Shem Creek flows through the heart of Mount Pleasant
and is known for its many waterfront bars and restaurants
. It also offers a variety of leisure activities including fishing, boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
© 2006 Suzette Morganelli of Gilbert
Originally inhabited by Sewee Indians
, the creek's name is thought to derive from the Native American word "Shemee," which may have been a small band or tribe that settled on its banks. The creek begins near present-day Bowman Road, where several small tributaries meet to form its head. It continues to wind through Mount Pleasant's Old Village before eventually emptying into the Charleston
Shem Creek has a long history as a working creek, beginning in the 1740s when Peter Villepontoux operated a lime kiln on its banks. Several notable businessmen, including Andrew Hibben, also established successful ferries on the creek during this time. Although ferries have since given way to charter boats, Shem Creek remains one of the most popular channels in the area.
Several mills and factories were stationed on the creek during the 1800s, but commerce came to a halt during the Civil War
as the mills were either destroyed or abandoned. It wasn't until the turn of the century that the seafood industry began to take shape. By the mid-1940s, shrimping
had grown into one of the most important industries in the area and several seafood companies, including the Mount Pleasant Seafood Company, had already been established on Shem Creek.
Today Shem Creek is a favorite watering hole, where tourists and locals alike go to enjoy everything the Lowcountry has to offer.
SCIWAY thanks Suzette Morganelli
for this great picture taken in 2006.
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