South Carolina Picture Project

Georgetown – Georgetown, South Carolina

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Both Georgetown and Georgetown County were named for Prince George, who later became King George II of England. Colonial planters and their slaves began settling the area in the early 1700s, focusing on the crops of indigo, and later, rice, cotton, and lumber.

Georgetown's Historic Front Street

SCIWAY, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The city started to take shape in 1721 when a petition to establish Prince George Winyah Parish was granted. The parish was based at the Prince George Winyah Church along the Black River, just north of modern-day Georgetown. In 1734, the parish split and the Prince Frederick Parish was created, taking over the initial position on the Black River. As a result, Prince George Parish relocated to the Georgetown’s current location along the Sampit River.

Georgetown Courthouse

Bill Segars of Hartsville, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Shortly before the relocation, in 1729, Georgetown’s roads and street names were laid out by Elisha Screven, who is considered the town’s founder. In Screven’s initial plan, areas were reserved for Anglican, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches. The four-by-eight block grid is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is flanked by Wood Street, Church Street, Meeting Street, and Front Street.

Paige Sawyer of Georgetown, 2010 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In 1765, Georgetown was decreed a “pretty little Town” by a traveling Englishman, though in fact the city sits on two other rivers as well – the Waccamaw and PeeDee. (In addition, the Black River and the North and South Santee flow into the surrounding county.)

When the American Revolution began in 1775, it all but stopped the indigo trade out of Georgetown, which primarily exported to England. Luckily for Georgetown, the transition from indigo to rice was an easy one, as the field structures require many of the same types of water distribution. Merchants and plantation owners quickly became rich on “Carolina Gold,” the nickname for rice at the time.

The Civil War and the end of slavery brought a crushing blow to rice production in Georgetown. Competition had already begun in non-slavery-based economies like Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and California. These western states benefited from modern harvesting equipment, but coastal South Carolina’s wet, muddy soil couldn’t support the heavy machines. In the face of these obstacles, rice could no longer sustain Georgetown, and the area harvested its last commercial rice crop in 1919.

Aided in no small part by the rivers that surround it and flow into the Atlantic Ocean, Georgetown was able to rebound by attracting new industries. Timber, paper, and steel industries flourished for much of the twentieth century.

Georgetown – Add Info and More Photos

The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Georgetown, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

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The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!

2 Comments about Georgetown

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
November 7th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Hello! While SCIWAY is not affiliated with the treasured landmarks we research and feature, we are happy to give you the link to the Historic Georgetown website: We also recommend the SC Maritime Museum in Georgetown. Whatever you do during your visit, you are sure to have a memorable time in this gem of a city!

Robert St.Onge says:
November 7th, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Good day. My wife and I will be visiting your quaint town in March of 2015. Do you have any suggestions on what to visit at that time?

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