In the city limits of Georgetown, communities vary from historic waterfront neighborhoods to more modern areas with houses, duplexes and apartments. But many of the quiet streets in the city are lined with live oaks, providing a canopy of large branches dripping with Spanish moss, providing picturesque scenes known by some for generations. Being neighborly is part of Georgetown’s appeal, and city residents’ welcome visitors with smiles and helpful attitudes.
Here’s a look at the neighborhoods that – as a whole – create Georgetown, South Carolina’s third-oldest city and the county seat of Georgetown County.
Featuring 63 historic homes and buildings in the National Register of Historic Sites, Georgetown’s Historic District is a favorite area for visitors. It includes the retail shops, museums and restaurants along Front Street, as well as homes that overlook the Sampit River, Georgetown Harbor and East Bay Park. Many visitors stroll along the sidewalks, visiting as many of the historic markers as they can find.
According to historic records, the city was chartered in 1729 to include 14 blocks from Cannon Street to Wood Street and from Front Street to Highmarket Street. In 1737, four more blocks were added – Cleland and St. James streets. That is why most of the historical markers are in that section of the city.
Today, the Historic District has been expanded to include all properties from East Bay Park in the southeast to the marsh northeast of Church Street, Georgetown Harbor to the southwest and North Fraser Street to the northwest. That includes Winyah Auditorium, the site of the former Winyah High School, the city’s all-white school during segregation and now the home to the acclaimed The Georgetown School of Arts and Sciences. It also includes an area known by locals as Slabtown, which was a residential area of modest homes originally pieced together using “slabs,” the outside parts of a tree cut for lumber, given to employees by the Atlantic Coast Lumber Co. Employees also used slabs for cooking and heating their homes.
Today, though, the entire Historic District is visited by thousands of tourists every year because of its long history, dating back more than 300 years. And while the district includes five museums, the district still thrives as an active neighborhood where residents still live, work and play.
Bordered by two major industries, International Paper Co. and the Liberty Steel mill, and Highmarket Street, the West End community of Georgetown consists of a strong network of residents who work together to make strides for a brighter future. The community features the Mitney Community Center, which provides educational and fun activities for youth, and Howard Adult Center, Howard Recreation Center and Howard Auditorium, all parts of the former Howard High School, the city’s once all-black high school during the years of segregation in the second half of the 20th century.
Howard operated from 1938-1984 at its location on Kaminski Street in the West End community. According to a historical marker erected by the Georgetown Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority on the corner of Duke and King streets in the Historic District of Georgetown, a group called the Georgetown Colored Academy built a school there after purchasing the land in 1866. By 1908, the old building had been torn down and a new school built, its name changed to Howard. The elementary department moved into a newly built structure on Kaminski Street in 1938; the high school followed in 1949. After the 1984 graduation, predominantly black Howard merged with mostly white Winyah School to form Georgetown High School.
Today, the community enjoys cultural, community and sporting events and takes pride in showcasing its history and heritage.
North of the Historic District, along Church Street (U.S. Highway 17) and along Black River Road to Georgetown Presbyterian Church is the Willowbank community. This area, which is a former plantation, dates back to the founding of Georgetown and the small Willowbank Park once served as the town common when the city was laid out in the early 1700s. Most of the houses in this community are modest single-family dwellings, many popular as starter homes for young couples.
On the other side of Black River Road and between that road and North Fraser Street (U.S. Highway 701) is an area known as Richmond Heights. This community, which has lots of shade under live oaks, is bordered by Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital, which has recently undergone a $100 million renovation and addition of a state-of-the-art surgery center, and the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office headquarters.
North of Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital and to the east of North Fraser Street (U.S. Highway 17) is the Rosemont Community, which includes several residential areas south of Walmart, including Country Club Estates near the intersection of Black River Road and North Fraser Street. It has medium- to high-end homes.
West of North Fraser Street (U.S. Highway 701) – surrounding the Beck Administration Center, the home of Georgetown County School District, the Beck Recreation Center and the Georgetown Senior Center, northeast of Highmarket Street (U.S. Highway 521) – is known as the Lincoln community. This area, also known as the Old Airport Area, includes the former County Fairgrounds. It is a central location for shopping and dining.
West of the Lincoln community, near Georgetown High and Georgetown Middle schools is known as the Whites Bridge community. This area is north of Highmarket Street (U.S. Highway 521) and is a short drive from retail shops and restaurants.
South of Georgetown, across the Sampit River, is the Maryville community. It includes neighborhoods like Bayview, Maryville Pines and many along South Island Road. Maryville has all types of homes from modest to large mansions with water views. The community includes Maryville Elementary School and several grocery stores, retail shops and restaurants.
Just outside city limits
North of Georgetown is the Kensington community, which includes Kensington Elementary School, Kensington Park and a higher-end community called Colonial Estates. The Kensington community is primarily made up of medium-sized (three or four bedroom) to large (four, five or more bedroom) single-family homes which were built between 1970 and 1999.
West of Georgetown is the McDonald Community, which includes McDonald Elementary School and McDonald Park. It is close to 8 Oaks Regional Park and is a short-driving distance to shopping and dining. Homes are mostly modest in this area.
South of the Maryville community is Belle Isle, a gated community that features the Belle Isle Yacht Club. The homes in this community are mostly higher-end homes. Belle Isle Yacht Club & Marina, located along the Intracoastal Waterway on Winyah Bay in Georgetown, has magnificent water views, a full-service marina, bar and grill, luxury condominiums, and the yacht club is available for event rentals.