(Lexington County; 2000 pop. 2,877). One of the youngest towns in the Midlands, until World War II this was a farming community with daily life dominated by crops, weather, seasons, church activities, and classes at Long Branch School. Creation of a U.S. Army Air Base and Columbia’s municipal airport wrought profound change, as did the growth of postwar suburbia in general. The paving of Platt Springs Road in 1948—the “main street” of this thriving town—and designation of a former sand trail as S.C. Highway 602 tended to foster communal spirit.
In March 1955, reacting to fears of annexation by nearby West Columbia and Cayce, twenty residents informed state officials of tentative plans to establish the town of Sherwood. Its proposed boundaries included Boston Avenue, Columbia Airport, Watling Road, Black Snake Road, Rainbow Drive, and Route 215. None of the land, they stated, was “more than one mile from the center of the said area.” However, on June 17, by a vote of thirty-five to twenty-four, a slightly larger region two-and-one-half miles long and one-and-one-half miles wide became the town of Springdale.
Those casting ballots were asked to do three things: approve or reject incorporation; if approved, choose a governing body (an intendant [mayor] and four wardens); and name their new town. Along the way the name Sherwood lost out to rival suggestions including Long Branch, Granby, and Springdale. The winning name was apparently inspired by numerous springs in the area, or as one resident observed, “perhaps they just liked the sound of the name.”
At the time of its incorporation, Springdale had only three hundred inhabitants. By the 1990s it had about ten times that number. The 2.7-square-mile town is governed by a mayor and a six-member council, with the assistance of a full-time town administrator. Despite suburban growth, about half the land area remains undeveloped. Town offices are located on Platt Springs Road adjacent to an attractive park-playground honoring the memory of Felton C. Benton, town administrator (1981–1993). Near this site, lacking formal facilities, town officials held their first meeting in a parked automobile.
Long Branch School, which served the community for many decades, closed in January 1953 when students were transferred to Brookland-Cayce #3. Since then numerous other schools have appeared: Airport Junior High (1958), Fulmer Middle School (1954), and Springdale School (1967). The Will Lou Gray Opportunity School, a state agency, also is located in Springdale.
A key element in recent history has been the work of the Springdale Woman’s Club. When local businessmen contributed materials to build town offices, these women held a barbecue to raise money for bathroom fixtures and were so successful that they added a kitchen sink. They bought the land that became Benton Park in 1960 and the following year, after an intensive drive, paid for streetlights.
A thirty-six-page History Book, published in 1995 to celebrate Springdale’s fortieth birthday, describes still other bits of local lore and notes with obvious pride that area businesses recorded a new high of $45 million in gross sales that year. The authors also boast of three hotels, numerous restaurants, and many services available to both residents and visitors. Their town is, they conclude, “a stable, serene community which affords a quiet, friendly atmosphere with strong family values and excellent schools, [as well] as all the comforts of true southern living.”