Did you know that the City of North Augusta was preceded by three other towns that were located in the general area of North Augusta?
The first town was Savannah Town settled by the English about 300 years ago. It was located below the Fifth Street Bridge and was one of the most important Indian trading centers in South Carolina. At the time, it was considered the end of the civilized world and the gateway to the relatively unknown lands of the Indian nations as far west as the Mississippi River. Fur traders shipped their goods from Savannah Town to Charles Town where they were shipped to England. The town failed when enterprising merchants set up trading posts on the Georgia side of the river to intercept the goods from the west before they reached Savannah Town. The town died after only 50 years due to this intense competition from its neighbor and rival across the river.
Campbell Town, founded by John Hammond over 200 years ago, was the second town settled in the area on the Savannah River just below the rapids. It was also established as a trading center for furs, other goods, and tobacco. Campbell Town prospered for about 60 years before the lucrative tobacco market started to slip to the Georgia side of the river due to increasing competition between tobacco warehouse owners. In fact, the General Assembly of Georgia, seated in Augusta, took legal steps to establish Augusta as a tobacco center. Competition between tobacco growers and warehouse owners grew so intense that river boat ferries were destroyed, John Hammond was killed, and his house was burned. With the tobacco and fur trade bypassing Campbell Town, the town did not survive.
The third town, Hamburg, was founded by Henry Shultz about 150 years ago. It was the home dock of a thriving steamboat business between Hamburg and Charleston, and in five years had grown into a flourishing town. The down river tobacco and cotton trade was so good that Charleston merchants financed and built a railroad from Charleston to Hamburg. Mr. Shultz built a 26 mile plank road all the way to Edgefield to enable the wagons to keep moving during the rainy season. After only 20 years, Hamburg had become a boom town. It is recorded that it wasn’t uncommon to find several hundred wagons backed up on the plank road to deliver their goods to Hamburg. At that time, Augusta businessmen started devising ways to take business away from Hamburg. The Augusta canal was built to allow upcountry planters to use the river and pass above the rapids into Augusta. The final death to Hamburg came when the railroad built a trestle bridge to Augusta changing Hamburg from being a terminal point to just a stop along the way to Augusta. After about 50 years, Hamburg, like its predecessors, perished.
In 1902, James U. Jackson, who as a boy envisioned a new town in the bluff areas above the flood plains, developed the plans for 600 acres that would make up the new town. He hired the best designers from New York to design this new town–North Augusta. Critics in Augusta told him that, since the Fifth Street bridge would be the only access to the town and people would have to travel through the slums of what remained of Hamburg to get to the new town, nobody would be interested in going there. James Jackson was a visionary and continued to pursue the vision he had for the town. He traveled to New York to get financial backing and built a new bridge to North Augusta–the Thirteenth Street/Georgia Avenue bridge. The town of North Augusta became a reality and was incorporated in 1906.
The original land area was approximately 722 acres. In 1951, the City held a referendum and extended its boundaries to an area of 5,139 acres. Since 1951, the City has annexed over 6,000 acres, bringing the total land area to approximately 19.5 square miles. North Augusta is located in Aiken County in the southwestern portion of South Carolina and 67 miles west of Columbia, the State capitol. The Savannah River forms the State line between South Carolina and Georgia. The City’s nearest neighbor is Augusta, Georgia, located just across the Savannah River.
The best part of the past remains in North Augusta today, blended with a modern outlook to create a unique community that has pride in its commitment to be independent and self reliant with a deep sense of togetherness and achievement.