Irmo is the place to be in the 21st Century.  Having developed as a serendipitous meeting place of  rivers, Indian trails, The Irmo Okra Strut.  Irmo, South Carolina.railroads and interstate highways, it is situated on the shores of Lake Murray only ten miles from Columbia, the capital of South Carolina.

Location, history and people have inspired a tradition of excellence culminating in a suburban success story.  As recently as the early 1970's, this was a sleepy little town of around 500 people.  Today Irmo is on of the most sought after places in which to live.

The Cherokee Indians first roamed the waterways and woodlands of this area, following the Cherokee Trail in Central South Carolina long the west bank of the Saluda River.  Spanish explorers passed through in the 1500's.

German/Swiss immigrants were the first westerners to settle the area bounder by the Broad and Saluda Rivers and extending to the Newberry County line.  These "Deutsch" (Germans) discovered the misnamed "Dutch Fork" in the mid-1700's after having received land grants of approximately 200 acres each from the English King, Small, self-sufficient farms were established in spite of the rocky, red clay which was unsuitable for plantation farming.  Homes were simple structures of unpainted hear pine.

The neighborly community's peace was devastated by General Sherman's March to the sea.  Lorick house built in 1840.  Now Lake Murray Visitors Center.Looting, burning, slaughter and destruction defined February, 1865, for Dutch Fork inhabitants.  One of the few antebellum homes to escape Sherman was the Lorick Home, whose owners extinguished the fire the departing officers set as they broke encampment there. 

This historical house is now located near the intersection of Lake Murray Boulevard (Highway 60) and Highway 6 and is used as the Lake Murray Tourism office.

The origin of the place name "Irmo" tells the story of the railroad's influence.  The town was incorporated in 1890 and grew up along the tracks of the Columbia Newberry and Laurens railroad on the high ridge between the rivers.  The site was chosen because it was the precise distance from Columbia for refueling the wood-burning locomotives.Irmo South Carolina 

The Columbia Register of Jan 15, 1890 stated that the Columbia, Newberry and Laurens Railroad had begun work on the first depot of the new railroad at Irmo, 10 miles from Columbia in Lexington County.

The lumber for the new railroad, including crossties, Broad River Trestle wood work and depots for stations along the line, came from the sawmills of the Piedmont, Land Improvement & Investment Co. (The Piedmont Co.)  located 12 miles from Columbia.  The October 2, 1899 edition of The News and Courier of Charleston reported that the Piedmont Co. owned and developed a town site on the new railroad about 11 miles from Columbia and had the new town or Irmo laid out.  Irmo legally became a town on Christmas Eve of 1890.

Irmo Professional Center.  Irmo, South Carolina.


The distances of 10,11 and 12 miles from Columbia represented mile markers from the location of the CN&L Railroad depot at 630 Gervais St. in Columbia.  Today these markers are located respectively 100 feet south of Irmo Town Hall, directly in front of S&T equipment Co. and halfway between North Royal Tower Road's juncture with Woodrow Street and Friarsgate Plaza. The town was named by combining the first two letters of the names of two railroad company men, C.J. Iredell and H.C. Moseley.

The next major change for Irmo occurred a quarter of a century later when the largest earthen dam in the world was built across the Saluda River.  This dam formed the lake which came to be called Lake Murray, after William S. Murray, one of the dam's engineers,  Heavy equipment and construction supplies came in by rail though the Irmo station.  The modern-day events causing Irmo's rapid development was construction of I-26 adjacent to Irmo about 1960 and the intersection of I-20 a few years later.  Once again, location was important to destiny.
Old photo of Irmo High School Class.Formal education began here in the 1800's with a one room school located near the present Irmo Elementary School. Now part of the award winning School District 5 of Lexington & Richland counties, Irmo educates its many talented young people at eleven elementary schools, four middle schools, Chapin, Crossroads, Dutch Fork and Irmo, three High Schools, Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo, and one Alternative Academy.  Midlands Technical College is also located in Irmo on the campus of the former Harbison Junior College.  Mathias - Lown house - Irmo, South Carolina.

The town's administrative offices are located on Woodrow Street in the Mathias/Lown house.  It was moved to its present site and restored as part of the Centennial Celebration in 1990.
Click here to see the Irmo Town Hall

An annual event, the Okra Strut is a parade and festival used for a variety of community projects.  Thousands come to Irmo in the early fall for a weekend of live music, arts and crafts displays and an okra eating contest.  The Green Giant, Okra Man, also makes his yearly visit, eagerly agreeing to be photographed with visitors to the Irmese fair.  Travel & Leisure magazine named the Okra Strut as one of the top 10 Food Festivals in the U.S.A.

Today, Irmo means excellent schools, municipal services, recreational opportunities, health services and dynamic businesses such as those in and around Columbiana Centre, a regional shopping mall and the largest in the midlands.  Over 400 members comprise the rapidly growing Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce, which is focused on the future development of Irmo.  The Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce operates a Tourist/Information Center at 1246 Lake Murray Boulevard - Maps, brochures and development information are available as well as promotion video of the Greater Irmo area.


Irmo Town Park.  Irmo, South Carolina.

Irmo, South Carolina.

Designed By Scott Krause