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Lake Keowee Land

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Published date:

October 24, 2014

Last updated date:

October 24, 2014

By Manny Manriquez

Photo Lake Keowee in Upcountry South Carolina began life in 1970 as a power utility project of Duke Energy which flooded the Keowee River and inundating the one-time Cherokee Village of Keowee Town. It was the Cherokees who named their homeland Keowee as the "place of the mulberries." The new Lake Keowee filled the valley for 23 miles to an average depth of 54 feet and created a shoreline of  over 300 miles. At its widest the lake stretches three miles north to south. Fishermen, boaters and kayakers were immediately attracted to the waters that were touted as exceptionally clean and pure as they flowed down from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Developers too were drawn to the Lake Keowee shores and today 110 communities with 10,000 buildable lots have been tucked into the secluded folds and mountaintops surrounding South Carolina Highway 11, the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway. The residential communities are a mix of permanent residents and vacation homes. Several well-known golf course designers including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio and Gary Player have lent their names to golf complexes around Lake Keowee. Other developments offer water-based recreation with beaches and boat docks. Trout and three types of bass ply the Keowee waters to keep anglers busy. Plenty of additional outdoors-based recreation awaits in the half million acres of the Nantahala National Forest that lies on the northern doorstep of Lake Keowee. Commercial services around the lake are limited but the towns of Seneca, Clemson and Pickens are all within a twenty-minute drive. Clemson University affords Lake Keowee residents the cultural amenities typically enjoyed by those in less rural surroundings. The population swells on autumn Saturdays when the Tigers play their home football games in storied Memorial Stadium, known to tremulous opponents as Death Valley. The neighboring town of Pendleton was designated as one of the nation’s first and largest historic districts in 1970. Carolina is barbecue country and The Smokin' Pig is the place in Pendleton to indulge in brisket, pork and chicken bathed in South Carolina gold mustard sauce. The drive back to Lake Keowee is short enough the smoked meats will still be warm for eating on the back deck.

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