Pendleton: 225 and Alive!

Starting on New Year’s Day of this year, the town of Pendleton kicked off a year-long celebration of the town turning 225 years old. The official anniversary was in June, but the party continues all year long with 225 events.

When the village of Pendleton was established in 1790 in what was then Pendleton County, a temporary log courthouse was erected just north of where the present-day public square is situated. The permanent courthouse was completed around 1810, along with a jail and a library. Those establishments, along with the already existing Hopewell Presbyterian Church (known today as the Old Stone Church, a national historic building), a mercantile establishment, and a newspaper—Miller’s Weekly Register­­–provided the elements of a thriving early 19th-century town. 

In 1815, the Pendleton Farmers Society was founded, and that group celebrates its bicentennial this year along with the 225 and Alive events. A celebration of the bicentennial will be held on September 26, and in conjunction with it, a Farmers Hall exhibit will be on display at Hunter Store through October. The exhibit features the personal collection of 225 and Alive steering committee chair Carol Burdette and includes paintings, drawings, commemorative tiles and plates, and more. “If it has to do with Farmers Hall and I can afford it, I’ll buy it,” she says.

That exhibit follows one that ends on Friday, September 18th honoring the area’s textile history, with hands-on activities and historical artifacts of the textile industry.

An interactive map shows the locations from which 225th birthday cards have been received—many from SC and other U.S. locations. The cards that have traveled the farthest are from Hawaii and Turkey.

Some of the earlier 225 and Alive events included a Churches and Churchyards tour, a wine tasting event, a variety show, and, of course, a big birthday party with cake, ice cream, and beach music in June. At that celebration, various awards were given out—oldest resident, youngest resident, and Veterans Memorial Committee of Friends of the Park received the 225 Award for Newest Monument in town.

Other milestones being celebrated this year as part of 225 and Alive include the 10 year anniversary of the building of Barrett’s Place Playground. Community funded and built, the playground is a point of pride for the town. “It’s quite an accomplishment to raise that kind of money—$180,000—for a town our size,” says Burdette. And this year marks the 20th year of Pendleton High School’s partnership with its sister school, the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, Scotland, which will be commemorated at the State Sister Cities meeting later this week.


There are plenty more events coming up to finish out the year of celebration (for details be sure to follow the 225 and Alive Facebook page):

September 19 – Pendleton Celebrates Summer with classic car show, local arts & crafts, kids’ activities, DJ music from the 50s and 60s, and more

September 26—Farmers Society Bicentennial: A public ceremony will take place on the patio outside Farmers Hall at 4:00 p.m., and the event also includes a tour of the Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of South Carolina at 120 History Lane, Pendleton.

September 27—Doors Open Pendleton: Find out what’s behind the closed doors of some of the town’s most intriguing buildings, including St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Guard House, and more (noon to 4:00, downtown Queen Street)

October 11th—Barrett’s Place Playground 10th birthday celebration with a special program, birthday cake, ice cream, and fun (3:00–5:00 p.m., Veterans Park)

October 24th—Annual Pendleton Fall Festival with food, arts, music, a Cutest Baby Contest, and much more (10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Village Green)

November 22nd—Annual Thanksgiving service at Pendleton United Methodist Church, featuring a performance by a community choir

November 27th—Christmas tree lighting (6:00 p.m., Village Green)

December 10th—Unveiling of the Jane Edna Hunter documentary at Pendleton Playhouse

December 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th—Living history event at Ashtabula Plantation with actors in costume from the 1860s

December 13th—Annual Christmas Parade

December 31st—New Year’s Eve celebration: A Toast to the Future ($25 per person includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and champagne toast)

 Sharon Purvis is a freelance writer and editor who makes her home with her husband in Duncan, South Carolina. You can find more of her work at