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This town, in Colleton County before Dorchester County was founded in 1897, dates from 1831. It was one of the first stations on the S.C. Rail Road from Charleston to Hamburg. This area was called Ridgeville as early as 1820, for its location on a ridge between Four Holes Swamp and Cypress Swamp. From the 1840s to the Civil War Ridgeville was a popular destination for "pleasure parties," day trips up from Charleston and back on the S.C. Rail Road.
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Town lots were laid out and sold here in 1849, and the town became a planters' summer retreat and a center of trade. One antebellum visitor called Ridgeville "a very pleasant, healthy village" and its citizens "industrious, prosperous and hospitable." It was incorporated in 1875, with its limits a half-mile radius from the depot. The town was centered along Railroad Ave. and Main St. The timber and turpentine industries here flourished into the 20th century.