The history of South Carolina’s man-made lakes includes accounts of entire towns that were moved to make way for the new lakes. In a few cases at least parts of some towns were flooded with buildings having not been moved at all. Such is the case with the state’s largest lake. You may be surprised to learn there’s a fascinating underwater ghost town in Lake Marion and part of it is currently above the waterline.
If you have a boat you can paddle the few hundred yards out to see it in person.
A little more than a hundred years ago, the town of Ferguson was a thriving lumber town on the banks of the Santee River.
Ferguson sprang up after a man from Chicago started a large lumber mill at the site.
The land was actually purchased by two gentlemen from the Windy City. Their names were Francis Beidler (sound familiar?) and Benjamin Franklin Ferguson. But Ferguson died before the mill (and town) were built.When the surviving partner got the mill up and running in 1910, the town’s growth soon followed. Beidler named the town Ferguson after his deceased business partner.
The mill was named the Santee River Cypress Lumber Company. Sadly, only 5 years later in 1915, Biedler lost his eyesight and closed the mill. He died in 1924.
By the 1930s the project to build Lake Marion was well underway. The mill at Ferguson was abandoned by then and was subsequently flooded when Lake Marion was filled with water.
The few surviving details of Ferguson illustrate the mill as being a massive operation.
The town was thriving. It had a church, a hotel and school, among other things. One of the roads leading to the landing from which you can access Ferguson by boat was the old railroad bed for the rails that carried the wood from the lumber company.
Today the most visible signs of this ghost town are easily seen by canoe or kayak. One of the kilns is located on the edge of the “island.”
It juts up proudly out of the water and is an eerie representation of what lies beneath the waters of Lake Marion, at least at this spot on the lake.
The kiln is located on the north side of the island along with a few other above water skeletal remains of this ghost town.
The massive South Carolina drought 10 years ago made it possible to walk the few hundred yards from Ferguson Landing Way to the dried up and exposed ghost town. But today, it’s simply impossible to walk there.
Want to paddle out to see this ghost town for yourself?
The closest access to the ghost town of Ferguson is from Ferguson Landing Way in Eutaw Springs.
There’s a local restaurant and pub at the end of Ferguson Landing Way.
It’s called The Brickyard. Many thanks to them for sharing the above photos of this underwater ghost town on their
The Brickyard is a hidden secret along Lake Marion.
Stop in for their signature steak and potatoes dinner and learn more about the ghost town of Ferguson; where it is, and its history. Bring your canoe or kayak and paddle out to see this fascinating piece of history in person.
Did you know about this underwater ghost town that juts above the water line on Lake Marion? What about other ghost towns? We’d love to hear about either in our comments!