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“K” is for Kiawah Island

South Carolina A to Z larger logo

“K” is for Kiawah Island (Charleston County; 2020 population 1,626). Kiawah is a small barrier island situated south of Charleston between the mouths of the Stono and North Edisto Rivers. It is named for the Kiawah Indians, who lived in the vicinity at the time of European contact. In the early eighteenth century planter John Stanyarne purchased the island and cleared it for indigo production. Indigo gave way to cotton planting by the start of the nineteenth century and remained the primary activity on the island until the twentieth century. The boll weevil decimated Sea Island cotton by 1918, and the island’s fields reverted to woodland. In 1952 C.C. Royal Lumber Company purchased the island. In 1974 Royal’s heirs sold Kiawah Island to Kiawah Island Company, which developed an upscale resort and residential community.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.