Russell Farm Project

The Russell Farm Project

“Reclaiming the Farm”


In Fall 2014, the Agricultural Museum of South Carolina began a partnership with Oconee Soil and Water Conservation District on a very exciting project. For the next year at least, we will be providing assistance in the vegetation management of the historic Russell Farm property, a farm of national importance set on the banks of the Chattooga River in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Oconee County. This farm was an important stagecoach stop located halfway between the hotels of Walhalla, SC, and Highlands, NC. Many travelers rested at the Russell House, from workers and salesmen to the President of the United States (Woodrow Wilson).

The farm operated for 100 years, from its founding in 1867, to when it became a national site on the Sumter National Forest in the 1960’s. During that time, farm founder William Ganaway Russell founded a school for Mountain Rest area children, farmed the bottomlands of the Chattooga, and provided a stop for weary travellers, sometimes to the tune of 80 at a time! His son and daughter in law continued the tradition, until the property was sold to the National Forest Service. Although the house burned in 1988, many of the original outbuildings remain, including a barn made of hand-hewn logs, a wonderfully preserved corncrib along the old stagecoach roadbed, and a springhouse situated over one of the natural springs on site.

The Agricultural Museum of South Carolina is proud to be a partner in this endeavor, and will be working to promote the project and secure volunteers to keep the site cleared. Currently, the buildings are overrun with brush and small trees, and we are working to clear the barnyard so visitors can enjoy the structures that perfectly represent South Carolina’s proud Appalachian and agricultural heritage.

If you would like more information on this project or to donate or volunteer, please contact Les McCall at 864.646.7271 or

Historic Photos of the Farm


Initial Clearing-September 2014-Below

Second Clearing-September 2014- Below