The small town of Cope is located in Orangeburg County. It is named for farmer Jacob Martin Cope, who sold a portion of his land in the 1890s to be used for the town and train depot. The Manchester & Augusta Railroad was established here in 1894, and the tracks were later used by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.
Once the railroad brought people and commerce to Cope, the town began to develop. Before long Cope had two churches, general stores such as the still-beloved Vallentines Store, a grist mill, and a cotton gin. This rapid development is proof of just how important railroads were to early growth in our state.
Though Cope ceased being a railroad stop in the 1960s, history lovers still flock to the community for ginning demonstrations at the Vallentines Store and Gin as well as to see artifacts in the former store, which has become a museum of sorts.
On Saturday, October 8, 2017 Hurricane Matthew roared through South Carolina, leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Sadly, the Cope cotton gin was demolished by the storm, as seen below.
Despite the loss of the depot and gin, Cope remains a beautiful agricultural town with home-town pride and living history.