Conway, South Carolina, (population 15,000) is located in Horry County, on the Waccamaw River. Its first inhabitants were the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Indians. The British founded the town, then known as Kingston, in 1732.
During the Revolutionary War, Francis Marion, known as the “Swamp Fox,” had an encampment near Kingston across the Waccamaw River, and engagements took place nearby. In 1801, the General Assembly changed the town’s name to Conwayborough to honor Revolutionary War veteran Colonel Robert Conway. The name was shortened to Conway in 1883.
In the 1860s and 1870s, Conway’s lumber, turpentine, and naval store industries thrived, and riverboats provided transportation along the Waccamaw. In 1887, the railroad reached Conway, and the present-day downtown was built in the early 1900s.
Many buildings in Conway are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including City Hall, built in 1825, which was designed by Robert Mills, the architect of the Washington Monument. Since the completion of Conway’s Main Street USA project in the 1980s, the city’s downtown has been revitalized, including the development of the Riverwalk, which follows a stretch of the Waccamaw.
Conway’s visitor center is located in the restored Quattlebaum Office Building (circa 1860) in the heart of the city’s historic district. Guided walking tours explore such themes as historic churches, the Civil War, Horry County courthouses, cemeteries, women of Conway, and National Register of Historic Places sites. The Horry County Museum is in downtown Conway and features monthly exhibits by local artists in addition to historical and regional exhibits.
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2008.