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Pumpkintown in Pickens County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Pumpkintown

 
 
Pumpkintown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 23, 2008
1. Pumpkintown Marker
Inscription.
This community, settled before 1800, was named "Pumpkin Town" by an anonymous early traveler awed by the sight of the Oolenoy Valley covered with huge yellow pumpkins. It and Pickens Court House (Old Pickens) were the only two towns in present-day Pickens County in 1791. The same tourists who visited nearby Table Rock Mtn. often stayed at William Sutherland's inn at Pumpkintown.
 
Erected 2000 by Pumpkintown Heritage Corridor Group. (Marker Number 39-8.)
 
Location. 35° 0.143′ N, 82° 39.083′ W. Marker is in Pumpkintown, South Carolina, in Pickens County. Marker is on Table Rock Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located about 100 yards to the east of the intersection SC Highway 8 and Table Rock Road in northern Pickens County. Marker is in this post office area: Pickens SC 29671, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cornelius Keith - 1715-1808 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Cornelius Keith (approx. 0.8 miles away); Oolenoy Baptist Church (approx. 0.8 miles away); Granite and Gravity (approx. 2.7 miles away); A CCC Classic
Historical Map of the Pumpkintown Region image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
2. Historical Map of the Pumpkintown Region
(approx. 3 miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 3 miles away); Beliefs Set in Stone (approx. 3.2 miles away); Parkitecture (approx. 3.3 miles away); Table Rock State Park (approx. 3.4 miles away); a different marker also named The Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 3.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pumpkintown.
 
Also see . . .
1. Welcome to Pumpkintown, SC. Pumpkintown is located in northeastern Pickens County, South Carolina. (Submitted on September 23, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. History of Pumpkintown & Oolenoy. History of the Pumpkintown & Oolenoy community in Pickens County, South Carolina as well as lore about pioneer and rural Southern lifestyles. (Submitted on September 23, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Pumpkintown Mountain Community. Pumpkintown Mountain is the creation of the Aartun family, reknowned for their old-world craftsmanship. (Submitted on September 23, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. Pumpkintown, South Carolina.
Pumpkintown Intersection image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 23, 2008
3. Pumpkintown Intersection
In addition to the blinking light, Pumpkintown includes a general store and the Sutherland House (the old town inn).
Pumpkintown is an unincorporated community in Pickens County, South Carolina, United States on State Highway 8 northwest of Greenville. (Submitted on July 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. 30th Annual Pumpkin Festival, October 11, 2008
Every year, there are those events that I plan on attending. Despite my best intentions, however, I often find a reason not to attend. Something unexpected came up or my interest in the event is now gone. This year was different. Several months ago, I set out to attend 2008's Pumpkin Festival in the northern crossroads region of Pickens County known as Pumpkintown.

This year marked the 30th Anniversary of the festival and that made it even more important event. I arrived at the intersection of South Carolina Highways 8 (Pumpkintown Highway) and 288 (Table Rock Road) for the parade shortly after 9 am. There was a small crowd gathered in front of the Pumpkintown General Store. Most children were wearing something orange and held onto bags ready to fill with the candy tossed from the passing cars. The parade was varied in content: antique cars, horse riders, ATV riders, local politicians running for office, a dance troupe, Confederate reenactors, and comedy elements
SC Highway 8 from the Pumpkintown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 23, 2008
4. SC Highway 8 from the Pumpkintown Marker
(the Hill-billy Shriners).

Parking for the festival is an exercise in patience. The trick is to drive as close as you can get and then pull off the road and park. I parked at the intersection of Highways 8 and 135. After an easy walk southeast along 135, I rounded the top of a hill and saw the community center. I had arrived. And for the next two hours, I ate incredible food, listened to wonderful music, and saw some of the best in homespun crafts and homemade foods.

The center piece of the festival is the Oolenoy Community Center. For those who are not familiar with the geography of northern Pickens County, Pumpkintown sits in the middle of the Oolenoy Valley, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The valley’s name came from an Indian chief who befriended the original settler in the area. Near the community center sits Oolenoy Baptist Church, one of the oldest churches in Pickens County and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery contains a number of grave sites made of stacked stone walls covered by a single slab. These are the graves of Scottish chieftains who settled in the region. The cemetery also contains examples of slab-and-slat design markers.

Pumpkintown is something of an anomaly. At one time, it and Pickens Court House were the only two towns in Pickens County. Now, only Pickens remains so designated. The oldest
Region Around Pumpkintown image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, October 11, 2008
5. Region Around Pumpkintown
buildings in the community are the general store, the community center, and the Pumpkintown Inn. There is no town to speak of, just a region that is famous for the second Saturday in October when thousands descend on the crossroads. And the name came from a traveler who remarked on the number of yellow pumpkins he saw along the valley walls.

Surrounding the community center were nearly 150 booths. Crafts of all kinds from kitchen items to decorations to furniture were on sale. The main rule for inclusion in the festival is that all your items for sale must be homemade…no mass produced items allowed. And the food. You've never seen pumpkin put into so many things that tasted so good. And let me tell you…I ate more in two hours than I ate all day Friday (or Sunday).

And the music. Bluegrass and country…old school country. Banjos, base, and quartets were heard before I even saw the festival. There was toe stamping in the audience and a few clapper too. Chairs were provided but many people also brought their own, making the hill adjacent to the center feel comfortable and the show more enjoyable.

If it’s your first time to the festival, I suggest that you “tour” the community center. On one side is an all day breakfast, consisting of mostly grits and biscuits (sausage, chicken, and ham). Hot coffee is ready with your choice of sweetener and you
Ooleney Community Center image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, October 11, 2008
6. Ooleney Community Center
The site of the annual Pumpkin Festival. This year's was held on October 11 and was the 30th annual festival. Conservative estimates put this year's crowd size for the all-day festival at 30,000.
can eat your breakfast inside if you wish. I toured and ate. Along the walls of the center are memorials to the residents of Pumpkintown. Memorials and displays to veterans and others that are important to the community. On display was a collection of festival brochures going back to the original one in 1978. As you exit the center, be sure to sign the guest book. And take a look at what states people who signed before you come from.

With breakfast eaten (and I should say that the chicken biscuit was as near perfection as any I've ever eaten), I ventured outside to see the vendors. From purses to toys, from yard games to yard furniture, you are not without an abundance to view and purchase. I concentrated on food items, purchasing four jars of apple butter and four jars of pumpkin butter. My recommendation is that you buy from different vendors. Since everything is homemade, experiment and try butters, jams, and jellies from different people. Different tastes are ready with each jar you open. And don't be afraid to try samples.

But breakfast was not the only meal being served. Outside there were cakes, pies (yes, pumpkin), pulled pork sandwiches, funnel cakes, polish sausages, and the list goes on and on. Each food vendor sponsors a charity. So, again, diversify your spending and help the most. I left after a couple of hours. This first trip to the festival was
Pumpkins - Fruits of the Valley image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, October 11, 2008
7. Pumpkins - Fruits of the Valley
more fact-finding than fun. But make no mistake...in the words of MacArthur, "I shall return."
    — Submitted October 24, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

 
Categories. Notable PlacesSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 23, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,478 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 23, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   2. submitted on July 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   3. submitted on September 23, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   4. submitted on July 6, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   5, 6, 7. submitted on October 21, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
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