Lake City is located in Florence County, just north of the Williamsburg County line on US 52.
Around 1750, a community formed in the area because it was on a road that ran between Kingstree to the south and Cheraw to the north. Later, another road between Georgetown and Camden was made to cross the older road, forming a crossroads.
The community at this intersection was first called McCrea’s Crossroads, and later, Graham’s Crossroads. The town was chartered in 1874 as Graham, but the name was changed a few years later to Lynches Lake. Because there was another Post Office in South Carolina by this name, the town changed its name a final time in 1883 to Lake City in honor of a nearby fishing lake.
Lake City’s heritage is that of a successful agricultural market. At the turn of the 20th century, the town led the state in strawberry production and developed one of the South Carolina’s busiest tobacco markets. In the 1930s, Lake City held the record for the largest bean market in the world and today houses a community museum in the historic market building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Dr. Ronald McNair, one of the astronauts who died in the 1986 launch of the space shuttle, Challenger, was a native of Lake City.