Pageland is located in northwestern Chesterfield County, halfway between Chesterfield and Lancaster. A few families settled in the area as early as 1788, but the town itself was not chartered until the Cheraw-Lancaster Railroad built a depot here in 1904.
The railroad brought significant commerce to the area, and new businesses – such as the Blakeney Hotel, which primarily served train passengers – cropped up and created an economic boom for the community.
In 1907, 157 residents signed a petition to incorporate the area and named it Pageland after Adolphus High “Dolly” Page. Page was the C&L engineer responsible for bringing the railroad through town.
After the Great Depression, Pageland, like most small communities, suffered a devastating economic blow. As a result, the Works Progress Administration went to work creating public buildings across the country and putting local residents to work in the process. This gymnasium, built of local stone, was one such project and likely went up around 1933, the same year neighboring Mount Croghan received a similar WPA structure.
Despite the harsh economic setbacks experienced in the 1930s, Pageland is a surviving town. Though the railroad ceased operations in the 1940s, Pageland’s close proximity to Charlotte still brings many travelers its way. Several large industries and distribution centers have set up shop in Pageland, and there is a collection of small businesses downtown.
Importantly, this rural community is also home to many farms, such as the one pictured above. Its sandy soil is particularly well-suited for growing melons and peaches. Known as the “Watermelon Capital of the World,” Pageland hosts the Watermelon Festival each July to celebrate this delicious summertime treat.
Johnny Simmons says
I am 74 and I came to the Pageland Market many times with my dad when I was a little boy, and it was one of the greatest joys in my life. I am confused about one thing you spoke of: Neal Shoals, where I fished many a times over the years. The Neal Shoals where I fished was located behind Babe Adam’s store in Santuc, SC. It has a small dam and lake behind it, but the dam was a high dam – 40 to 50 feet high – but not much water. Are we talking about two Neal Shoals dams? The dam I am talking about was at Santuc which was about halfway between Lockhart and Carlisle, South Carolina. Would love to have your input and if I am wrong, please correct me.
Kenneth Lowery says
I was born and raised in the town of Pageland during the ’60s. It was still under the Jim Crow laws and the only income for most of us was from picking cotton or working in the watermelon fields. The other side of Pageland is called Petersburg (Peter Blakeney) where most of the black residents lived. The true history and pictures of Petersburg has been overlooked but it does exist. Numerous books have been written about the layout of the current town which was denied a charter to be incorporated and was considered outside the city limits of Pageland until 1980. The oldest resident there today is still driving at the age of 100. God has blessed her with wisdom and knowledge beyond current clean-cut history.
Al Smarr says
Nice scene. We had a “summer place” on the West Bank of the Broad River at Neal Shoals, SC (my paternal grandmother’s inheritance from the Crown before US was a country) and the last time I visited the ‘approach’ (from Carlisle), the paper company which bought all that land up had cleared the native mixed hardwood and softwood trees, and planted all the same kind in their place. It looked like a landscape from another planet. Might make an interesting (if not uplifting photo) if still that way … haven’t been back in years.