Alcolu, South Carolina

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Alcolu, South Carolina
Census-designated place & Unincorporated community (CDP)
Alcolu, South Carolina is located in South Carolina
Alcolu, South Carolina
Alcolu, South Carolina
Coordinates: 33°45′04″N 80°12′51″W / 33.75111°N 80.21417°W / 33.75111; -80.21417Coordinates: 33°45′04″N 80°12′51″W / 33.75111°N 80.21417°W / 33.75111; -80.21417
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Clarendon
 • Total 4.570 sq mi (11.84 km2)
 • Land 4.549 sq mi (11.78 km2)
 • Water 0.021 sq mi (0.05 km2)
Elevation 125 ft (38 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total 455
 • Density 100/sq mi (38/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 29001
Area code(s) 803
GNIS feature ID 1230998[2]

Alcolu is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Clarendon County, South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, its population was 429.[3] Alcolu has a post office with ZIP code 29001, which opened on August 17, 1888.[4][5]


Alcolu was established between 1885 and 1890 by D.W. Alderman as a small mill town that housed the employees of his timber company and lumber mill. The name Alcolu is derived from “AL” for Alderman, “CO” for Coldwell (a friend), and “LU” for Lula, the only daughter of the Aldermans at that time.

When it was built, Alcolu was a company town where everybody worked in one of the various businesses of D.W. Alderman & Sons. The business grew to encompass logging operations, a saw mill, planing mill, hosiery mill, flooring mill, and extensive farming and cattle ranching. They also ran a cotton gin, hotel, company store, and several other businesses.

Over time, the company also helped found schools, churches, built baseball fields, an electric plant, and a telephone system for the town. D.W. Alderman also founded the Alcolu Railroad, the Paroda Railroad, and built the Alcolu railroad depot. The Alcolu Post Office was established on August 17, 1888. Algernon Coldwell was appointed as its first Postmaster.

Company employees were paid in babbits, a metal coin stamped with an “A”, that could be used in the company store. There they could buy groceries, see the doctor, get a haircut, or watch a show in the 200 seat auditorium upstairs. In 1919, company opened the 'Alderman 20 Stores in One' in nearby Manning. It was one of the first department stores in South Carolina and boasted of having the first elevator in town.

In 1947, the mill was sold by the Alderman family to the Southern Coatings & Chemical Company and the Williams Furniture Company. They, in turn, were later bought by the Georgia Pacific company in 1968. Georgia Pacific continued its operations in Alcolu until 2000, when the mill was finally closed. According to the 2010 census, the unincorporated town of Alcolu had a population of 429 people.