South Carolina – Lost Places

South Carolina SC History History of SC Lost Places South Carolina is home to an untold number of "lost places" – communities that were once active but have since become extinct. Of course the whole of South Carolina was once inhabited by Native Americans. While some of these tribes migrated from place to place, others built robust villages. SCIWAY publishes an extensive guide to these tribes, so click here to learn more about the history of Native Americans in South Carolina.

In this guide, we remember eight South Carolina communities that have been lost to time. In the first two cases, the communities failed to sustain themselves due to the hardships faced by early settlers. In most cases, however, the communities were forcibly displaced by the powers of eminent domain. While the facilities that replaced these communities serve our state and country, we feel that it is important to remember the people who lost their homes in the process.

You may also be interested in visiting, which relates the history of plantations in our state, most of which no longer exist.

Chronologically by date of destruction:

Colonial Dorchester – 1697

Located in what is now known as Dorchester County, Dorchester was founded in the late 1690s by a group of Congregationalist settlers from Massachusetts who formed a nearby meeting house. Located on the banks of the Ashley River, Dorchester flourished as a trading village and by the mid-1700s had become the third largest town in South Carolina. Today, Fort Dorchester is part of the Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site in Summerville.


For a little over a century – from 1821 until 1929 – the now-extinct town of Hamburg occupied a portion of present-day North Augusta, located between the 5th Street Bridge and 13th Street Bridge. Though once home to a thriving inland port – the largest in South Carolina – Hamburg has now vanished almost completely. In its latter years, following the Civil War, it was also the site of a successful freedmen's village. Sadly, it is remembered today primarily as the setting for the Hamburg Massacre, one of the bloodiest race riots in South Carolina's history. In this violent battle, at least six black men were murdered without cause, purely for the sake of "provok[ing] a row."

There are four remaining vestiges of this once-thriving Aiken County town. Please see the links below to learn about the history of Hamburg as well as its last four remaining landmarks:

Fort Jackson

Before Fort Jackson became an Initial Entry Training Center for the US Army, it was home to a community of people who were displaced by the federal government in order to make room for the military facility. Fort Jackson was established in 1917 to train soldiers for World War I.

Lake Murray – 1930

Lake Murray, named in honor of chief engineer William S. Murray, was completed in 1930 and is owned by SCE&G. It covers approximately 78 square miles of land and provides electricity for South Carolina's entire Midlands region. Originally inhabited by the Catawba and Cherokee Indians, the area that is now Lake Murray was ultimately settled by European immigrants, primarily of Dutch and German origin. In order to build Lake Murray, the Lexington Water Power Company (SCE&G's predecessor) relocated 5,000 citizens and removed three churches, six schools, and 2,000 graves.

More Lake Murray Resources

Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie – Santee Cooper Project – 1939

Thurmond Lake – 1946-1954

Savannah River Site – 1950

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