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Enjoy an Array of Arts and History in Seneca

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Seneca’s wealth of historic homes provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the lifestyle of the people who have lived in the community for the last two centuries.

While history may take top billing in this small Upstate town, Seneca also offers plenty for the arts-minded, from galleries showcasing the work of local artists to a lively community theater. Here are some of the offerings you’ll want to check out during your visit:

Lunney House Museum – Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the California-style bungalow, adjacent two-story carriage house and two-seater outhouse were built in 1909 in the distinctive Arts and Crafts architecture. Inside you’ll find a collection of Victorian furniture and historic memorabilia from the area. Be sure to check the museum’s calendar for educational programs and cultural events held throughout the year.

Arts Off the Alley – This artist cooperative offers locally hand-crafted art, paintings, mixed media, jewelry, wood carvings and more for sale, along with classes, workshops and events. On any given day, you may find an artist at work on a project or a class working on collage techniques or crochet.

Blue Ridge Arts Center – Housed in the city’s oldest church structure, the center features a permanent art collection and gallery showcasing the work of local artists. Classes in an array of media are offered throughout the year.

Bertha Lee Strickland Cultural Museum – Explore the history, culture and contributions of local African-Americans in this museum offering exhibits, events and narratives of people who have impacted generations.

Oconee Community Theatre – For more than 40 years, the community theater has presented plays and dramatic works of all kinds. The lineup of shows includes classics like “Hello, Dolly” and “Beauty and the Beast” along with “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” “1984” and "Titanic, The Musical.”

Duke Energy’s World of Energy – Located on Lake Keowee at the Oconee Nuclear Station, this education center offers self-guided exhibits and interactive games that help explain how electricity is made from water, coal, uranium, sun and wind. The facility also includes a short nature trail, butterfly garden and picnic area overlooking the lake. Admission is free.

Old Pickens Presbyterian Church in the Historic Old Pickens Court House District –  Built on a hill overlooking the Keowee River on the original Cherokee Nation War Path, Old Pickens Church was a focal point of the town of Pickens Court House, established in 1828 as the county seat. The church was constructed out of handmade brick made from clay taken from the riverbanks. The interior includes a gallery where slaves could worship with other town residents. The gate to the church and adjoining cemeteries is open every day; the church is open every second and fourth Sunday afternoons from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. April through October.

Historic Ballenger House – This red brick American four-square-style home was built in 1925 and donated to the Seneca Women’s Club to ensure members would always have a place to meet. Today, the club hosts a number of free community events, including teas, literary readings and quilt shows.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.