Alcolu is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Clarendon County, South Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 429. Alcolu has a post office with ZIP code 29001, which opened on August 17, 1888.
|Alcolu, South Carolina|
Alcolu was established between 1885 and 1890 by D.W. Alderman as a small mill town that housed the employees of his timber company and lumber mill. The name Alcolu is derived from "AL" for Alderman, "CO" for Coldwell (a friend), and "LU" for Lula, the only daughter of the Aldermans at that time.
When it was built, Alcolu was a company town where everybody worked in one of the various businesses of D.W. Alderman & Sons. The business grew to encompass logging operations, a saw mill, planing mill, hosiery mill, flooring mill, and extensive farming and cattle ranching. They also ran a cotton gin, hotel, company store, and several other businesses.
Over time, the company also helped found schools and churches, and built baseball fields, an electric plant, and a telephone system for the town. D.W. Alderman also founded the Alcolu Railroad, the Paroda Railroad, and built the Alcolu railroad depot. The Alcolu Post Office was established on August 17, 1888. Algernon Coldwell was appointed as its first Postmaster.
Company employees were paid in babbits, a metal coin stamped with an "A", that could be used in the company store. There they could buy groceries, see the doctor, get a haircut, or watch a show in the 200-seat auditorium upstairs. In 1919, the company opened the "Alderman 20 Stores in One" in nearby Manning. It was one of the first department stores in South Carolina and boasted of having the first elevator in town.
In 1947, the mill was sold by the Alderman family to the Southern Coatings & Chemical Company and the Williams Furniture Company. They, in turn, were later bought by the Georgia-Pacific company in 1968. Georgia-Pacific continued its operations in Alcolu until 2000, when the mill was finally closed. According to the 2010 census, the unincorporated town of Alcolu had a population of 429 people.
Alcolu is located in northern Clarendon County, 4 miles (6 km) north of Manning, the county seat. The southern edge of the CDP follows Interstate 95, which provides access at Exit 122. I-95 leads northeast 44 miles (71 km) to Florence and southwest 24 miles (39 km) to Santee. U.S. Route 521 runs through Alcolu, leading south to Manning and northwest 16 miles (26 km) to Sumter.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Alcolu CDP has a total area of 4.57 square miles (11.84 km2), of which 4.55 square miles (11.78 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.06 km2), or 0.47%, is water.