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About Georgetown

Georgetown, the third oldest city in South Carolina, is located on Winyah Bay where the Pee Dee, Waccamaw and Sampit Rivers connect. Georgetown handles more than 960,000 tons of materials each year, which gives it the distinction of being the second largest seaport in South Carolina.

Some historians claim that the earliest settlement in North American by Europeans with African slaves began in Georgetown in 1526. In the years that followed, this colony of Spanish settlers failed, likely because of a fever epidemic and a revolt of their African slaves. These particular settlers built a ship from the area’s local cypress and oak trees and sailed on to the Spide Islands of the Caribbean.

Much later, Charles Town was settled in 1670, which began the settlement of outlying areas. By 1729, Elisha Screven laid the plan for Georgetown, which was developed in a grid pattern. The original grid city makes up today’s Historic District of Georgetown, which bears the original street names and lot numbers, as well as more than 50 homes, public buildings and sites that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Outdoor enthusiasts visit Georgetown for guided tours of the Hobcaw Barony Wildlife Refuge, which consists of 17,500 acres. This area was made as a royal land grant in 1718 and later separated into 14 individual plantations. Wall Street millionaire and presidential advisor Bernard Baruch made his winter residence at Hobcaw Barony, and his daughter Belle later purchased the entire barony with the hopes of turning it into an educational wildlife refuge. Today, the non-profit Belle W. Baruch Foundation manages the refuge, which offers area colleges and universities teaching and research opportunities in forestry, marine biology, wildlife care and propagation, and flora and fauna. The Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center is an interpretive museum on the grounds that offers free exhibits to guests.

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