Polk County Historical Museum presents “Apples in Saluda, a Brief History”

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, April 4, 2024

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An upcoming presentation at the Polk County Historical Museum will dive into the rich history of Saluda’s earliest apple orchards. During the early 20th Century, Polk County became known as a premier location for growing some of the most flavorful fruit in the US.

Lee Atkins and his daughter, Robin Atkins Wierzbicki, grew up on the same apple orchard in Saluda, yet a generation apart. They will share their stories, one, a great storyteller with a wealth of local history to share and the other, an avid researcher. Both speakers share a love of history, a love of apples, and DNA.

Apples became an integral part of life in Saluda in the early 1900s and during that time even introduced  the first Apple Festival in North Carolina. Some of the first large orchards were considered a “Show Place” due to the natural beauty, bountiful fruit, and well managed properties. In April, hundreds would flock to Overbrook Orchard, the first commercial orchard planted in Saluda, just to see the beauty of the apple trees in full bloom. While many of the early orchards are now only a memory, their legacy will continue. 

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For those interested in learning about the history of apples in Polk County, the program will be Tuesday, April 9 at 2 p.m. inside the Polk County Historical Museum. The museum is located at 60 Walker Street in downtown Columbus. The program is free of charge and the public is encouraged to attend.


Submitted by John Vining