West Columbia’s Riverwalk signs reveal our history

The culture of an area can be characterized by its rivers. And that is true of the Congaree River that runs between West Columbia, Cayce and Columbia. The waterway was once a lifeline to the Port of Georgetown, where ships from other parts of the world docked, and unloaded cargo for distribution.

Present-day, the story of the river’s history is told by signs along West Columbia’s Riverwalk. The signs were upgraded and replaced along with restoration of Riverwalk after the 2015 floods that damaged so much of the riverside path.

“The signs tell so much about our history,” said Anna Huffman, West Columbia’s public information officer. “It was great to have them replaced when Riverwalk was repaired after the flood. The signs are such an enhancement to the whole Riverwalk experience.”

The signs describe a ferry that existed before the days of a bridge and an inn that was once the epicenter for community gathering. Both are from the 1700s.

Another sign bears the details of the riverboat “SS Columbia” its anchor and remnants still on site.

There are mile markers and a water-level gauge, all characterized by the signs. There are also paintings in the Riverwalk restrooms by the Saluda Academy for the Arts K-through-fifth-grade students. The paintings express the students’ interpretation of the wildlife that makes the river, and its banks, home.

The best way to see all the other signs, many of which not mentioned, is to take a stroll down Riverwalk and see for yourself.

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