South Carolina Picture Project

Hagood Mill – Pickens, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Pickens County Photos  |  Hagood Mill

Hagood Mill, managed by the Pickens County Cultural Commission, is an 1845 gristmill and one of the Upstate’s historical and cultural treasures. The site was established prior to 1793 by Bailey Anderson. The creek that powered Anderson’s mill was known as Anderson Mill Creek. William Jennings purchased the mill and surrounding property in 1793 and operated it for 10 years. When Jennings died in 1803, his widow and their son, John, continued running the mill.

Hagood Mill

Alex Grichenko of Charlotte, NC © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Mrs. Jennings eventually remarried Joshua Smith in the early 1820s, who tried to sell the property. The sale was contested by John Jennings, who brought a lawsuit against his stepfather. Eventually, the mill and property were conveyed to Benjamin Hagood around 1825, and the creek powering the mill became known as Hagood Branch or Hagood Creek. The property was transferred to Benjamin’s son, James Hagood, in 1845, who completely rebuilt the mill of hand-hewn logs on a fieldstone foundation.

Hagood Mill in Pickens

Jim Jenkins of Hull, GA, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Hagood family continued operating the mill for more than 100 years, producing grits, cornmeal, flour, and animal feed. The mill’s waterwheel, which stands 20 feet tall and four feet wide, is among the largest in the state, if not the largest. The mill ceased production in 1966, and the property was donated to Pickens County Museum Commission in 1971. Restoration of the mill began shorty afterwards, and it was operating again by 1996. The waterwheel, which is deteriorating, is due to be replaced in the spring of 2016.

Hagood Mill in South Carolina

Jim Jenkins of Hull, GA, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The restoration of the mill site included developing the property as a living folklife museum. Mill stones not just from Hagood Mill but other nearby gristmills were collected and displayed on the grounds, as seen below. Following the revival of the mill, two historic cabins were relocated to the property and restored, allowing visitors to experience nineteenth century rural Upstate dwellings.

Hagood Mill Stones

Steven Faucette of Williamston, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The older of the two cabin is called the Murphree-Hollingsworth Cabin. It was built along the Twelve Mile River in Pickens around 1791 for the Reverend William Murphree, pastor of Secona Baptist Church in Pickens. A series of owners followed over the subsequent decades, with Columbus Lafayette Hollingsworth purchasing the cabin and property in 1868. The Hollingsworth family lived in the cabin as they built a larger family estate called Twelve Mile, which burned in 1965. Eventually Hollingsworth descendants donated the cabin to the Pickens County Museum, which relocated it to the Hagood Mill site and restored it.

Hagood Mill Cabins

Jim Jenkins of Hull, GA, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The “newer” cabin was built by Benjamin Hagood for his family some time after he purchased the property in 1825. It originally stood about a half mile from where it now rests and was moved once prior to being relocated to its present spot. An unusual interior room leads historians to believe that it was built as a store or trading post with a safe place to store inventory. It is known that Hagood did operate a store at his mill complex, which was a popular community gathering spot.

Hagood Mill in Pickens, SC

Jim Jenkins of Hull, GA, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1960 the cabin was moved from its original location to the rear of property owned by Harold Davis. Davis’s son, Billy, had offered the cabin’s owner, W.E. Findley, $60 if he could disassemble the structure and rebuild it at his home. The offer was accepted, and the Davises rebuilt the historic cabin, where it stood until 2001. When the Davis property was sold in 2001, the log structure was purchased at auction by Dr.Larry Brotherton of nearby Easley. After briefly using the cabin for storing timber, in 2003 he donated it to the Hagood Mill Historic Site to be restored.

Hagood Mill Cotton Gin

Jim Jenkins of Hull, GA, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Hagood Mill Historic Site continues adding relevant exhibits to the site, creating a popular historic attraction in this rustic corner of the Upstate. A reproduction blacksmith shop and cotton gin were erected on the grounds, seen above, replicating the vibrancy of a rural nineteenth century mill village. Interpreters are on hand to demonstrate not just milling – the ground goods are also for sale – but also other artisan trades and crafts practiced at the time, such as blacksmithing and quilting.

Hagood Mill Quilter

Steven Faucette of Williamston, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The mill is open to visitors from Wednesday through Saturday for tours and demonstrations, but the site’s biggest draw is its Saturday events. On those days, up to 2,000 visitors may descend upon the grounds for a day of music and folk art. The festival-like events also draw many musicians, from traditional string bands to blues to gospel. Noted pickers such as Nick Hallman – pictured below – regularly entertain people with their traditional bluegrass sound.

Hagood Mill Fiddler

Steven Faucette of Williamston, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Another interesting feature of the Hagood Mill Historic Site is the soapstone boulder sitting on the grounds, seen below. On the ancient rock are two bowls, carved by Native Americans 5,000 years ago. They were crudely shaped with flint chisels and broken off before being shaped. The boulder was brought to the area in the 1950s by Harold David.

Hagood Mill Soapstone Boulder

Jim Jenkins of Hull, GA, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent


The newest addition to the Hagood Mill Historic Site is a collection of petroglyphs, or Native American rock carvings, found on the site in 2003 and thought to be 1,000 year old. They were discovered by Dennis Chastain and Mike Bramlett, locals who were searching for such artifacts and struck historic gold. The first finding was a 30-foot-rock with a carving of a human figure, the first rock carving depicting a human figure discovered in South Carolina.

Hagood Mill Rock Carvings

Jim Jenkins of Hull, GA, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Twelve years after the discovery of that petroglyph and 31 others, the rocks are finally on display within a special building designed for viewing the ancient carvings. TThe building rests on the location where the petroglyphs were found. Features of the building include special lighting which helps visitors view the hard-to-see carvings and an audio program that explains the petroglyphs and their designs. Of the 32 petroglpyhs on display, 17 depict human forms, including the “Refrigerator Man,” a stick figure with a rectangular body nicknamed due to its shape. A replica of Refrigerator Man can be seen on the building in the above photo.

Hagood Mill is listed in the National Register:

Hagood Mill is a good example of the simple, functional building style employed by South Carolina upcountry pioneers in the first half of the nineteenth century. The gristmill and wooden water wheel remain as originally constructed with no alterations or additions and is one of the few such mills still in existence in South Carolina. Built in ca. 1826, the mill is an unpainted, two-story clapboard building mounted on a fieldstone foundation. Early construction methods are evidenced by hand hewn logs notched and pegged together to form the framework. Hagood Mill was built by James E. Hagood who served as clerk of court for Pickens District for many years. The mill was once part of an early commercial complex including the Hagood Store which no longer exists. Both mill and store were gathering places for residents of the surrounding agricultural area who came here frequently to have grain ground into flour and grist and to purchase supplies.

Reflections on Hagood Mill

Denise Campbell writes: “A Saturday spent with church friends led us to the Historic Hagood Mill. The mill was running and many people were there enjoying the day. Being at the mill took us back into a time period we knew nothing of but thoroughly enjoyed and respected.”

Add your own reflections here.

Hagood Mill Info

Address: 640 Hagood Mill Road, SC 29671
GPS Coordinates: 34.926486,-82.721737

Hagood Mill Map

Hagood Mill – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Hagood Mill, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

Please Comment Below

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5 Comments about Hagood Mill

T.Catani-HaynesNo Gravatar says:
December 16th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I really love this place, but kinda of fear that maybe TOO much may be added to it. It would be a shame to turn it into another “Dollywood” just to make a few bucks. We live out in the countryside and must pass it every time we go to and from town. It always looked so pristine; much like driving through a long ago place in time. We hate to see that change. Seems like that amphitheater in town could do the job of providing a place to entertain tourists. With all this “development” comes more cars, more traffic, more noise, etc. I dread having to get to town (or anywhere else) when the mill has some big (and likely more frequent), music event going on. I guess we’ll just have to go well out of our way to avoid all the frenzy and human congestion, now… Oh, well… I guess big city tourist commercialism has found Pickens at last… So sad… Gonna really miss that beautiful, quiet, historic country road.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
August 15th, 2011 at 9:48 am

Hi Deb! You can order Hagood Mill grits from the following website:

DebNo Gravatar says:
August 14th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

We visited the Hagood Mill a couple of years ago. My great grandfather use to work at the mill. While there we bought some of the wonderful tasty grits. We would like to have get some more and wondered if we could order on line somewhere? We live in Colorado and can’t get back this year. Thank you.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
February 14th, 2011 at 9:33 am

Hi Danny! The mill currently opens each weekend to grind grain into grits, corn meal and flour. On many weekends, visitors can visit and learn about traditional arts and folk life from over 20 demonstrators of such crafts as milling, blacksmithing, quilting and the like. You can call the mill at 864-898-2936 to find out more! Hope this helps – SCIWAY

Danny CarnesNo Gravatar says:
February 13th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I’m an Upstate artist & photographer. I wanted to come by an take some pictures of Hagood Mill, and was wondering if the mill still stands and is open to the public

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