There’s been so much fussin’ and fightin’ in Georgetown between industry, tourism, and the commercial district.
They’re all here and all jockeying for space in a very small area.
There was a time when all three flourished and people were optimistic that life here was going to get even better.
I’m once again falling back on old issues of The Georgetown Times to paint a picture so lovely that you may just wish you lived here one hundred and fifteen years ago.
It was revealed in a special edition of the local paper in 1896 that the population of the city was 3,500, as compared to the 8,950 residents we have today.
Total revenue for the city from all sources was $16,823.68.
If I’m reading the city budget correctly, total revenue for the city from all sources for 2010-2011 was expected to be $8,657,440.
As to crime, it was reported that disorderly conduct, burglary, and house breaking was rare.
People were reminded to refrain from spitting in public as it was believed that this was a major cause of the spread of tuberculosis.
There was great excitement in the city because the gas lamps used to light the streets were soon to be converted to electric lights.
Georgetonians were also very proud of the renovations at the jail.
The County borrowed between five and six thousand dollars to remodel and install steel cells.
By the way, that was county government’s only debt at the time.
As for industry, everyone was rejoicing that money was being provided by the federal government to build the south jetty and complete the north jetty at Winyah Bay.
It was hoped that this, along with dredging in certain places, would increase the depth of the channel to 15 feet at low tide.
Even without these improvements, the registered tonnage of vessels for arrivals and departures at our port was 376,717.36 gross tons.
The tonnage for the port from June to November, 2010 was 94,000.
What industry did we have ‘downtown’?
More than you could ever imagine. Among others, we had a rice milling company, a saw mill, a planing mill, a lumber company, and a cypress shingle manufacturing company.
All of these industries kept hundreds of men employed.
Mr. L.S. Ehrich alone manufactured and shipped 301,240 cross ties from our docks in 1884 which added to the tonnage of our ports and increased the receipts of the Georgetown and Western Railroad Company.
The Clyde Steamship Company had connections to New York and points in between.
Naval stores in 1894 shipped 180,000 barrels of rosin, pitch, and tar and 30,000 barrels of turpentine.
The city accommodated five attorneys, five physicians, and two dentists.
Front Street businesses included a dozen general merchandise stores, several dry goods stores, a furniture store, and eight groceries.
There were three barber shops, an opera house, a shoemaker, and two hotels.
Besides these, there was a boarding house, two bakeries, three drugstores, two hardware stores, an ice house, stables, a jeweler, a dispensary (liquor store), a pool room, and a fruit store.
To get a full history of all of the Front Street businesses, buy a copy of the Georgetown County Historical Society’s latest publication,
A Walk Down Front Street. This excellent book gives you an in depths look at all the Front Street businesses from c. 1900 – 2000.
The 1896 newspaper publication names the historical landmarks in the city that draw tourists from other parts of the country, whether they arrive by train, boat, or horse and buggy.
It’s ironic that we’re fighting for federal dredging funds just as we did in the 1890’s.
Even without the funds, Georgetown was a thriving city and Front Street businesses provided every need, from groceries, to shoes, to hardware, and clothing.
There was no need for malls!
Once again, to the Georgetown Times. . . thanks for the memories.