First settled by Scotch-Irish settlers in 1734, the Lake City area has grown and thrived in its almost three-hundred-year history. Lake City has served as one of the agricultural hubs of South Carolina and as a way point for travelers since its original inception as McCrea’s Inn, a colonial inn at the crossroads of what are now Church and Main Streets. In 1883, the name of the town—formerly Graham’s Crossroads, then Graham—was changed to Lake City, which derived from the popular fishing and swimming lakes located just north of town. In 1912, the Lake City area voted favorably to become part of Florence County, where it remains the second most populous city in the county. The Lake City tobacco market was established in 1898, and grew to become one of the two largest markets in South Carolina; during the same time, Lake City was home to the leading strawberry market in South Carolina.
For its entire history, Lake City has been a crossroad for South Carolina; initially a stopping place for travelers, Lake City became a vital hub for the agricultural industry following the construction of the railroad in 1856, when Northeastern Railroad built its main line through the area. Fast-forward from 1754 to 2017, Lake City is still the center of a thriving agricultural area and has added many other diversified industries, including manufacturing, watercraft sales and maintenance, and antique furniture refurbishing. Today, Lake City is a metaphysical crossroad for South Carolina, as well—the town that keeps the importance of South Carolina’s agrarian history in mind, while incubating a new, sustainable future for the state.
In Lake City, you will still see agriculture as a staple of our community, but now we have strengthened and enriched this common thread with a more artistic vibe. We are grateful and proud that our downtown features must-see mini-gardens featuring local flora, captivating murals that express our artistic soul, and sculptures that remind us of the impressive talents and colorful stories of some of our most inspiring citizens. We recognize the importance of living in harmony with our environment, so our status as a Tree City should come as no surprise! However, thanks to the efforts of caring and passionate citizens who comprise our team at Moore Farms Botanical Gardens, we have recently become the first, and currently the only, Bee City in South Carolina!