Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Table Rock State Park

Last week, we went to Table Rock State Park and enjoyed hiking on the trails. The weather was beautiful, and it was a great day to be outside. I was very happy to see so many families in the park and on the trails.

I thought I would share some interesting information about the park with you.

The park is located on Highway 11 in Pickens, South Carolina. It has two lakes, picnic shelters, a campground and cabins, a meeting house, and a historic, renovated lodge. The park consists of 3083 acres at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pinnacle Mountain, the tallest mountain in the state is located in this park.

Years ago, the lodge was well known for its Sunday brunches and I remember going there with my family. The lodge was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and has a kitchen and 72 seat dining room.

Before 1785, the land used to be part of the Lower Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee called this area “the Great Blue Hills of God.”  The mountain got its name from a legend that the flat-topped mountain was the Great Spirit’s dinner table. After the Hopewell Treaty, Europeans moved into Pumpkintown (known for the unusually large pumpkins there).  A lodge was open up by William Sutherland and James Keith. In 1845,  they built the Table Rock Hotel that had twenty rooms. The hotel did well after the Civil War.  After Reconstruction, Stephen Keith reopened the Table Rock Hotel. Keith’s family built a new hotel in a different place in 1899 but abandoned it by 1912.

2860 acres of the land was donated to South Carolina by Pickens County and the city of Greenville in 1935. In 1936, A concrete dam and spillway were constructed to create the 23-acre Pinnacle Lake. Miles of trails, roads, a bathhouse, concessions building, fish pools, cabins, picnic shelters, and staff housing were also built. A lodge was also built made of logs. The park opened on April 4, 1938.

In 1989 the park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It is also considered a South Carolina Heritage Trust Site.

Original photo by Pat Hensley

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