In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the land that became Hanahan was prime rice-growing acreage fronting the waters of Goose Creek.

(Berkeley and Charleston Counties; 2000 pop. 12,937). Hanahan is an incorporated city of about twelve square miles in the lower part of Berkeley County, with a small portion in Charleston County. The city is primarily a bedroom community to the city of Charleston. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the land that became Hanahan was prime rice-growing acreage fronting the waters of Goose Creek. By World War I the locality was known as Saxon, the name of a local railroad stop. In 1917 the U.S. Post Office notified the community that it had to change its name to avoid confusion with the post office at Saxon, North Carolina.

The re-designated South Carolina locale was named after James Ross Hanahan. A successful businessman and industrialist, Hanahan was instrumental in having the city of Charleston purchase and operate a publicly owned waterworks system on land in the community. Access to the plant was hampered when Charleston County refused to pave the road to the site because it was only used by waterworks employees, while Berkeley County would not pave it because it was in Charleston County. Serving as the first chairman of the public utility, Hanahan worked through these differences and a road to the facility was paved. In recognition of his service, the station at Saxon was renamed in his honor. The town was incorporated in 1973, with a government consisting of a mayor, a six-member city council, and a full-time town administrator.

Hanahan’s attributes included its accessibility to Interstate 26 and its location as the site of the Goose Creek Reservoir, which was built in the 1930s and later became a one-hundred-acre park. The city also contains the main water plant of the Charleston Public Works Commission.

Hanahan’s growth in the second half of the twentieth century mirrored that of the Charleston metropolitan area. Between 1970 and 1980 the population of Hanahan soared from 8,376 to 13,224. The closing of the Charleston Naval Base in the early 1990s temporarily halted Hanahan’s growth. However, the loss of defense related jobs was partly offset by the presence of nearby industrial employers such as Bayer Corporation (textile dyes), Alumax (aluminum), and Georgia-Pacific Corporation (wood products).

Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Regional Planning Council. Comprehensive Development Plan, 1975, City of Hanahan, South Carolina. Charleston, S.C.: The Council, 1975.

“One Suburb Has Growing Pains; the Other, Fears of Shrinking.” Columbia State, February 8, 1994, p. B3.

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Citation Information

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  • Article Title Hanahan
  • Author Ruth W. Cupp
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • URL http://www.scencyclopedia.org/sce/entries/hanahan/
  • Access Date August 19, 2019
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • Original Published Date April 15, 2016
  • Date of Last Update May 17, 2016