Self Regional Medical Center serves as the referral hospital for the seven South Carolina counties known as the Lakelands. The area is known as the Lakelands because of the four major lakes that are significant recreational features of the area. The Lakelands region is comprised of Greenwood, Abbeville, Edgefield, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda counties.
Each county is described below with a link to more detailed demographic information from the Upper Savannah Council of Governments.
Greenwood (demographic info) (Greenwood Chamber of Commerce)
In 1823, John McGehee Jr. constructed a log house for his bride-to-be on his 600-acre plantation. Legend has it that Mrs. McGehee labeled their summer home “Green Wood” and later gave the name to the small village that cropped up around it.
Chartered in 1857, Greenwood is the ninth largest city in South Carolina, with a population of 22,000. The population of Greenwood County exceeds 62,000. Located in western South Carolina near the middle of the Piedmont Plateau, Greenwood is 74 miles southwest of Columbia, the state capital, and about 50 miles south of Greenville.
Close by is Lake Greenwood, with more than 11,400 acres of sparkling water. Along the 200 miles of shoreline are commercial and public boat landings, bait and tackle shops, fishing piers, picnic and swimming areas, campsites and a variety of restaurants. Lake Greenwood State Park includes 125 campsites on or near the lake. Excellent for fishing, the lake is stocked with more than 280,000 striped bass. It is also an excellent habitat for crappie, perch, bream and catfish.
Each year during June, Greenwood County hosts the South Carolina Festival of Flowers, turning the entire community into a celebration of color. More than 15,000 varieties of flowers are on display at Park Seed’s gardens. Selected as one of Southeast Tourism’s “Top 20” events, the six days of festivities include private garden tours, arts and crafts, sports, flower and horticulture shows and music for all ages.
Greenwood features a 4,800-seat civic center, modern YMCA, a museum, art gallery, railroad historical center and active community theatre program.
Among the products manufactured in the Greenwood area are photographic products, capacitors, fabric, pharmaceuticals, clay products, industrial robotics, nylon, windows, business forms and transportation lighting. FujiFilm’s North American headquarters is in Greenwood. Other major businesses include SC Bio, which works to develop new life science companies, and the Greenwood Genetic Center, which is on the cutting edge of American genetic research.
Greenwood is home to Lander University, a fully accredited four-year coeducational state university offering B.A. and B.S. degrees in more than 60 major and minor areas and a master’s program in elementary education. Lander serves as a cultural center for the area.
Piedmont Technical College is an occupational and technical education center offering courses in health, engineering, industrial, business and public service fields. Two-year associate’s degrees are available in many programs of study.
The town of Ninety Six, located 10 miles southeast of Greenwood, is a hotbed of Revolutionary War history. Reenactments involving period dress, musket firing and encampments take place periodically at Star Fort, a national historical site where a Revolutionary War battle took place.
Fifteen miles to the north is Ware Shoals, home to the annual Catfish Feastival each Memorial Day weekend. The festival features fried catfish, catfish stew, an arts and crafts fair, beauty pageant, a street dance and a variety of music.
Abbeville (demographic info)
Equally historic is the nearby town of Abbeville in Abbeville County. The town has a large National Historic District, with a beautiful town square lined with gift and antique shops, excellent restaurants and the famed Opera House providing live theatre year round. Abbeville County is home to scenic Lake Russell, a freshwater lake located on the Savannah River, as well as Lake Secession.
Edgefield (demographic info)
Also part of the scenic Lakelands area is historic Edgefield County, located south of Greenwood. Edgefield’s scenic town square proudly proclaims to be the home of 10 South Carolina governors and 5 South Carolina lieutenant governors. The town is home to a thriving peach industry, numerous antique shops and has been used as the set for the filming of a major Disney movie.
Laurens (demographic info)
Laurens County’s two major municipalities are Laurens’ county seat and Clinton. More than 61,000 call the county home, and the major industries include ceramics, textile products and automotive parts. Clinton is home to Presbyterian College, an acclaimed four-year liberal arts school. With an interstate highway running through the middle of the county and its close proximity to the metropolitan area of Greenville, Laurens County is experiencing rapid growth.
McCormick (demographic info)
The town of McCormick is listed as one of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in America. The county and town got their name from Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaper and founder of International Harvester. The town is built over gold mines that once belonged to the famous inventor. The major industries in McCormick are logging, farming, textiles, gold mining and tourism. The community is bordered by Lake Thurmond, which includes major residential and recreational developments such as Savannah Lakes Village and Hickory Knob State Park.
Newberry offers a small town charm and a rich heritage. The downtown area is lined with antique shops, boutiques, restaurants and retail stores. The Newberry Opera House has been restored to its original grandeur and offers a variety of world-class entertainment that includes touring Broadway shows as well as ballet and symphony concerts.
Saluda (demographic info)
A largely rural county, Saluda is near the shores of Lake Murray, one more reason the area is known as the Lakelands. The county is home to more than 700 farms, producing agricultural commodities such as eggs and dairy products, peaches, broilers, livestock, soybeans and forest products. James Butler Bonham and William Barrett Travis, both sons of Saluda, were among the heroes who fell at The Alamo.