Williston | South Carolina Public Radio


“W” is for Williston [Barnwell County, population 3,307]. Located on U.S. Highway 78, the town is named for early settlers, the Willis family. In 1832, Elijah Willis, a local planter, donated land for a church, a post office, and a depot on the Charleston to Hamburg route of the new South Carolina Railroad. In the early 20th century, agriculture—primarily cotton and asparagus—formed the economic base for the community. In November 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission announced the coming of the Savannah River Site. The town’s population rose from 869 in 1950 to 10,000 or more during the peak years of the construction of “The Bomb Plant.” By 1960, population had declined to about 2,700, with many construction workers remaining in Williston to work for DuPont at the Savannah River Site.