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Andrews was incorporated as a town in 1909 and was the result of the consolidation of the two incorporated communities of Harper's and Rosemary that had been settled along the rails of the Georgetown & Western Railroad, just a mile apart.
Harper's, the oldest of these two villages, came into being in the late 1880's as a result of the completion of the railroad and regular scheduled movement of trains between Georgetown and Lanes, the point of intersection of the old Gapway road which was the main artery of traffic between Georgetown and Kingstree, Manning, Sumter, and other points in that general direction, and the Georgetown-Williamsburg County line road that came up from Charleston by way of Lenuds Ferry on the Santee, crossed Black River at Potato Ferry, and continued on to the Pee Dee, where it crossed that river at SMith Mills, and continued on through Brittons Neck in Marion County.
In the early 1890's streets were laid out at Harper's Station, and a post office was established. By 1905 there were five mercantile establishments, a turpentine distillery, a saw mill, two churches and a public free school in the community.
In the year of 1905, the town of Rosemary was organized at the point on the G & W R. R. where the spur track of the Atlantic coast Lumber Co. left the main railroad in a northerly direction. This lumbering railroad has since become the main line of the Seaboard Airline Railroad (S.A.L.R.R.) which carries practically all of the through freight business of the Seaboard from Florida to northern points.
The Rosemary land association was formed in 1905 for the purpose of fostering development of the community, and a large tract of land was purchased for that purpose and laid out into streets, blocks and lots, and offered to the public at very reasonable prices. Sites for Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches were donated to the congregations, and a solid block was designated as a prospective school site.
Rosemary was chosen as the operating center of the woods department of the Atlantic Coast Lumber Co., and a large repair shop was constructed that afforded employment for several hundred men. The town of Rosemary outstripped its neighboring village of Harper's, as a result of these activities, and agitation soon began for the union of the two towns. This was effected in 1909, and it was agreed by a ballot of the voters in both communities to name the newly consolidated town 'ANDREWS' as a compliment to Capt. W. M. Andrews, who was the prime mover in the development of the town.
The town continued to prosper, and in the middle teens, the S. A. L. R. R. decided to build a sea level route throughout South Carolina, tapping their original main line at Hamlet, N.C., passing through Charleston, and rejoining their main line in Savannah. An arrangement was worked out by the Lumber Co.'s rails north of Andrews, and also the maintenance shops in the town. The lumber company, under this arrangement, continued to use the Seaboard's lines for their timber trains, but at once constructed a new maintenance shop, so that, for some years two large railway shops were actively operating within the town limits.
The town of Andrews had by this time reached a population of some 2,000 people and in 1919 the town voted a bond issued intended to defray the cost of an electric light system which was constructed and placed in operation in November of that year. The following year the town began the installation of a water works and sewage system which was placed in operation in the summer of 1922. In 1924, after five years of operating its electric light system, it was sold to the S.C. Power and Light Co., who have operated the system continuously since that time.
With the coming of these additional conveniences, the development of the town took on an added impetus and the population increased rapidly.
In 1928 there occurred the first set back to the community's growth. The panicky conditions of the twenties caused the S.A.L.R.R. Co. to make moves looking to the curtailment of operating expenses and, among other things, it closed down the shops in Andrews. The mechanics employed here were offered similar employment in other locations thus compelling many complete families to move away. The town of Andrews thus lost some 700 of its population overnight. In 1931, the depression in business generally caused the Atlantic Coast Lumber Co. to close down it's operations, which were never again resumed, so that the town of Andrews received another blow, from which the future appeared dark indeed. however, with a background of excellent farming land, and with the temporary aid from the government in the Civil Works program, it fought on stubbornly, and readjusted its affairs to compete with the times.
At the middle thirties, the town of ANdrews, had again developed a normal growth, to which a considerable impetus was added by the information that the International Paper Co. was contemplating the construction of a large paper mill in the city of Georgetown. This mill was completed in the late thirties, and business throughout Georgetown County took on new life at once. Shortly thereafter the involvement in World War Two and its taking of practically all of the effective man power of the county into the armed service, caused a considerable slow down in progress of the community, which lasted until the end of the war. With the disbandment of the army and the consequent t return of the County's manpower, the whole community took on a new life, and progress began anew, and has continued to the present day.
When the little village of Harper's was organized, the people of the community were prompt to provide proper places of religious edification. In 1892, a Methodist church was built and 1893 a Baptist church was erected which took the place of an old weather shed, covered with brush tops, that had thereto fore been used for that purpose. Religious progress continued through the several periods of depression, unabated, until at this date there are ample edifices for the several denomination -- Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Pentecostal Holiness, and Church of God. The Roman Catholic church has lately acquired a considerable property within the town, and are now planning structures to accommodate their congregation who now attend the church in Georgetown.
The Negro population has kept pace with the white people, and also have ample churches of all denominations.
The public school system, beginning about 1890 with a one-room, one-teacher school, has kept in step with the progress of the town. Serving the people of the community today is a new modern elementary school building, just completed at a cost of about $250,000.00, together with the old school buildings that have a somewhat greater value, serving nearly 500 elementary pupils and 365 high school pupils, with a total of 31 teachers.
The negro school is also new and modern in every particular, built at a cost of about $730,000.00, and accommodates 501 elementary pupils and 403 high school pupils with a faculty of 33 teachers.
Civic organization sin Andrews at this date include a Chamber of Commerce, a Boy Scout troop, Lions Club, a Wild Life Club, three Garden Clubs, two Theatres, three playgrounds, a baseball park and tennis court.
Fraternal organizations are: Masonic, knights of Pythias, Woodmen of the World, Daughters of American Revolution.
The population of Andrews is now estimated at about 3,800 people. The limits of the town were set up by survey in 1910 as a rectangle, the long side of which paralleled the G&W railroad tracks for a distance of two miles, and each at one half mile distant therefrom, thus enclosing an area of two square miles, or 1,2850 acres. A small area at the north edge of the town was added about 1920, containing about 1/8 square mile, but there have been no additions since that time. Development has overrun the town limits in every direction, so that there rae a great many more people in the community than appears from the census.
Transportation into and out of ANdrews is provided by the two trunk roads mentioned, both of which are paved, and a third paved road along the old railroad bed from Andrews to Lanes, which was abandoned by the Seaboard several years ago. The Greyhound and Dixie Bus lines furnish passenger transportation, and the S. A. L. Railroad and eleven truck lines provide regular freight service into and out of Andrews.
THe community is served by the ANdrews Bank and Trust Co., an independent organization, the entire stock of which is locally owned.
A hotel of twenty-four rooms provide care for transients, and there are four restaurants within the town limits.
Services are supplied to the community in excellent quality and ample quantity by three drug stores, three hardware stores, an electrical goods store, a jewelry store, two five and ten-cent stores, four furniture stores, five dry goods stores and several grocery stores, three of which are associated with chain stores, and are modern in every particular.
Industry in Andrews is represented by the Overton Mfg.. Co., manufacturer of Lumber products, the Brooks Veneer Co., the Beale and the Ingram lumber companies, the Rogers Saw Mill Co., the Hardee livestock market, the Andrews Ice Co., the Oneita Knitting Mill, which employs some four hundred women workers, and the Oredraction Co., which is now in the process of erecting a $700,000.00 plant for the manufacture of Zircoin, and subsidiary products.
Andrews boasts of a large percentage of business management by men who were born and educated here. In listing 82 business establishments along the main streets, it is seen that 35 of them are so managed and owned today.
Page Updated: 12/10/97