Opening date planned for new Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site

A soft opening is planned later this month for the Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site of South Carolina.

PICKENS — Originally constructed in 1826 before being moved and rebuilt at its current site north of Pickens 170 years ago, Hagood Mill is a relic of days long past.

But a 2003 discovery at the site of the historic mill brought an even more distant past to life.

Working under the direction of South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology archaeologist Tommy Charles, a researcher discovered more than 30 Native American rock carvings dating back more than 1,000 years on a 30-foot-long rock near the mill.

Now the carvings — also known as petroglyphs — are housed in a new building which will finally open to the public for a soft opening later this month, when the mill site hosts its monthly third Saturday event.

Formerly known as the Rock Art Center, the Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site of South Carolina will be open on Sept. 19 as the mill hosts the South Carolina State Fiddling Championship. Plans are being made for an official dedication to feature speakers, donor recognition and the unveiling of plaques.

The building, which is accessible for the disabled and climate-controlled, includes an orientation lobby where visitors can find information from Charles’ book, “Discover South Carolina’s Rock Art,” displayed on the walls, as well as display cases with “portable petroglyphs” from the area and a video with the story of the carvings’ discovery and dig.

Visitors will move from the lobby into the darkened main viewing room, where they will be treated to a light show with audio narration from Charles describing specific petroglyphs. The program is designed for the enjoyment of all audiences — from small schoolchildren to academics, local community members and international tourists.

The site features 32 distinct carvings, with 18 representing people. The petroglyphs range in size from about 6 inches to more than a foot. South Carolina is home to more than 300 confirmed petroglyph sites, with the majority being found in Pickens, Oconee and Greenville counties, according to officials. Many of the Upstate carvings are at high elevations and are hard to reach for the general public, such as in the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges in northern Pickens County, according to S.C. Department of Natural Resources officials.

Following the soft opening, the petroglyph site will be open regularly to the public on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays each week from 10 a..m.-4 p.m. On the third Saturday of each month, there is a $5 parking fee at the mill, but admission to the petroglyph site and the mill is always free.

The Hagood Mill Historic Site and Folklife Center is located at 138 Hagood Mill Road in Pickens.

For more information, contact Pickens County tourism and marketing director Helen Hockwalt at (864) 898-5585 or