Until the bridge connecting Georgetown to Highway 17 was built in 1935, the Baruchs and their guests arrived at Hobcaw House by a circuitous route. They traveled by train, mainly from New York and Washington, often joining Baruch in his two private rail cars. In the early years, before a train station was built in Georgetown, the first stop was in Lane, South Carolina, thirty miles inland.
Hobcaw staff picked up family and visitors and drove them to the dock in Georgetown, where they boarded one of the Baruchs’ yachts for the journey across Winyah Bay to Hobcaw Barony. In this excerpt from the Baruch home movies, a group of guests, led by Annie Baruch, is leaving Hobcaw Barony.
The construction of the Lafayette Bridge crossing Winyah Bay had a major impact on Hobcaw Barony, Georgetown and the greater Waccamaw Neck. The bridge was built in 1935, replacing a system of ferries and coinciding with the opening of the International Paper Mill in Georgetown. For nearby communities suffering from the effects of the Great Depression, the mill provided desperately-needed jobs and the bridge made getting to them much easier. Of course, it also made it easier for the Baruchs and other visitors to reach Hobcaw Barony. In 1966 the Lafayette Bridge was replaced by the Harold Siau Bridge. A portion of the old Lafayette Bridge still stands and has been converted to the Winyah Bay Fishing and Observation Pier.
At the beginning of the 20th century lumber production dominated the economy of Georgetown County. The Atlantic Coast Lumber Company, incorporated in 1903 with the investment of capital from Boston and New York, became the largest lumber manufacturing company on the East Coast, shipping wood around the country via rail and river. Two of its mills were destroyed by fire in 1913, but the company rebuilt using concrete and steel and occupied 56 acres of the Georgetown waterfront. The Atlantic Coast Lumber Company closed in 1932 and industry in Georgetown began to shift from lumber to paper. In 1936 the Southern Kraft Corporation, a division of International Paper, began construction of a paper mill. The International Paper mill still operates in Georgetown and remains an important source of employment for people in the area.
When the Baruchs rebuilt their home at Hobcaw after a 1929 fire destroyed the Donaldson home, Friendfield House (known affectionately as the Old Relick), they left much of the landscaping in place. It is interesting to compare the 1905 photograph of the Old Relick with this 1950 shot of Hobcaw House. The same live oak tree arches gracefully over the front lawn. The plantings of camellias, azaleas and pyracanthas also date to the Donaldson era and are now, along with the live oaks, more than a hundred years old.