it.
Upcoming events at Hagood Mill include the Storytelling Festival and Liars Competition on October 19th, the Native American Celebration-Selugadu on November 15-16, and Celtic Memories on December 21st. Hagood is primarily a volunteer run organization and can always use the extra hand. Please check out their website at www.hagoodmillfoundation.org for further details on each of these events.
The Hagood Mill Historic Site and Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site is located at 138 Hagood Mill Road in Pickens. The site is open from 10am-4pm Wednesday-Saturday for tours, but don’t forget the mill only runs on the third Saturday of the month. These days are generally ripe with activities for the whole family to enjoy and we hope that we see you there!
Story and Photos by Courtney Riddle♦