Hamburg, Aiken County, South Carolina

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Hamburg, SC as shown in Mills' Atlas, 1825

The ghost town of Hamburg, South Carolina, was once a thriving upriver market located in Edgefield District (now Aiken County). It was founded by Henry Shultz in 1821, across the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia, in direct competition with that city (Cordle 1940:82). In its heyday, 60,000 bales of cotton worth $2,000,000 were brought by wagon to Hamburg each year (Chapman 1897:237). This cotton continued by pole boat or steam boat to the ports of Charleston or Savannah for subsequent shipment to manufacturers in New England or Europe.

During his American tour as 'Guest of the Nation', the Marquis de Lafayette visited Hamburg on March 24, 1825 (Cashin 1980:86). Hamburg received another boost when it became the western terminus of the South Carolina Railroad. This was the world's first railroad in the modern pattern. Providing scheduled steam service over 136 miles of line from Charleston to Hamburg, it was the world's longest at its completion in 1833 (Derrick 1930:58-59).

With the Augusta Canal (1848) and general expansion of railroads in the 1850s, strenuous overland hauls to Hamburg became unnecessary and the famous wagon traffic declined (Chapman 1897:238). Hamburg became a ghost town by the time of the Civil War (Chapman 1897:20).

Remnants of Hamburg, SC in 1921 (on the river above "B M 122")

Hamburg was repopulated and governed by freedmen until the Hamburg Massacre of July 8, 1876, after which the town declined for good (Vandervelde 1999:154). Augusta began construction of a river levee after a 1911 flood (Cashin 1980:210), but Hamburg remained unprotected, and particularly disastrous floods finally forced out the last residents in 1929[citation needed]. There are no visible remains of the original Town of Hamburg.

Site of Hamburg, SC viewed from Augusta, GA. The road bridge is on the same location as Henry Shultz's 1814 bridge, and the broken piers carried the South Carolina Rail Road from 1854 to 1908


Occasionally styled as Hamburgh (especially after The War), the town was named after Shultz's home town in Germany, and was located at 33.4799°N, 81.9579°W directly across the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia. Population at its peak in the 1840s reached 2,500 (Haskel 1843:257), and exceeded 1,000 in the 1870s (Budiansky 2008). For the most part the town was on the Savannah River floodplain. Under protection of the Clarks Hill Dam and Lake, adjacent North Augusta has begun to grow back over old Hamburg.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Florida Governor James Emilius Broome". National Governors Association. Retrieved Sep 2013. 
  2. ^ "PARROTT, Marcus Junius, (1828 - 1879)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved Sep 2013. 
  • Haskel, Daniel (1843). Descriptive and Statistical Gazetteer of the United States of America. Sherman & Smith. ISBN 0-8063-4696-5. 
  • Chapman, John A. (1897). History of Edgefield County, South Carolina. Various Reprints. ISBN 0-8063-4696-5.  pp. 20 and 236-243
  • Derrick, Samuel Melanchthon (1930). Centennial History of South Carolina Railroad. State Company, Columbia, SC. 
  • Cordle, Charles G. (1940). Henry Shultz and the Founding of Hamburg, South Carolina. Studies in Georgia History and Government. University of Georgia Press.  pp. 79–93 and 257-263
  • Cashin, Edward J. (1980). The Story of Augusta. Various Reprints. ISBN 0-87152-452-X. 
  • Vandervelde, Isabel (1999). Aiken County: The Only South Carolina County Founded During Reconstruction. Reprint Company Publishers. ISBN 0-87152-517-8. 
  • Budiansky, Stephen (2008). The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox. Viking Penguin. ISBN 0-670-01840-6. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°29′N 81°57′W / 33.483°N 81.950°W / 33.483; -81.950