Water, both fresh and salt, has been the center of Georgetown County's economy and way of life from the earliest days when American Indians gathered to rejoice and eat seafood.
The salty beaches draw both tourists and residents to enjoy the surf, while the port still berths ships as it has for centuries. The five rivers that flow to the sea through the county, once their own highways of commerce, now attract sightseers, skiers and fishers.
The salt water, too, still calls fishers and shrimpers to gather its bounty. The salt tides pushing up the rivers once nurtured a rice-growing industry that for a time made the county one of the richest regions on earth.
In Georgetown, besides strolling along the Harborwalk that celebrates the town's connection with water, people may learn more by visiting three museums and a house museum all within a few blocks of each other. Tours of the historic district are available for riding and walking.
Besides the beach communities of Pawleys Island and Litchfield, the village of Murrells Inlet has its own kind of water-based living, with fishing at its center. Inland, the former railroad hub of Andrews offers its own small-town charm and little museum telling of its past.
But while Georgetown pays respect to its past, it notes the present and future with industry like the paper mill, a gypsum board factory and a new facility making high-tech parts for airplanes.
This spring, the county added another penny of sales tax, approved by voters in November, to improve roads and fire stations, add recreational facilities, and dredge the channels in both Georgetown and Murrells Inlet.
Established | 1769.
Origin of name | Georgetown County was named for the city, which was named for Britain’s King George II, who was the monarch at the time.
Major events | Winyah Bay Heritage Festival, Brookgreen Gardens’ Diggin’ It Spring Garden Expo, Plantation Tours, Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art, Pawleys Pavilion Reunion, Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival, Wooden Boat Show.
Its secret | The county has completed a number of parks and recreation projects, including a new park off Ocean Highway in Litchfield. The county also boasts beaches, a diverse landscape, rich history that dates back to colonial times, and the Harborwalk in Georgetown, a waterfront destination.
Property tax | Between 188.3 mills and 318.8 mills, depending on the fire service area and town a resident lives in.
Numbers to know
Planning | 129 Screven St., Georgetown, 843-545-3158
Zoning | 129 Screven St., Georgetown, 843-545-3602
Old County Courthouse | 129 Screven St., Georgetown
New County Courthouse | P.O. Box 479, 401 Cleland St., Georgetown
Andrews Police Department | 843-264-5223 (non-emergency)
Georgetown City Police Department | 843-545-4300 (non-emergency)
Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office | 430 N. Fraser St., 843-546-5102
Georgetown County Fire and EMS | 843-545-3271
Pawleys Island Police Department | 843-237-1698 (non-emergency, island only)
Midway Fire Rescue | 843-545-3620 (non-emergency), covers Pawleys Island and Litchfield Beach
Murrells Inlet/Garden City Beach Fire Department | 843-651-5143 (non-emergency); also www.migcfd.org
Georgetown City Fire Department | 843-545-4200 (non-emergency)
County Administrator | Sel Hemingway, 716 Prince St., Georgetown, SC 29440, 843-545-3006
Council District 7 and chairman | Johnny Morant, P.O. Drawer 437, Georgetown, SC 29442, 843-527-2448
Council District 1 | John Thomas, P.O. Box 373, Pawleys Island, 29585, 843-237-3718
Council District 2 | Ron Charlton, P.O. Box 1998, Georgetown, SC 29442, 843-546-2200
Council District 3 | Leona Myers-Miller, 607 Powell Road, Georgetown, SC 29440, 843-546-9642
Council District 4 | Lillie Jean Johnson, 906 N. Merriman Road, Georgetown, SC 29440, 843-546-6307
Council District 5 | Austin Beard, P.O. Box 763, Andrews, SC 29510, 843-997-0910
Council District 6 | Steve Goggans, P.O. Box 1859, Pawleys Island, SC 29585, 843-545-3058.