Taking a Trip Down Memory Lane: Exploring the History of Loris SC

Loris, South Carolina, is a small town located in Horry County. It has a rich and varied history dating back to the early 1800s when the first settlers arrived. Throughout the years, Loris has grown from a small farming community to a bustling small town with a distinctive character. The legacy of Loris can be seen in its architecture, culture, and people. From its origin as one of the first communities in the region to its modern-day activities, Loris has something for everyone. As a town that values the past while celebrating the future, Loris continues to thrive and provide a sense of community and home for its inhabitants.

Early Settlement of Loris

The early settlement of Loris, South Carolina, can be traced back to the early 1800s. At this time, the Northern portions of Horry County were primarily populated by individuals of Scottish and English descent. This area was predominantly agricultural, producing staple crops such as cotton and tobacco.

In addition to its agricultural significance, Loris played an essential role in providing goods and services for the surrounding communities. Locals built several sawmills, churches, and stores throughout the area, further contributing to its sense of community. Additionally, a large portion of Loris’ population were self-sufficient farmers who could provide goods and services to their families and neighbors with the help of their land.

The development of Loris was greatly aided by the presence of the railroads that bisected the area during the mid-1800s. This allowed goods and services to be transported to other regions, further increasing Loris’ ability to provide resources for its citizens. Additionally, it enabled individuals to move more easily between locations, resulting in more people settling in Loris.

Notable occurrences in Loris's past

Loris became the first station on the railroad south of the North Carolina line in 1911, and the railroad built a new depot to accommodate the increasing amount of freight transported to and from the town. By 1914, Loris was referred to as the Gate City because it was the first railroad station south of the North Carolina line. 

In the 1920s and 1930s, Loris experienced slow but steady growth. The state-accredited the high school in Loris in the 1920s. One thousand people populated Loris by the mid-1930s, and agriculture was the predominant crop of that region. It was grown and shipped to northern markets such as tobacco, strawberries, sweet potatoes, lettuce, and poultry. 

It is not surprising that many of Loris' young men served their country during World War II by serving in military service, while others worked in factories and shipyards associated with the war. Despite the sacrifices made during the war, Loris grew and diversified its economic base. Loris Wood Products was the first business to open in Loris, and it produced furniture when it was established in 194 

A movement to establish a hospital in Loris was sponsored by the Civitan Club, founded in 1938, recognizing that a quality hospital was needed. The Loris Community Hospital was constructed through a petition drive that collected enough signatures to convince the state legislature to establish a special tax district, after which Loris Community Hospital was erected. Since opening its doors on May 15, 1950, the hospital has expanded to provide medical services to the entire Horry County community.

WLSC-AM, Loris's first radio station, began broadcasting on Saturday, August 2, 1958, at 9:00 am, providing local information and entertainment to residents of the area and a variety of local music. 

People Who Made History in Loris

Daniel J. Butler was the first mayor of Loris, South Carolina, when it was incorporated on July 26, 1902. He was a vital force in the town's development, which had only a few hundred people at its inception. Over the next few decades, Butler served as mayor off and on and was instrumental in opening the Bank of Loris, a post office, and city hall. He also worked to acquire new infrastructure and regulations for the growing town, leading to the installation of streetlights, curbs, and sewers.

Additionally, Butler successfully advocated for a railroad line to be constructed through Loris, bringing new jobs and opportunities to the small town. In this way, he pushed for economic development and expansion of Loris into modern-day form. His contributions to Loris also included organizing a volunteer fire department, a waterworks system, and schools for children of all ages. All these achievements secured Butler's reputation as an important figure in the history of Loris and all those whose lives were changed by his efforts there.

What is Loris SC known for?

Loris, South Carolina, is an aptly-named city with a vast array of bogs, ponds, and swamps. For that reason, it is known for its annual Loris Bog-Off Festival. The festival started in 1980 and has grown increasingly popular yearly. The festival's main event is, of course, the chicken bog cook-off. The origins of “chicken bog” are largely debated. Yet, it is popularly accepted that it hails from the unique combination of rice, chicken, and sausage that makes up the traditional low country dish. Loris’ Chicken Bog cook-off has quickly become an iconic must-see event in South Carolina.

In addition to the chicken bog cook-off, there are many other activities to participate in throughout the weekend festival. Local musicians from around South Carolina come together to entertain guests throughout each day of the event with traditional folk songs, country covers, and even renditions of classic rock ‘n roll hits. At night, attendees are in for a show of a different type: fireworks! Viewers marveled at the vibrant color display that illuminates the sky as the sun sets over the horizon. Lastly, for those with children, there are plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the weekend. From rides to games and live animal shows, Loris’ Bog-Off Festival offers something for all ages to enjoy!

Conclusion

Loris has a long and rich history that speaks to its residents' diverse backgrounds and varied experiences. From its earliest origins to its present-day incarnation, the town of Loris has had a hand in many significant moments in South Carolina’s history. From developing early transportation technologies to fostering education, healthcare, and industry, Loris has been integral to life in Horry County for centuries. Through its charming downtown and many unique attractions, Loris is a living testament to hands-on history that continues to show a deep appreciation for its past. Contact for more information.

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