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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Preserve America Community:
Anderson, South Carolina

The City of Anderson, with a population of 25,514, is the Anderson County seat. In the mid-18th century, Revolutionary War hero General Robert Anderson and General Andrew Pickens surveyed the land in the area. Cherokees, who lived in the area until 1777, ceded the land to the colony by treaty.

In 1826 the area, known as the Pendleton District, was divided into two districts: Anderson and Pickens. Settled by pioneering small farmers of Scots-Irish and English descent, the area's agrarian economy did not include slaves. Anderson saw a manufacturing boom in the 19th century and the city's nickname, "The Electric City," comes from the fact that it was the first city in the South with unlimited electricity due to the first long-distance transmission of hydroelectric power. The first cotton gin in the world to be operated by electricity was in Anderson County in 1897.

Anderson's "Fish out of Water, Hooked on the Arts" project has helped bring together the community, revitalize historic resources, increase tourism, and bring more development to downtown. In partnership with the city, Anderson artists decorated six-foot bass fish replicas to raise funds for renovating the Arts Center Warehouse, an important structure in the downtown National Register Historic District.

In addition to classrooms, artists' studios, and galleries, the warehouse will also provide space for a visitors' center. The large mouth bass design was chosen because it ties in with Latke Hartwell, a local tourism amenity. The fish were displayed throughout the community, and a weekly trolley tour was offered.

A second interesting effort featuring local history is called "Wednesdays with Fred and Ed" at the Anderson County Museum. Twice a month, the public is invited to share memories and ask questions about the history of Anderson County. Everyone is encouraged to bring photos, artifacts, and stories. Topics have included textile league sports and the experiences of those who have served in the military from Anderson County. Museum staff accept donations of artifacts and photographs and record oral histories.

The City of Anderson has both locally and nationally designated historic districts, and offers a self-guided walking tour of the Boulevard Historic District. The city is a Certified Local Government as well as a Main Street Community. It is also part of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor, designed to promote economic development through regional heritage tourism.

For more information

Historic District E-Newsletter/materials for citizens living in historic districts: www.cityofandersonsc.com/boards_and_commissions/

South Carolina National Heritage Corridor: www.sc-heritagecorridor.org

Updated March 16, 2009

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