About Georgetown, SC
Georgetown, SC ,the third oldest city in South Carolina, was founded in 1729 and became an official port of entry in 1732.
From the years of early settlement, through the Revolutionary War and up to the onset of the Civil War, Georgetown flourished. Indigo and rice became the major crops of the area. The ready market for the indigo enabled planters to make large fortunes quickly. With the advent of the Revolution, however, this bounty ended and the planters of the area turned to rice for their economic well being.
Because indigo was no longer profitable after the Revolution, the local planters turned to the production of rice. The many swamps and low-lying areas by the tidal rivers and the large labor supply made the cultivation of this crop highly profitable. By 1840, the Georgetown District (County) produced nearly one-half of the total rice crop of the United States and the port exported more rice than any port in the world. The local variety called “Carolina Gold” was in demand worldwide.
After the Civil War, Rice was no longer profitable and an economic alternative was needed. This need was met by lumber. The Atlantic Coast Lumber Company was incorporated in 1903. By 1914, it was the largest lumber producing plant on the East Coast. However, in 1932 ACL declared bankruptcy and Georgetown entered a period of immense economic decline. Recovery began in 1936 when International Paper Company built a plant here. By 1942 this plant had become the largest kraft paper mill in the world. Georgetown Steel and an array of other smaller plants have diversified Georgetown’s industrial base. Commercial fishing has become a significant industry. In recent years, retirees and vacationers have contributed greatly to the well-being of the area. Tourism has become an increasingly significant element in the area’s economy.
Georgetown’s long history combined with its diversity of cultures, linkage to the sea, triumphs, defeats and revitalizations have all contributed to create an area known for its charm and beauty.