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Greenville Business Magazine

Anderson County’s Communities Weave Rich and Diverse Tapestry

Jun 14, 2023 10:13AM ● By Angelia Davis

Anderson County is filled with small municipalities and communities, each unique in its history and modern appeal. Here are the towns and communities in Anderson and some of what makes them distinctive:


The city of Anderson is the largest municipality in Anderson County, as well as the county seat. The city comprises about 14 square miles in the geographic center of the county.

Anderson, which has a population of nearly 30,000, was named after Gen. Robert Anderson, a Revolutionary War hero who came to South Carolina to help his friend Andrew Pickens survey land that had been given to the English colony by Native Americans.

The city of Anderson was founded in 1826 and incorporated by the legislature in 1833. Its Electric City nickname comes from Anderson’s status as the first city in the South to have an unlimited supply of electric power. The world’s first electric-powered cotton gin was operated in Anderson County in 1897.

Anderson is the birthplace of actor Chadwick Boseman, known for his role as the first Black Marvel superhero, Black Panther; and James “Radio” Kennedy, the T.L. Hanna High School football fan whose life story was the subject of a film starring Cuba Gooding Jr.


Among the first things you’ll learn upon clicking onto the Town of Belton website is that it is the home of the Palmetto Tennis Championships, the S.C. Tennis Hall of Fame, the Belton Center for the Arts, and the Standpipe Festival.

The town, tagged “Historic Heart, with a New Beat,” also hosts the annual S.C. State Chili Cook-Off Championship.

Belton was chartered in 1855, after the  Greenville and Columbia Railroad was built. It soon became a junction point of the C & G, the Piedmont and Northern and the Blue Ridge (Southern Railway), the website said. The town is located in eastern Anderson County. The Belton Standpipe, a 155-foot-high concrete water tower, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The standpipe was built in 1908-’09.

Honea Path

Honea Path, a town in Anderson and Abbeville Counties, has as its tagline “The Little Town with a Big Heart.” The town was referred to as Honey Path when the town was chartered, but the town was incorporated under the name of Honea Path.

“The first settlers in the nearby area, their last name was Honea,” said Honea Path Mayor Christopher Burton said. For Native Americans, the Honea Path area was a path from one place to another, he said. Hence, the name Honea Path.

The town, located in both Anderson and Abbeville counties, is one of only two municipalities in the state with a public swimming pool, according to Burton.

The pool is run by the town’s recreation department, and there is a small fee to use it due to general maintenance and upkeep.

Honea Path also prides itself on its annual Honey Soppin’ Contest, held in the fall.

Before Belton and Honea Path high schools consolidated, the Honea Path school was called the “Stingers,” Burton said, and “we have a rich history with honey, honey production, and honeybees.”

Contestants are given a biscuit and a couple of teaspoons of honey. The first to sop up the honey, eat their biscuit and then whistle, wins the prize, he said.

Burton was elected mayor in 2019. Since then, he’s rolled out another plan to distinguish the town.

A local artist is sculpting honeybees to place in significant places throughout the town.

Outside of the town hall, there’s a yellow and black honeybee with the scales of justice in one arm and an American flag in the other, representing the courthouse and being American, Burton said.

A black and blue honeybee wearing a police badge is at the police department.

“We just started this, and It’s taking about six months per sculpture to get it put together and brought to town, but eventually I’d like to have a total of five, including one for the recreation department and the fire department,” Burton said. “I’m hoping the business owners in downtown buy into it.”

Honea Path, with a population of nearly 4,000 residents, likes to market itself as “the place to live, not the place to work,” Burton said.

“We’re a quiet quaint town, a bedroom community,” he said.

Meanwhile, the explosion of growth in Simpsonville, in Greenville County, has trickled down through Williamston, Pelzer, and West Pelzer, Burton said.

“It’s into Belton, and I think it’s starting to trickle here,” he said.

Fifteen to 20 new housing structures are going up and most of the existing houses are occupied, he said.

Burton said he’d eventually like to keep everybody in Honea Path.

“If we could have everything that people drive to Anderson for, they wouldn’t need to go to Anderson,” he said. “We could keep our dollars in Honea Path.”


According to an inscription on a historical marker, Iva, located in southern Anderson County, has its origins as a railroad town.

The marker says the Savannah Valley railroad made its way into this area. The depot town of Cook’s Station was named for local physician and businessman, Dr. Augustus G. Cook. Years later the town was given the name “Iva” in honor of Cook’s daughter, Iva Cook Bryson.

With the arrival of the railroad, the community went from a farming settlement to a railroad community and later became an industrial mill community with the founding of Jackson Mill in 1906, according to the marker.

The town’s tagline is “Town of Iva … A Great Place to Live!”

It’s defined by core principles that include “small town values, guided growth, preservation of historical, cultural, and natural heritage.”

In 1985, Iva was named a “Great Town” in South Carolina, marking the beginning of its restoration, the marker said.

The town’s population was 1,352, according to Anderson County Economic Development statistics.


Pelzer was founded in 1881 with the establishment of one of the first cotton mills in Anderson County on the banks of the Saluda River and thrived as a mill town for many decades.

The town grew quickly with the construction of four mills in the first 15 years of its existence, taking advantage of the newest technology available.

Today, Pelzer enjoys three miles of riverfront and an emerging interest in river recreation, with residents and visitors using the ADA-accessible kayak launch and boat ramps at two locations.

The town is situated on two well-traveled highways (Highways 20 and 8) and is an easy 30-minute drive to Anderson, Clemson, Easley, Greenville, and Simpsonville.

Pelzer has retained its quaint identity and much of its history. The historic ballfields there are likely where Shoeless Joe Jackson first picked up a bat before moving to West Greenville. The Monkey Park is so named because it was once a zoo that served as a home for many monkeys in the early part of the 20th century.

The Mill Town Players, one of the state’s most awarded and attended community theaters, is based in the Historic Pelzer Auditorium (1920).

The town is making plans for historic renovation of the Community Building (built prior to 1910), the old hospital (1895), and gym (1922). One vital component of the master plan is a town-wide trail system that will eventually connect with nearby West Pelzer and Williamston. Pelzer has recently seen more residential construction and renovation of its mill village homes than it has in many years and is part of Anderson School District One, which consistently ranks as one of the top school districts in the state. Source- Pelzer Mayor Will Ragland


Located in the northwest area of Anderson County, near Clemson, Pendleton is noted by Discover South Carolina as one of the earliest Upstate County towns and one of the nation’s largest historic districts.

The Town of Pendleton was created in 1790 for a courthouse seat, the town’s website said. It is named for Judge Henry Pendleton, a Virginian who fought in the Revolution and remained in South Carolina, the site said.

Jones Rifles was headquartered in Pendleton during the Civil War.

In an online message, here’s what Pendleton Mayor Frank Crenshaw said about the town:

“Pendleton offers a Southern hospitality that is beyond compare. Our picturesque town, on the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, offers a glimpse of days gone by. The entire town is on the National Historic Registry, so history can be found on every street.

“We are a living and working community of approximately 3,000 residents. And although we continue to grow, our small-town uniqueness remains the same. Community events, civic projects, and a pride in the quality of life connect us all.”


Located in southern Anderson County near Iva, Starr is a town of less than 200 residents.

But, according to the S.C. lPicture Project, the town once bustled with activity as a stop along the Charleston and Western Carolina Railway.

Originally called Twiggs, the community was established in the 1830s, the project said. The town was officially chartered in 1888 as Starr. The town’s namesake was railroad official Captain W.W. Starr.

The baseball team of Crescent High School, located in Starr, won the 2023 Region I-AAA Championship, and has earned numerous regional and district championships in recent years.

Starr, a South Carolina Heritage Corridor Community, is home to the Red Shutter Bed & Breakfast and The Gray House, a bed and breakfast, full-service restaurant, and an event venue. The Gray House is featured on Trip Advisor.

West Pelzer

This municipality, located in northeast Anderson County bordering Pelzer, was chartered in 1913 as the town of Frankville. It was named after the original town surveyor, John Franks. In 1918, Frankville was renamed West Pelzer, according to the historical account on the town’s website.

When Blake Sanders was elected West Pelzer mayor, the town of just over 1,000 residents had “zero” businesses on its Main Street, he said.

The town went through what they coined a “Rural Renewal Master Plan,” a five-year process to attract local, family-owned and -operated businesses that would invigorate the local economy.

“We spent the past five years being selective with what business types we wanted to attract and how they could complement our residences,” Sanders said.

That process just culminated with the addition of three new restaurants, two salon-type businesses, an antiques store, and a local tap room.

“With just with those businesses, we started to see our local economy grow, but what we found out is that we have a very walkable community,” he said. “We have two miles of sidewalk that connect our businesses together.”

Also with the business growth, there’s been the start of new residential development in West Pelzer. But whereas other communities perhaps have suburban sprawl, West Pelzer has about 100 homes built or under construction that are infill lots.

“We haven’t had to annex or do major subdivisions,” he said. “We’ve been able to fill our little town.”

A reason that West Pelzer attracted certain businesses is that it is “the front porch” to Clemson University.

About 10,000 vehicles a day typically travel on West Pelzer’s Main Street. But seven times a year, when Clemson has a home football game, the town’s traffic swells to 25,0000 cars a day.

“Once you get off the interstate in Fountain Inn, we’re the direct connection to Clemson,” Sanders said. “Every new student that comes in from Fountain Inn, south of Charleston, when they come to Clemson, they come through West Pelzer.”

The town is strategic in planning its events around the Clemson football games. For example, Its Vintage Market, Mile-Long Yard Sale, Dog Show, and Pumpkin Palooza (Fall Festival) are held when they know they’re going to have the most amount of traffic.

That’s because, Sanders said, “we want more and more people to see how exciting we are, stop at our new businesses, and be a part of what’s great in West Pelzer.”

Sanders himself has been a part of what’s great in Greenville and Pickens counties. A landscape architect, Sanders designed the landscape for the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville County and the Doodle Trail in Pickens County. He is also designing a much-anticipated trail system for Anderson County.

Sanders, owner of Studio Main LLC Landscape Architecture Firm, said the town has an abandoned short rail that they’re trying to do a sidewalk project next to “because we want trails here.”

The town of West Pelzer wants to grow, but “we don’t want to grow up sometimes,” Sanders said.

“We get to have really cool places to go, and we don’t want to be a Mauldin, a Simpsonville, or a Travelers Rest,” he said. “We want to keep our small-town charm and we’ve been able to do so with businesses and the people that we’re attracting.”


In 1842, a farmer named West Allen Williams discovered a mineral spring on his property.

According to the town’s website, the town grew as news of the medicinal spring spread. The town became a major resort in 1851 and was known as “Saratoga of the South,” the site said.

A hotel, the largest building in the state at that time, was built near the spring, the site said.

The 150-room hotel, which also featured bowling alleys and ballrooms was destroyed by fire in 1860. And the town, initially known as Mineral Springs, was named Williamston in 1852 in honor of West Allen Williams.

The town’s mineral spring exists in its Mineral Springs Park.

For the past 40-plus years, Williams has been honored with the Annual Spring Water Festival, in Mineral Springs Park. This year’s event will be held in August.

Powdersville (Unincorporated)

Powdersville is an unincorporated, census-designated place in the northernmost part of Anderson County. The community is situated between Easley and Greenville.

According to the Anderson County School District 1 website, Powdersville got its name in the early 1860s, during the Civil War.

“During this time, Powdersville was a secluded wooded area which proved to be strategically advantageous, as it kept General William Sherman from locating the powder magazine which supplied gun powder used by the Confederate Army. So evolved the name, Powdersville,” the website said.

Powdersville was a farming community until the fields began exploding with subdivisions and new homes. followed by bursts of new businesses along S.C. Highway 153.

For years, Powdersville has led the county in new home developments.

Its population was 7,618 in 2010, 9,216 in 2017, and 10,025 in the 2020 Census.

Once Powdersville hits 14,000 people, the 14-square-mile area will no longer be classified as rural, according to U.S. Census standards and the census definition of Powdersville borders, a 2019 Greenville News article said.