(Georgetown County; 2000 pop. 3,068). In 1909 the communities of Harpers and Rosemary merged to create the town of Andrews. Named after Walter Henry Andrews (1873–1935), a Georgetown businessman and a prime mover behind the merger, the town grew rapidly. One year after incorporation, Andrews had a population of 95, and ten years later its population stood at 1,968. The town thrived in the 1920s, due in large part to the Seaboard Airline Railway Company railroad shops and the logging operations of the Atlantic Coast Lumber Company. Andrews quickly acquired a water system and electric plants. Along with its shops and lumber mill, it boasted three tobacco warehouses, a woodworking plant, and a cotton gin.
In 1929 the boom in Andrews quickly went bust when the railroad relocated its repair shops to North Carolina and some seven hundred people left town. While the loss of the railroad workers hurt the town, it was the closing of the lumber mill that plunged Andrews into the depths of the Great Depression. When the Atlantic Coast Lumber Company ceased logging operations in 1932, over fifteen hundred people lost jobs. Additional business closings followed, and the place once known as the fastest growing town for its age in the United States filed for bankruptcy.
The Depression hit both Andrews and Georgetown County hard. Through the assistance of the federal Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the county received relief funds totaling $19,000 in October 1933. The money put 4,200 men to work repairing roads and building bridges for 50¢ a day. By 1936 the wealth of timber around Andrews began to attract new lumber businesses. With the outbreak of World War II, demand for wood products soared and companies such as International Paper, the Andrews Veneer and Lumber Company, the Brooks Veneer Company, and the Santee Pine Company dominated the Andrews economy.
At the end of World War II, citizens created the Andrews Development Board in an attempt to lure new business and create new jobs. Their efforts paid off when Oneita Industries opened a knitting mill in 1958. Over the next several decades, although timber-related jobs remained a significant part of the economy, Andrews became home to textile, steel, and wire manufacturers and chemical companies.
In the 1990s, while the area continued to have high unemployment and underemployment, the town again committed itself to providing new opportunities. In 1993 Andrews joined other communities in the South Carolina Downtown Development Corporation to revitalize the downtown area. In 1996 the town held the first Andrews Gospel Music & Storytelling Festival, which the Southeast Tourism Society included among their “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast.” In 2000 plans for a 950-acre industrial park approached fruition and the community gained a new middle school and a new high school. Throughout this period, the people of Andrews faced the challenge of attracting new industries while struggling to maintain a sense of small town community.
Andrews Old Town Hall Museum. History of Andrews. N.p., 1998.
Rogers, George C. The History of Georgetown County, South Carolina. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1970.