Turtles on the town

Turtle 1: Start on Main Street at the Legacy Square fountain. Begin your search where the water spouts higher. See Colonel, Amelia, Abraham & Amber, each a Red-Eared Slider. We live in fresh water all around the state. Basking on logs is our well known trait.

Turtle 2: Turn right on Lewis Street by the side of the lot. Continue down the sidewalk to the historical marker spot. Search for the Snapping Turtle, Joab is my name. When looking for food all around the south, anything is fair game! The side steps of the Hagood-Mauldin House are my new home. Watch out for your fingers, I bite to the bone!

Turtle 3: Go back to the fountain and turn right down the street. I am the Bog Turtle, Brick, waiting to greet. I live in the summer wetlands of the upcountry eating bugs. In the winter I hibernate in the cool, squishy mud. Come to the Burning Brick if you’re looking. Both are welcoming places with fresh home cooking.

Turtle 4: Continue west to find the smallest turtle in the state. I’m Swimmy, the Musk Turtle, and tiny water creatures are my bait. I live in the water and need it to be clean, just like you! I swim in water and drink it, my prey lives there too. So please conserve your water when you brush your teeth or shower. Turn right on Ann Street, I’ll see you at the water tower.

Turtle 5: Back on Main Street, west you still must go. Come rest at our Amphitheater and like me, take it slow. I am the Mud Turtle, Ernest, who likes his water still and clean. In water throughout the state and the southeast I have been seen. I like to eat crunchy crayfish and other small bait. In the winter I dig in the cool earth to hibernate.

Turtle 6: Heading further west, to Florence Street you must go. The Chamber of Commerce welcomes you and gives out free info. I am the Diamondback Terrapin, Skyagunsta, it’s Cherokee. Also Andrew Pickens name, our hero who made this area free. I live in coastal salt marshes eating crabs and stuff like that. I’m protected because of loss of habitat.

Turtle 7: Careful now as you run to the church right across the street. Walk past the front to the patio, where the faithful Presbyterians meet. I’m Hollingsworth, the Gopher Tortoise, laying only 4 to 7 eggs. I dig long dens with my strong shovel-like legs. I hail from the dry sandy lower part of the state. I’m endangered, please protect me, so I can live to 108.

Turtle 8: Now head east into the next block, back towards town. Where I, the Chicken Turtle, Turbo, can be found. My home is the seasonal wetlands on the coastal plain. I like to eat crayfish and other invertebrates. Long ago people used to eat me for food, have a heart! So now it’s uncommon to find me except at friendly Superior Parts.

Turtle 9: Start into the next block but turn down an alley on your right. Around in back is Storage on Main, with big flowers in sight. Find a Hawksbill Sea Turtle called Hope near the main door. They are green due to the body fat that they store. Their fat is green from eating grasses, algae and more. They are endangered, so please don’t kill this herbivore.

Turtle 10: Go back up to Main Street and continue one more block. My historic home, now Coyote Coffee, is where you will stop. Come inside and find much more than coffee. Best of all, you will meet me, the Painted Turtle, Pokey. In clean ponds and grassy marshes I like to swim. The plants and bugs across the land keep me trim.

Turtle 11: Turn right down Pendleton Street to the museum, our old jail. Find me, Sequoyah, the Spotted Turtle, far down the nature trail. I will be in my natural habitat, a bog garden along the walk. I would speak in Cherokee if you could hear me talk. I swim to the bottom of the bog when I am sleepy. I am protected too, so please watch out for me.

Turtle 12: Go back to Main Street to the front of the Courthouse. Find the biggest turtle of them all weighing over 1000 pounds. I’m Henry, the Leatherback Sea Turtle, and I eat Cannonball jelly fish. Remember, I am also on the endangered species list. Females can lay a hundred eggs when they appear on shore. Then they return to the ocean to swim some more.

Turtle 13: I’m the last turtle, Sparky, and I live where people learn. Go back to the fountain, down Jewel Street, and take a left turn. I’m the Eastern Box Turtle and I have a unique trick. Into my shell, my head, feet, and tail, can all stick. I live on land and stay in my shell to keep cool. Find me and finish your Turtle Tour at Pickens Middle School.

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Touristy turtles on the town

Boggs: Hi, my name is J.E.Boggs! In 1892, I was elected President for the newly proposed Pickens Railroad. We all knew the importance of having a railroad connect Pickens and Easley and in 1898 it was completed. I am glad you are visiting the site of the Pickens Doodle railroad today! I was also a teacher in the educational system for Pickens. After the town outgrew the small schoolhouse behind C.L.Hollingsworth’s home (near the Presbyterian Church on West Main), a school opened in the McFall Building where South Carolina National Bank later stood (corner of Main and Hwy 178). Then the two-story Piedmont Institute opened in the block west of Garvin Street, on a four-acre lot given by Mrs. Naomi Clayton. I would like to suggest that you visit West Main Street where many Pickens businesses exist today. As you walk down the street, try to imagine where these schools used to be.

Mauldin: Hi, my name is Joab Mauldin! I was the first Sheriff of Pickens, from 1868 to 1872. My son later became a judge here in town, living at the historic Hagood-Mauldin house; my daughter-in-law, Miss Queen, was active at that home honoring military veterans. The house is still there at North Lewis Street. As the first sheriff, I worked in an old wooden stockade (originally on the corner of Cedar Rock St and Pendleton St.) that was moved here from Old Pickens. I would have enjoyed working in the new Gaol (jail) built in 1902, but Sheriff McDaniel was in office then. I would like to suggest that you go to visit that Gaol which is now the Pickens County Museum of Art and History, located at 307 Johnson Street. Go behind the museum as well and view the antique jail wagon that carried inmates to daily work locations.

Andrew: Hi, my name is Andrew Pickens! This town was named for me! I never lived here because I was born in 1739 and died in 1817, well before the town was established here in 1868. I did live nearby, though, and I am buried near Clemson. I was a famous Revolutionary War General serving 1775-1783. After the war I earned the name Skyagunsta (Wizard Owl) from the Native Americans because of the good relations I had with them in this area. I held a lot of important state offices, and one of my sons even became a politician serving as Governor of SC! I would like to suggest that you visit the Pickens County Courthouse. Behind the courthouse is a statue of me and you can read more about my life! There is also a Veterans Memorial Garden honoring Pickens war veterans from the Revolutionary War to present day.

Hagood: Hi, my name is James E. Hagood! I was active in “Old Pickens” in 1856 as Clerk of Court. I also built a gristmill to the north of present day Pickens. In 1868, I moved my house here to New Pickens, and I became an important lawyer in town. My wife, Esse, and I gave land for the first church in the area, Pickens Courthouse Methodist Episcopal Church South, renamed Grace Methodist Church in 1911. I can’t believe this church has been established here since 1868! I later gave land so the cemetery at this church could be moved, expanded, and non-denominational. Very old graves and newer ones can be found at Sunrise Cemetery, located on east Cedar Rock Street. Benjamin Hagood was my son and just one of my many relatives who stayed active in this area. I would like to suggest that you visit my home on North Lewis Street, the Hagood-Mauldin house, which today is a museum. I also want you to visit my mill about 3 miles north of town off Highway 178, found at the Hagood Mill Historic Site.

Elihu: Hi, my name is Elihu Griffin! I helped provide a relocation spot for the town of Old Pickens Courthouse. I sold 94 acres for only $270 to help the new town of Pickens get established right here. The site of the courthouse is on land I provided. I was a pioneer citizen and builder who wanted to help this new rural county seat be successful. After I died in 1874, my son, John, lived in my nearby house with my wife, Ann. John Calhoun Griffin was a local merchant so I would like to suggest that you head into town and visit the businesses on East Main Street today. Then turn right on Ann Street and visit the yellow Elihu Griffin house, which is on the National Historic Registry.

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