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The Story of Ketchuptown, SC

Ketchuptown, South Carolina, a hamlet that brings to mind images of burgers and fries, actually has nothing to do with the condiment.

This unique locale situated between Loris and Galivants Ferry is drenched in rich history, not tomato sauce. So let’s delve into the mystique surrounding this peculiarly named community.

The Name: A Community Catch-up

Contrary to the saucy implications, the name Ketchuptown actually originated from the “catch-up” meetings local farmers would attend.

Nestled at the intersection of Lake Swamp Road and S.C. 26, the general store owned by Herbert “Hub” Small became a communal gathering spot in the 1920s. Farmers would frequently say, “Let’s go catch up on the news,” trekking on horseback or by foot to Hub’s establishment.

A Humble Beginning

Herbert Small bought an acre of land at the northwest corner of the town’s main intersection for a mere $100. He constructed both a house and a general store, offering goods ranging from clothing and food to ice and hardware.

With no paved roads and travel mainly by horse and buggy, Ketchuptown was a rustic slice of life in early 20th-century America.

A Step into Modernity

It wasn’t until 1938 that electricity found its way to this corner of South Carolina, and paved roads followed in the 1950s.

Before then, the swampy terrain was navigated via wooden bridges, and the area was colloquially referred to as “Over the Swamp,” depending on which side you resided.

A Bustling Hub

During Ketchuptown’s peak, the general store wasn’t just a point of commerce; it was a vibrant community nexus. The lack of affordable newspapers and a population with limited literacy made these catch-up gatherings essential.

A large oak tree near the store served as a hitching post for mules and horses. Additionally, the southeast corner of the key intersection was a popular venue for political stump speeches.

Community Dynamics

Ketchuptown was culturally enriched by immigrants from Sweden and Finland, attracted by timber harvesting opportunities. Square dancing, fiddle music, and even the Charleston dance found their way into local celebrations.

Hub’s entrepreneurial spirit also saw him expand his store twice and venture into selling pork and homemade sausages during World War II.

The Decline and Resilience

After Hub Small passed away in 1949, and as nearby towns like Conway and Loris expanded, the country store in Ketchuptown gradually lost its clientele. But the place still holds its position on the map, standing as a tribute to a bygone era before news was a swipe away.


Though the store’s doors may be closed, the story of Ketchuptown remains open for all to explore. It serves as a nostalgic footprint, capturing a community spirit driven by a desire for connection and catch-up chats, rather than ketchup bottles.