The History of Meggett
Meggett received its charter from South Carolina on January 9, 1905, and was incorporated as a town with a Mayor-Council form of government on September 9, 1976.
In the early 1900s, Meggett was a thriving little town. Its economy was mainly based on the farming industry surrounding it. A spur of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad ran through Meggett and terminated at a large wharf on Yonges Island near the Atlantic. Farmers shipped produce by water and by rail.
Several of the truck farmers, whose main crops were cabbage and potatoes, formed a consortium for the marketing of their produce and named it the South Carolina Produce Association. In Meggett, they built a handsome brick office building to house their organization. Some of the founding members of the association were William Henry Blitch, John William Geraty, Charles Walker Geraty, Daniel Towles and Francis Towles. The building was constructed shortly after World War I, probably in 1920 or 1921. There was a sizeable office staff which communicated with produce brokers nationwide by ticker tape and telephone. Employees included R.L. Hughes, Bagot Searson, Edmond Strobel and Garnet Blauvelt. These are still familiar names in the area.
A small two-story wing at the rear of the building housed the telephone operator for the entire community (Meggett, Yonges Island, Ravenel, Adams Run, and the area that would become Hollywood). Everyone referred to the operator as “Central.” The telephone system was fairly efficient and consisted of a number of party lines. There were usually eight to 10 subscribers on each party line, each with a distinctive hand-cranked number of rings. For example, one long followed by three short rings was the number remembered by Florence Geraty Pommering for her house.
The Produce Association existed until the mid-1930s. Two rooms at the end of the first floor hall were used by Charleston County for a branch library. The Librarian was Mrs. Ethel Mixson, and the library, which was open six days a week, was well patronized by young and old.
A very large office at the right front of the first floor housed the Exchange Bank, which was established by Charles Walker Geraty. He started the bank because there were no financial institutions in southern Charleston County and also to give his wife, Bessie, who was grieving after the death of their only child, a project. They operated the bank together for 30 years. It was one of the very few banks in South Carolina to remain in operation during the Great Depression. It ultimately merged with one of the large bank chains in the early 1950s.
From the ’20s to the ’60s, there was a row of about four smaller joined brick buildings, one of which housed the SPCA. Only the Meggett Post Office, now the Town Hall, remains. Across the street were a large packing shed and a small train station, which were a beehive of activity as the twice-a-day train brought passengers and mail and took away produce. At one time Meggett was the cabbage capital of the world, shipping millions of cabbage seedlings a day all over the country. The Boarding House, also across the street from the Produce Building, still stands as a private home. Business visitors and dove hunters from the North stayed here in the heydays of Meggett.
In this period there was a handsome columned school which was demolished many years ago. Meggett had two grocery stores, a movie theater, Dodd’s blacksmith and farm implement repair, Wilson’s Mercantile, A H Connelly’s and HB Baldwin’s auto repair shops, W B Searson’s Merchandise, Anderson’s General Merchandise, Jordan’s Music House and the Meggett Drug Company.
A December 1924 newspaper ad invites all to the Annual Christmas Dance with continuous music by the Carolina Roamers Full Orchestra to benefit the Meggett High School Improvement Association. Lasting from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. and with refreshments, the admission was 50 cents for men, or $2 if they planned on dancing — but ladies were admitted free. The ad mentioned that roads from Bamberg, Holly Hill, Summerville and Charleston were all in splendid condition.