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“B” is for Batesburg-Leesville. Batesburg-Leesville

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“B” is for Batesburg-Leesville. Batesburg-Leesville (Lexington County; 2020 population 5,251). Before consolidating in 1993, Batesburg and Leesville were “friendly but separate Twins” that grew up back-to-back in the extreme western portion of Lexington County—on the “Ridge” separating the Saluda and Edisto River basins. Although separated by only a narrow strip of land, the two towns developed distinct identities. Batesburg faced west and served as a market and distribution center for Ridge farmers in Edgefield, Aiken, and Saluda Counties. Facing east, Leesville serviced the Sandhills of western Lexington County. The move toward a merger began in the 1920s with the construction of a consolidated high school and a joint Chamber of Commerce in 1946. A difficult economy in the 1980s sparked the final push. In January 1992 voters passed a referendum to consolidate Batesburg and Leesville, and the merger was completed by the end of the following year.

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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.