Chapin, popularly known as the capital of Lake Murray, is an affluent town located in Lexington County, South Carolina. Chapin was founded by Martin Chapin in 1889. The following year, 1890, the railroad was built to connect Chapin to Columbia, South Carolinaand other major regions. The population of Chapin was 1,445 according to the 2010 census. The town government is set up in the Mayor-Council form and the current Chapin mayor is J. Robert (Skip) Wilson. Chapin has four public schools in the area; the first Chapin school was built in 1924. Lake Murray is the main attraction to Chapin, South Carolina and provides recreational boaters with water-related entertainment. Chapin also features many local known restaurants and shops.
|Chapin, South Carolina|
|Nickname(s): The Capital of Lake Murray, Community of Character, Home of the Eagles|
|Motto: fish away|
Location of Chapin, South Carolina
Chapin is located at (34.165783, -81.347260).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2), of which, 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) of it is land and 0.55% is water.
Chapin is named after Martin Chapin who traveled south from Cortland, New York. After Martin Chapin and Laura Anne Benjamin were married on June 16, 1850, the couple moved down South because of Martin’s health (a lung condition). The Chapins were living in Columbia, South Carolina when Martin's doctor suggested he to move to the Piney Woods area. He bought property in this area, and over the years Chapin bought 4,218 acres. He built a home in Piney Woods and later a hotel in the 1880s along the new rail line that ran from Columbia, South Carolina to Laurens, South Carolina.The railroad provided a way to trade and transport goods to the capital city. Cotton and the lumber industry were flourishing with the railroad providing transportation . After Martin’s death on August 31, 1894, Laura Chapin sold their Chapin home and moved into the Chapin hotel.
On March 28, 1907, Job S. Wessinger, P.M. Frick, and J. S. Honeycut founded the Bank of Chapin. One year later the building for the bank was built. The bank prospered with help from the railroad.
During World War I, Chapin was doing well economically. The price of cotton had risen and the farmers were making plenty of money. As a result, The Bank of Chapin was also thriving during this time. In addition, the first high school was built in 1924.
Slowly the businesses in Chapin were starting to experience hard times nearing the 1930s. On Thursday, October 15, 1931 the Bank of Chapin did not open, and like other banks around the world, the Bank of Chapin would not let allow customers to withdraw their money. Anybody who had money saved in the bank lost that money due to the crash of the stock market, later known as the start of the Great Depression. Another disaster to hit Chapin was the building of the dam on the Saluda River that would result in the building of a lake. This lake would take over most of the Chapin families’ farm and homeland. The building of the dam was started in 1927.
In the midst of the Great Depression Chapin started a recreational team sport of baseball. In 1935, the Dutch Fork League was formed where Chapin had its own team. This team helped the unemployed men occupy their time during these difficult times. These baseball games attracted thousands of people.
The midpoint in Chapin’s history is the 1940s. During this period Chapin grew through improvements on the school and opening new businesses. One new business that came to Chapin was filling stations. The next business was a cabinet shop called E. A. Frick and Son. Chapin also built paved roads, a baseball field and established the public library. In 1950 the first post office building was constructed, along with new telephone services.
The 1960s were about new and better services. Garbage collection was an issue in the 60s, so the town government bought land and built a landfill. Transportation was the next service provided by access to an interstate. On September 7, 1960 a section of the interstate was opened between Columbia and Pomaria, South Carolina. The interstate made Chapin more accessible. Streets in town were also improved. Another improvement of the 60s was the new water system. Later during 1965 a volunteer fire department was organized. Then in 1966, the town had its first ambulance. Chapin also started growing in population as more people moved to Chapin in the 1960s.
During the 1970s new schools were built. Chapin football also became a community event because the school football team won two state championships in 1973 and 1974. Also in the 70s churches in the town of Chapin were growing by establishment of Chapin Baptist Church, St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, and Lake Murray Presbyterian Church.