Conway is one of the oldest communities in South Carolina, with roots that run as far back as the 1600s. At this time, the British were settling the area around Charleston. In the ensuing years, the royal governor of South Carolina endeavored to expand into and settle the surrounding territory. The town of Conway, then called Kingston, was designed by 1732 and completed in 1734. It was planned inland, set along the banks of the beautiful Waccamaw River, west of the ocean, and abutting present day Myrtle Beach.
Conway is known as South Carolina’s Historic River Town. The richness of its past, and location along with the abundance of live oak trees, lend it lasting charm. The town’s residents fought in the American Revolution, and General Frances Marion, immortalized in history books as the “Swamp Fox,” and his troops, stayed here on their way to the battle of Black Mingo. In the late 1700s, Kingston became Conwayborough, in honor of General Robert Conway of the South Carolina State Militia. It was shortened to Conway in 1883, and became incorporated as a city in 1898. Today, it is the county seat of all of Horry County, with a population of 23,000.
Most of Conway’s downtown area construction dates to the early 1900s, when the city was rebuilt following a wide scale fire. Today, many of the city’s buildings and structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the City Hall building– designed by architect Robert Mills, who also designed the Washington Monument. In the 1980s, Conway was imbued with new life and industry with the implementation of the Main Street USA project, an extensive renovation of the downtown area.
Today, the Riverwalk, a highlight of the renovation, is a popular place to come for an evening stroll, with its lovely, tree-lined path that winds along the Waccamaw River and throughout the city— upscale restaurants dotting the way. The downtown area is now home to many shops, antique stores, and cafes interspersed with the quintessentially Southern live oak trees. And history buffs can visit the Horry County Museum which has art and historical exhibits relating to Horry County’s cultural past. There are area walking tours offering tales of the areas buildings and structures, and riverboat cruises. You can even visit a family farm from the early 1900s, the L.W. Paul Historical Farm. Conway hosts many festivals and events throughout the year, including the annual Conway Riverfest.