An Upcountry General Store
Located in the center of Historic Pendleton (1790), the building now housing the Pendleton District Commission was constructed in 1850 as a general store for Jesse Lewis. The business first came into the Hunter family in 1870 when it became "Hunter and Long." Partner James Hunter bought full control of the business which passed through several generations of Hunter ownership, becoming known as simply "Hunter's Store."
Everything from A to Z — apples to zinnia seeds — could be purchased as Hunter's Store. "Dry Goods" such as shoes and clothing were sold alongside local produce such as fresh eggs, other foodstuff like flour and coffee, as well as farm tools and chicken feed. "One-Stop Shopping" is not a recent invention!
In 1929 a new building was constructed next door and opened that year as the new Hunter's Store. The 1850 building was used for storage and workspace until the store ceased operation in 1962.
In 1968 the Tri-County Pendleton District Commission bought the old general store and has used it since then as the Commission's headquarters, including a Local and Family History archives. The Commission installed the first plumbing and electricity in this building. Otherwise, few changes have been made to the structure which retains its original exterior appearance as well as the interior's wide board flooring and even the neat hooks in the high ceiling.
Hunter's Store was a landmark business in Pendleton and continues to be "the place to go" today.
The Resident Ghost
For years, Commission staff members heard strange footsteps and noises from the second floor. The Hunter descendants confirmed that the building was indeed haunted. The story goes that in the 1890s the present-day library room was used as a caretaker's apartment. A local fellow who had imbibed a little too much liquid refreshment fall off his horse into nearby Eighteen Mile Creek and was "fished out" and put to bed in the caretaker's room. Left overnight in his wet clothes and with no heat, he was found dead the next morning after a sudden cold snap lowered the spring temperature below freezing. Apparently he still visits the site of his demise, in the process alarming staff members with loud noises and even an occasional appearance!
In the fall of 1970, the entire town of Pendleton plus a small area extending into Pickens County was named to the National Register of Historic Places. Its 6,316 acres make it one of the largest historic districts in the nation. Pendleton is fortunate to have more than forty individually recognized historic structures and sites within its boundaries, most dating before 1865. It is a popular destination for tourists looking for authentic heritage attractions such as house museums, walking tours of the residential section, shopping for antiques, local hand-made craft items, the annual festival and other special events as well as enjoying a variety of popular restaurants, bakery and local Bed & Breakfast lodging.