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Lake City – Lake City, South Carolina


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The Pee Dee region of South Carolina is known for its agriculture, and Lake City is a commanding example of why. A leading producer of tobacco, strawberries, and green beans in the early twentieth century – in fact, Lake City’s Bean Market was once held the largest green bean auction in the world – the farming community now boasts other cash crops including soy beans and canola.

Lake City Mural

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Though it was settled around 1784, the town was founded in the mid-eighteenth century as McCrea’s Crossroads; in 1825 it became Graham’s Crossroads because of its convenient location at two major intersecting roads on land owned by Aaron Graham. One of these roads led from Kingstree to Cheraw, while the other stretched from Camden to Georgetown.

Lake City Marker

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The town was officially chartered as Graham in 1874. However, the post office serving the area was called Lynches Lake, but because there was already another post office in the state by the name (Lynches Lake), the name of both the post office and the town were changed to Lake City in 1883 to avoid confusion.

Lake City Marker Back

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Northeastern Railroad built a line through the town in 1856. The addition of the railroad added to the area’s prosperity, as produce could easily be transported by train. Later, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad operated here, its depot built in 1913; the tracks are now used by CSX Railroad. The former depot now houses the city’s Chamber of Commerce, and a restaurant operates from an addition behind the original depot. Below, a photo from 1924 shows a car adorned in tobacco leaves ready for a local parade in celebration of the region’s agriculture-based economy.

Lake City Historic

Wilson McElveen of Columbia, 1924 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The city is home to some of the state’s most illustrious figures, including Dr. Ronald McNair, one of the astronauts killed in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger, and businesswoman Darla Moore, whose gifts to the University of South Carolina and Clemson University have resulted in USC’s Moore School of Business and the Dr. Ronald McNair Aerospace Center as well as Clemson’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education, named for her father.

Lake City Town Clock

Linda Brown of Kingstree, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Moore was also instrumental in establishing ArtFields, an annual nine-day art festival and competition held in Lake City. ArtFields hosted its inaugural celebration in 2013, the same year the town’s Smithsonian-quality art gallery, the Jones-Carter Gallery, opened. A mural depicting the art festival as well as Lake City’s agricultural and railroad history adorns a downtown building, seen at the top of the page.

Reflections on Lake City


Contributor Wilson McElveen, who sent the historic photo seen on this page, shares: “My understanding is that this automobile was decorated for an entry in a parade that was held in Florence in 1924. The driver, named Settle, is unknown to me, but the girl sitting in the rear was, at the time, a resident of Lake City. She was my great aunt, Florence Edwards “Tot” McElveen (Parham). Thought you may find this of interest since tobacco farming has had such an influence in areas of the Pee Dee in towns like Lake City.”

Plowed Cotton Field

Kathy Mattel of Gilbert, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Photographer Kathy Mattei, who took the photo above, writes: “My husband and I attended a Revolutionary War reenactment in Lake City, SC, December 2016. The event was very well done and included battle scenes, historians, musicians, and artisans. Although the weather was a little dreary, we really enjoyed ourselves knowing that this was the stomping grounds of the legendary Francis Marion. As the event began to wind down, we took a stroll around the outlying area along an old dirt road. All of a sudden, the sun peaked out and lit up this plowed cotton field. As I pulled out my camera I wondered what stories this old cotton field could tell.”

Add your own reflections here.


Lake City Info


Address: Henry Street, Lake City, SC 29560
GPS Coordinates: 33.872006,-79.754454


Lake City Map




Lake City – 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 Lake City, 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!







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