“The Hub of the Ridge”
A stop on the Heritage Corridor between Edgefield and Aiken, Johnston is the center of an agricultural area which produces about sixty percent of South Carolina’s peaches. Other crops grown in the area are cotton, strawberries, Christmas trees, melons, soybeans and small grains.
Johnston has a number of buildings representing types of Victorian architecture. The three-block commercial area on Calhoun Street was built between 1888 and 1920 (Walking Tour PDF). Maxwell and Halford Drug Store, built in 1904, has a working soda fountain. Across Lee Street at 502 Calhoun Street is the Los Tapatios Restaurant. In the center of that block, at 524 Calhoun Street, is Papa’s Pizza. Half a block east, on the corner of Mims and Calhoun, is the Murphy’s Restaurant. All these restaurants are housed in interesting old commercial buildings. The commercial district also features antique shops, gift shops, and jewelry stores.
A stop at the Johnston Visitors Center, 420 Calhoun Street, will give access to a printed walking tour of Johnston and other tourist literature.
A Brief History of Johnston
Johnston is called The Hub of the Ridge because it is located at the meeting place of the three river systems which flow away from the Ridge, a fertile plateau about thirty miles long between clay hills to the north and sand hills to the south. The area has been settled since the mid-1700’s. In 1791 as George Washington traveled through the area on his triumphant tour through the country, he stopped at the Lott family plantation, just east of Johnston.
In the late 1860s, the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad expanded westward from Columbia to Augusta. Edward Jones Mims, M.D., persuaded William Johnston, president of the railroad, to run the railroad through the 1200-acre Mims plantation. In return, Dr. Mims agreed to name the new town for Mr. Johnston.
In the early 1900s, the peach industry became successful in this area. Today, the Ridge produces about sixty percent of South Carolina’s peaches.
Visit Johnston – Walking Tour and take a scroll through town or visit one of the many stores and restaurants. It will surely be a discovery that will not be forgotten!