Walhalla, South Carolina

Walhalla is a city in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Oconee County, South Carolina, United States. Designated in 1868 as the county seat, it lies within the area of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, an area of transition between mountains and piedmont, and contains numerous waterfalls. It is located 16 miles (26 km) from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.

Walhalla, South Carolina
Oconee County Courthouse
Oconee County Courthouse
Location in Oconee County and the state of South Carolina.
Location in Oconee County and the state of South Carolina.
Coordinates: 34°46′2″N 83°3′52″W / 34.76722°N 83.06444°W / 34.76722; -83.06444Coordinates: 34°46′2″N 83°3′52″W / 34.76722°N 83.06444°W / 34.76722; -83.06444
CountryUnited States
StateSouth Carolina
CountyOconee
Area
 • Total3.95 sq mi (10.22 km2)
 • Land3.88 sq mi (10.06 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.16 km2)
Elevation
1,033 ft (315 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total4,263
 • Estimate 
(2019)[2]
4,472
 • Density1,151.09/sq mi (444.43/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
29691
FIPS code45-74095[3]
GNIS feature ID1230451[4]
WebsiteWalhalla, South Carolina

The county was named after Oconee Town, developed here by the ancient Hitchiti, or Oconee people. They were one of the Muskogean-language people who were part of the Muscogee (or Creek) Confederacy. The town was later occupied by the historic Cherokee.

This European-American city was founded after Indian Removal of the Cherokee in 1838. Early residents were predominately German immigrants who had been refugees from the German revolutions of 1848-1849. Some English and Scots-Irish farmers also settled here. During the Reconstruction era, when Oconee County was organized in 1868, the state legislature designated Walhalla as its county seat.[5]

The population was 4,263 at the 2010 census. The current mayor of Walhalla is Danny Edwards.[6]

HistoryEdit

The German Colonization Society of Charleston was founded in 1848 to aid a wave of immigrants from the failures of the German revolutions of 1848-1849 and settle them in upstate; in the aftermath, numerous liberal merchants and farmers immigrated to the United States. Society trustees including General John A. Wagner, Claus Bullwinkel, John C. Henckel, Jacob Schroder, and Christopher F. Seeba bought 17,859 acres (72.27 km2) of land for $27,000 from Reverend Joseph Grisham of West Union in the Pickens District on December 24, 1849, to support German settlement in this area.[7]

As mostly political refugees, the German colonists named their settlement Valhalla, in reference to the afterlife in Norse Mythology where warriors would go if selected to fight during Ragnarök. The Germans had sailed from the port of Hamburg, Germany to Charleston. Many were from Bavaria, and the ship also carried some English, Scots and Irish immigrants.[7]

Oconee County was not organized until 1868, after the American Civil War and during the Reconstruction era. It was drawn from territory in the Pickens District. At that time, the state legislature designated Walhalla as the county seat. It was already a trading center for farmers in the county, and became the justice center as well.

Ellicott Rock, Keil Farm, Oconee County Cage, Oconee Station and Richards House, St. John's Lutheran Church, Stumphouse Tunnel Complex, and Walhalla Graded School are natural formations and structures in Walhalla that have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

GeographyEdit

Walhalla is located at 34°46′2″N 83°3′52″W / 34.76722°N 83.06444°W / 34.76722; -83.06444 (34.767263, -83.064321).[9] The city developed in the northwestern part of the state near the Georgia and North Carolina borders. South Carolina Highway 28 and South Carolina Highway 183 intersect here. The small town of West Union borders Walhalla to the east.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2), of which 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (1.33%) is water.

The town is built mostly upon granite rock. Near some minor faults, it has been subject to small and infrequent earthquakes. The last nearby earthquake had its epicenter in Newry, South Carolina, and occurred at 7:42 am EDT on May 19, 1971.[10] The earthquake had an intensity of VI (strong) in Newry as measured by the Mercalli intensity scale. The cause of the Newry quake was likely a slippage of the Brevard Fault and other faults in the area, aided by the immense weight of the man-made Lake Keowee, created by the Keowee Dam.

The Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel is located near Walhalla.

ClimateEdit

Climate data for Walhalla, South Carolina, normals 1981–2010, extremes 1896-present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
(27)
82
(28)
94
(34)
94
(34)
101
(38)
105
(41)
106
(41)
106
(41)
108
(42)
98
(37)
87
(31)
81
(27)
108
(42)
Average high °F (°C) 52.3
(11.3)
56.3
(13.5)
64.0
(17.8)
72.5
(22.5)
79.8
(26.6)
86.5
(30.3)
89.4
(31.9)
88.3
(31.3)
82.4
(28.0)
72.6
(22.6)
63.5
(17.5)
53.8
(12.1)
71.8
(22.1)
Average low °F (°C) 28.6
(−1.9)
30.8
(−0.7)
36.8
(2.7)
44.2
(6.8)
54.0
(12.2)
62.6
(17.0)
65.9
(18.8)
65.9
(18.8)
59.1
(15.1)
47.5
(8.6)
37.6
(3.1)
30.8
(−0.7)
47.0
(8.3)
Record low °F (°C) −5
(−21)
−4
(−20)
3
(−16)
20
(−7)
28
(−2)
39
(4)
49
(9)
49
(9)
32
(0)
20
(−7)
9
(−13)
−3
(−19)
−5
(−21)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.97
(126)
4.90
(124)
5.10
(130)
3.93
(100)
4.53
(115)
4.78
(121)
5.09
(129)
5.45
(138)
5.03
(128)
4.22
(107)
4.63
(118)
5.18
(132)
57.81
(1,468)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 1.6
(4.1)
0.8
(2.0)
0.4
(1.0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.3
(0.76)
3.1
(7.9)
Source: NOAA[11]

DemographicsEdit

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870716
188078910.2%
18908203.9%
19001,30759.4%
19101,59522.0%
19202,06829.7%
19302,38815.5%
19402,82018.1%
19503,10410.1%
19603,43110.5%
19703,6626.7%
19803,9778.6%
19903,755−5.6%
20003,8011.2%
20104,26312.2%
2019 (est.)4,472[2]4.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 3,801 people, 1,558 households, and 1,028 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,023.8 people per square mile (395.6/km2). There were 1,705 housing units at an average density of 459.2 per square mile (177.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.19% White, 15.35% Hispanic (of any race), 6.92% African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 1.42% from two or more races, and 7.66% other races.

There were 1,558 households, out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,063, and the median income for a family was $34,184. Males had a median income of $28,445 versus $21,106 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,691. About 14.1% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.2% of those under age 18 and 15.0% of those age 65 or over.

EducationEdit

Walhalla has a lending library, a branch of the Oconee County Public Library.[13]

Arts and cultureEdit

Due to its German heritage, Walhalla established an annual Oktoberfest celebration. It begins on the third Friday of October each year. The festival takes place on Main Street in Walhalla (Hwy 28) and on the city's Sertoma Field, located between the middle school and downtown (Hwy 183). The festival includes art and craft vendors, music, dancing, specialty food vendors, carnival rides, and other festive activities.

Notable peopleEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ "Mayor - City of Walhalla". City of Walhalla. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
  7. ^ a b "The History of Walhalla". South Carolina Information Highway. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  10. ^ "South Carolina Earthquake History". USGS. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
  11. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2016-06-17.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "South Carolina libraries and archives". SCIWAY. Retrieved 13 June 2019.

External linksEdit