Saluda County, South Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)



Saluda Indians / Saluda River


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

Click Here

1750s / Scots-Irish, Huguenots

Click Here

Click Here

Historical Post Offices

American Revolution

American Civil War

Significant Education Events

Alphabetical / Date Started

Click Here

Coming Later

Click Here

Airports in Saluda County

Maps of Saluda County

Books About Saluda County

Genealogy Sources

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

Click Here

A History of Saluda County

Whitehall - Saluda County, SC

Whitehall, believed to have been built c.1893 for Alvin Etheredge, is exemplary of the Classical Revival style. The frame building is a two-story rectangular block with additions attached to the west and south elevations. Both the façade (north) and east elevation are dominated by tetrastyle, two-story porticos with columns of the Corinthian order. The columns support a full entablature featuring an architrave with multiple fascias, a plain frieze, and a bracketed cornice with dentils and modillions. Above is a parapet with small paneled pedestals. Each elevation is set on brick piers which were later infilled with brick latticework.

Within the nominated acreage are eleven outbuildings, including a barn, dairy, washhouse, greenhouse, and a blacksmith/chemistry shop. Whitehall is also historically significant as the home of several individuals prominent in the history of the town and county of Saluda. Alvin Etheredge was a prominent businessman, farmer, and civic leader in the Saluda area. Operator of a lumber business, he also managed a cotton plantation which employed twenty tenant families. He was the primary force behind the formation of Saluda County in 1895.

After Etheredge’s death in 1920, Whitehall eventually passed to his son, Rodney Hammond Etheredge. Educated as a lawyer, R.H. Etheredge was also a surveyor and owner and operator of a brickmill, a lumberyard, several farms, a cotton gin and, later in his life, a dairy farm. He served three nonconsecutive terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Listed in the National Register August 21, 1980.

Saluda County was formed from the northern and eastern part of Edgefield County in the Constitutional Convention of September 14, 1895. The county was initially given the name, “Butler County,” but on Monday, the 16th, it was changed to “Saluda County.” The name is from the Saluda River, the name the Cherokee Indians gave the major river in the area. The name means a “river of corn.”

The Saluda Old Town Treaty was signed on July 2, 1755 by Royal Governor James Glen and the Cherokees. This treaty may be the most-important political event ever to occur in Saluda County, from a national standpoint. There is a tablet on the west side of the Court House about the treaty. Also, there is a beautiful mural depicting the Saluda Old Town Treaty on Church Street.

The Saluda area had been in the National picture long before the county was formed. It was the night of May 21, 1791, that President George Washington spent the night in a home near Ridge Spring. Two great heroes of the battle of the Alamo in Texas, William Barret Travis and James Butler Bonham, were from Saluda County. There is a monument on the Court House grounds in their memory.

Saluda County has a total land area of 288,877 acres, covering 451 square miles. It ranks 39th in size among the counties in South Carolina. Saluda County is conveniently located 43 miles from Columbia, 40 miles from Augusta, 76 miles from Greenville, 145 from Charleston. The town of Saluda sits squarely in the center of the county at the crossroads of South Carolina Highway 121 and U.S. Highways 178 and 378.

The town of Saluda is the county seat. There are two smaller towns located to the south, Ridge Spring and Ward, both of which are quaint villages. And, interestingly, a small portion of the town of Batesburg-Leesville which sits primarily in Lexington County, is also in Saluda County.

The legislative Act officially establishing Saluda County was approved on February 25, 1896.

Saluda County was named for the Saluda River, which forms one of its borders. The county was estabished in 1895 from part of Edgefield County, and the county seat is the town of Saluda. The Cherokee Indians lived in this area for many years. In 1755, they signed a treaty with the British at their settlement, known as Saluda Old Town. Scots-Irish and English settlers subsequently began moving into the area, while the Cherokees moved farther to the north. Two famous heroes of the Alamo, William Barrett Travis (1809-1836) and James Butler Bonham (1807-1836) were natives of what is now Saluda County.
Saluda County, formed in 1895 from Edgefield County, which in turn had been laid out from the Ninety-Six District, is situated northwest of the central part of the state, with an area of 435 square miles, about 278,400 acres. The name is from a tribe of Indians who lived on the Saluda River from 1695 to 1712. The county is in the Piedmont Plateau, except a few indentations from the Coastal Plain on the southeastern border.

The soil is mostly whitish or reddish clay, with some sand on the southern side, and is classified with the following percentages; Cecil, 74; Norfolk, three; Meadow, three; Orangeburg, three; Durham, 16.

The hills are low, gradually sloping, well rounded, fitted for the growing of crops, easily adapted to cultivation, and not subject to washing into gullies.

Big Saluda River skirts the northern edge, with the Little Saluda River emptying into it a few miles above the Lexington County line. Little Saluda is formed by a junction of Red Bank and Mine creeks at Saluda Court House, with Burnets, Richland, Big, Indian, and Clouds creeks joining at regular intervals. These streams with their branches give the county an excellent water supply, much undeveloped power, and fine bottom lands, little subject to overflow, which produce corn, oats, cane, and grasses without the aid of fertilizers.

The uplands are adapted to wheat growing and other grains, if put in early in the fall. The number of growing days is from 215 to 240. Severe cold between March 15 and November 10 is unusual.

The county is agricultural entirely, with almost no waste land. Corn, cotton, grain, watermelons, potatoes, strawberries, asparagus, cantaloupes, and all kinds of truck are grown with ease and profit with the minimum of fertilization. Fruit growing is successful and Saluda orchards have long been favorably known. The sandy foams, the chocolate, and clays give the farmer the right variety needed for the production of crops.

On the average 75 acre tract can be found an elevation suitable for a dwelling, and a variety of bottom and uplands for the production of any kind of crop.

Excellent gardens can be had the year around. The country is naturally adapted to cattle raising; with grasses growing wild, forage crops, legumes, and good winter and spring grazing of bermuda grass, rye, and clover, in abundance. For poultry it cannot be surpassed, and hatchery facilities are good.

The county has three accredited high schools. The population in 1920 was 22,088, all native born except 11, and was estimated at 22,738 in 1925. The railroad mileage is 25.

The highways are of the best type of topsoil.

The people are law-abiding, hard working, and support excellent schools and churches. The Broad River Power Company's lines furnish cheap light and power to the county seat and eastern sections of the county. There are fine forests of merchantable pine and hardwoods.

The county offers an inviting field for manufacturing enterprises - with water power and fuel - and also for small farmers with a moderate amount of capital, who aim to make a living out of the soil.

A county farm agent is employed.

Saluda, the county seat, has 1,203 inhabitants. Other towns are: Monetta (partly in Aiken County), 137; Ridge Spring, 597; Ward, 234.

With its attractive landscapes, it offers many sites for country homes with excellent water and health.

Immediately above, published in "South Carolina: A Handbook," prepared by The Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Industries and Clemson College, Columbia, South Carolina, 1927. In the Public Domain. [with minor edits]


© 2021 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved