WALHALLA, S.C. (WSPA)- If you are heading to the mountains, you’re probably going through Walhalla, a community with German founders and a lot of history.
It’s the gateway to the mountains and a historic city with a charming downtown that’s surrounded by a beautiful landscape.
Catie Fischer, the Director of Main Street Walhalla, said “People come into Oconee County and visit Walhalla because of all the natural resources. We have our waterfalls, rivers and lakes.”
Those are the same natural resources that brought German immigrants from Charleston to what they called “Valhalla” in the late 1840s.
“They thought it was so beautiful and so much like their home,” according to Jennifer Moss, Assistant Curator of the Oconee History Museum. “They called it Valhalla because, in the Norse mythology, Valhalla is heaven and the place of gods.”
The founder John Wagener was the first mayor and before that was the mayor of Charleston.
His wish was to be buried in Walhalla which was granted, but later moved back to Charleston.
It wasn’t moved without paying tribute to the town he built.
There is a statue in Charleston’s Bethany Cemetery of Wagener and he is pointing in the direction of Walhalla.
Moss said, “When I went down to Charleston, I went to the cemetery and I did my compass work and in fact, he is pointing here to Walhalla.”
Oconee County and Walhalla have attracted tourists over the years for those natural resources but often times history and tourism blend.
Take the Stumphouse Tunnel for example which attracts thousands of visitors a year.
Fischer said, “You can literally walk through history when you go through that tunnel, then you have the beautiful Issaqueena Falls that are right there on the same property.”
Next time you are passing through the gateway to the mountains, stop and stay awhile.
Learn more about our special guest by clicking below:
- Oconee County Chamber of Commerce
- First Responder Friday: Walhalla FD, PD
- Gather Uptown Walhalla
- Hotel Alum
- Stumphouse Mountain Park
- Sunni Ann Mercantile Co.
- Thomas and Crain Real Estate
- Visit Oconee County
- Walhalla Performing Arts Center