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“B” is for Berkeley County

“B” is for Berkeley County (1,098 square miles; 2020 population 235,987). Created in 1682, Berkeley was one of South Carolina’s first three counties. From the early eighteenth century until1865, the area was the location of a number of lowcountry parishes. With the abolition of the parish system in 1865, Berkeley became part of Charleston County. In 1882, the General Assembly reestablished Berkeley County but it was not until 1921 that its current boundaries were settled. For much of its existence, the area’s economy was based on agriculture. The influx of federal dollars into the Santee Cooper hydroelectric project (which submerged a large portion of the county under the waters of Lake Marion) initiated an economic revival. By the beginning of the twenty-first century Berkeley County had emerged from its agricultural past into a mecca for manufacturing.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson 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.