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“N” is for Newberry

South Carolina A to Z

“N” is for Newberry (Newberry County; 2020 population 10,079). Newberry, founded in 1789, is the seat of Newberry County. Although the most important district town, Newberry remained quite small during the antebellum era. After the Civil War, it prospered and by 1873 was the second largest cotton market in the state. The arrival of new railroads and the opening of a textile mill added to the local economy. In 1882, as a symbol of its prosperity, Newberry erected a three story brick opera house featuring a bell tower. The opening of Interstate 26 and new industries led to population growth in the 1960s.The renovation of the Newberry Opera House as a performing arts center, completed in 1999, sparked a renaissance of Downtown Newberry that has been the envy of small towns across the American South.

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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.