Seneca | South Carolina Public Radio


“S” is for Seneca [Oconee County; population 7,652]. Founded in 1873, as Seneca City, the town took its name from an earlier Indian village and the nearby Seneca River. As was the case with several other upcountry towns, the arrival of the Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railroad was responsible for Seneca’s establishment. In 1874, the town was chartered by the General Assembly. Most trains stopped at Seneca, and it quickly became a commercial center, especially for marketing the area’s cotton. The economy was based on agriculture until cotton mills appeared at nearby villages, and they drew their workers from the surrounding countryside. The Keowee Hotel had a fine reputation for food and hospitality among railroad passengers. From 1889 to 1939, Seneca was the site of the Seneca Institute, a well-known African American college.