Walterboro is a city in Colleton County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 5,398 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Colleton County. Walterboro is located 48 miles (77 km) west of Charleston and is located near the ACE Basin region in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
|Walterboro, South Carolina|
E. Washington Street in downtown Walterboro
|Motto: The Front Porch of the Lowcountry|
Location of Walterboro, South Carolina
Walterboro (originally spelled "Walterborough") was founded in 1783 as a summer retreat for local planters looking to escape their malaria-ridden, Lowcountry plantations. The original settlement was located on a hilly area, covered with pine and hickory trees and named "Hickory Valley". Two of the earliest settlers were Paul and Jacob Walter. The two brothers owned plantations in nearby Jacksonboro. Paul's small daughter Mary was taken ill withmalaria, a common disease amongst the families who built their plantations in the marshy areas of the Lowcountry, suitable to rice production. To save Mary's life the two brothers went looking for a more healthy location in which to live during the summer months and started the town that was later named for them. In 1817, Walterboro was named the third county seat of Colleton County, and has remained such until the present. This was followed by the construction of a county courthouse and jail in 1821, the courthouse being design by well-known architect Robert Mills. The town quickly spread out from the original Hickory Valley location, its population growth fueled successively by the town becoming the county seat in 1821, the establishment of a railroad line connecting the city with Columbia and Charleston in the 1880s, the establishment of an airfield in the 1930s and more recently the establishment of Interstate 95 in the 1960s, making the town a prime overnight stop on the road to Floridaor New York.
In 1942, Walterboro became home to the Walterboro Army Air Field, a sub-base of Columbia Army Air Base and part of the overall network of army air training facilities that sprang up across the US during World War II. The base was established to provide advanced air combat training to fighter and bomber groups. It also hosted the largest camouflage school in the United States, as well as a 250-person prisoner of war camp. In 1944 the airfield changed commands and became an advanced combat training base for individual fighters, primarily the black trainees graduating from Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama. Over 500 of the famed Tuskegee Airmen trained at Walterboro Army Air Field between April 1944 and October 1945, including individuals training as replacement pilots for the 332nd Fighter Squadron and the entire 447th Bombardment Group. The base closed in October 1945 and returned to its origins as a local airfield.
Today Walterboro is dotted with historic homes dating back to 1820, and a charming downtown that has kept many of its historic buildings. The city has become increasingly known as an antiquing destination and is a popular day trip from Charleston and Beaufort.
Walterboro is located somewhat north of the center of Colleton County at Interstate 95passes west of the city, leading northeast 110 miles (180 km) to Florence and southwest 67 miles (108 km) to Savannah, Georgia. The southern terminus of U.S. Route 15 is in the center of Walterboro; it leads north, running roughly parallel to I-95, reaching St. George in 21 miles (34 km). U.S. Route 17 Alt leads east from US 15 32 miles (51 km) to Summerville in the Charleston vicinity and southwest 21 miles (34 km) to Yemassee. South Carolina Highway 64 leads northwest past I-95 Exit 57 25 miles (40 km) to Ehrhardt and southeast 16 miles (26 km) to Jacksonboro. (32.904289, -80.666238).
According to the United States Census Bureau, Walterboro has a total area of 6.5 square miles (16.8 km2), all land.