Incorporated in 1729, Georgetown is a city of 9,000 residents that rose to prominence as an indigo and rice producing seaport on Winyah Bay. By 1840, the region surrounding Georgetown produced nearly half of the country’s total rice crop. As the largest rice exporting port in the world, Georgetown’s streets quickly became lined with stately planter class residences.
Located along the South Santee River, Hampton Island was one of a system of rice plantations in the vicinity of Georgetown during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Naturally with emancipation, the city fell on economic hard times with the loss of free enslaved labor during the Reconstruction Era. By the 20th century, the city’s economy had been reborn with a heavy reliance on the lumber industry. During the mid-20th century, industry solidified the city’s economic base with the 1936 opening of a paper mill and the 1973 establishment of a steel mill.
Today, home to a national historic district with 49 contributing buildings in the central business district, Georgetown is a community where heritage tourism has emerged as a resounding business. Paralleling the Sampit River, historic Georgetown’s Front Street is home to a collection local boutique retailers and restaurants in 19th century brick buildings nestled along a Harborwalk, marinas and maritime based industry.
A look down St. James Street in the Georgetown Historic District. Laid out as a 174.5 acre town with 100 acres set aside as a commons in 1729. Acreage was divided into blocks by five streets constructed at right angles to the river.
With 28 structures dating back to the 18th century and another 18 built prior to the Civil War, the district was listed in the National Register on October 14, 1971.
The Stormy Seas Seafood Market on Meeting Street.
Hazzard Marine is the only full service marine repair and refit facility within an 85 mile stretch of coast between Myrtle Beach and Charleston.
Paralleling the Sampit River, Front Street continues to serve as the historic center of commerce within the Georgetown Historic District.
The Rollin Local Restaurant at the intersection of Front and Broad streets.
The Big Tuna Raw Bar (aka The Old Fish House) claims to serve fresh Yankee on a daily basis.