Quality Of Life

Dillon County is located along Interstate 95 and is home to several small Southern towns rich in history and friendly, outgoing residents.   New residents discover what locals have known for generations – that Dillon County is a great place to live, work, play, and most importantly – raise their families.

The Town of Dillon serves as the County Seat of Dillon County and boasts several homes and properties on the National Historic Register.  A stroll or drive downtown beckons one back to the slower-paced days when families met on front porches or took time out to spend time with neighbors or frequented businesses on Main Street.

One place you’ll definitely want to visit is the historic Dillon County Courthouse.  Completed in 1911, the building is one of the few remaining examples of Beaux Arts style and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  The top floor hallway is an interesting display of more than 40 picture depicting the County's history.

The Dillon County Museum is located in the restored office of the late Dr. Henry Edwards. The building was constructed in 1915. His son, Luther, a dentist, operated his practice from the office. The building was deeded to the Dillon County Historical Society by Dr. Luther's daughter, Dr. Carolyn Edwards. In 1996, The Society began the restoration of the office building. The office building and the family residence next door (the first two story house in Latta) are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Museum offers a turn of the twentieth century glimpse of life in Dillon County. Documents, photographs, and other memorabilia trace the history of the area.

Although Dillon and its sister towns of Latta and Lake View are far from being major metropolitan areas, those that locate here find the way of life pleasing and industry that invest in Dillon County find the workforce loyal, hardworking, and easily trainable. 

Dillon County is home to one of the most famous traveler stops on I-95...South of the Border, the unique Mexican-motif mini-resort marked by its sombrero shaped water tower.  For decades millions of visitors have made a stop here on their way to or from Florida or the beaches of nearby Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand – just an hour away. But for thousands, Dillon means “marriage” as the well-known Dillon Marriage Chapel performs over 7,000 a year.  Dillon and its sister towns have also preserved their past with a number of museums and structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hunting in this area is unsurpassed and available most anytime of the year.  There are several hunting preserves and natural areas for the outdoorsman to enjoy year-round.  Whatever you enjoy – from hiking, camping, fishing on lakes or the Little Pee Dee River to deer hunting, to just bird-watching along the many swamps and wetlands areas, Dillon County offers the nature enthusiast and hunter or fisherman a plethora of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.

Dillon  is the home of the 835-acre Little Pee Dee State Park, ideal for hiking, camping, picnicking and fishing.

Named after the blackwater Little Pee Dee River, Little Pee Dee State Park is a subdued setting for those who want to enjoy the park’s natural features or fish the still waters of 54-acre Lake Norton.  Visitors can explore the park’s river swamp, examine features of the Sandhills region and admire an example of the mysterious geological depression unique to the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Carolina Bay.  Guests also enjoy the park’s campground, nature trail and picnic area.

Fishermen appreciate Lake Norton’s ample collection of bream, bass and catfish.  The park’s easy access to Interstate 95 has long made it popular with both travelers and area residents alike.

Housing Opportunities

 

The Columns BB

www.thecolumnsbb.com

Abingdon Manor

www.abingdonmanor.com

Housing and land opportunities are very affordable in Dillon. Within Dillon and the surrounding towns you can find several comfortable and quiet neighborhoods offering a wide selection of traditional and contemporary homes or you can live in the country and still arrive at the medical center within a few minutes.

Living in Dillon County

Living in Dillon provides a relaxed, casual lifestyle with great schools, churches, sports, and cultural activities. With its friendly, close-knit community, Dillon offers a wonderful environment for raising a family, spending time with friends, and enjoying the outdoors. Representing most faiths and denominations, churches in Dillon offer regular worship services, as well as youth group activities. Convenient shopping and banking are available in downtown Dillon in addition to several restaurants, grocery stores, and specialty shops. In addition, Dillon and the surrounding towns are home to 16 antique stores.

Education

Dillon County has three school districts that provide outstanding K-12 public education.  These schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Also located in the county are two private schools, Dillon Christian School and Avalon Academy, each serving grades K-12.

Nearby Florence is home to Francis Marion University and Florence-Darlington Technical College. In addition, Dillon is conveniently located within a short distance of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Northeastern Technical College and Southeastern Technical College.

Dillon is also approximately one and a half hours from Columbia, which is home to the University of South Carolina, and approximately four hours from Clemson University. South Carolina State University, located in Orangeburg, is not far from Charleston which is home of the College of Charleston, the Citadel, Charleston Southern University, and the Medical University of South Carolina.

Climate

Temperatures rarely fall below 30 degrees and any winter snowfall is a treat. Dillon also offers approximately 220 days of sunshine each year allowing residents to take advantage of the outdoors during all four seasons. Given the mild climate, recreational opportunities are abundant in Dillon.

Recreation and Family Activities

 

www.southcarolinaparks.com

Dillon County has a first-class recreational complex, providing tennis courts, baseball/softball fields, jogging tracks and football facilities. All three communities in the county have had championship sports teams and sports fans avidly follow their local athletic events. Twin Lakes Country Club offers numerous social opportunities including an 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool, a restaurant and a ballroom. There are many opportunities for a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, canoeing, boating, camping, hiking, hunting, swimming and picnicking at the Little Pee Dee State Park and along the Little Pee Dee River, which has been designated as a State Scenic River Route through Dillon County.

Arts and Culture

Numerous cultural events take place annually in the three communities – Dillon, Lake View, and Latta – that make up Dillon County. In Dillon, the historic Dillon County Theatre is home to the MacArthur Avenue Players, a local little theatre group, which annually performs a variety of plays. The theater also hosts musicals, concerts and pageants. In addition, the Givens Performing Arts Center, located at UNC-Pembroke, is home to three professional performing arts series and numerous other events.

Dillon also hosts “Dillon County Celebrates Main Street,” a two-day family-oriented event featuring street dances with music by big-name bands, cook-off contests, a car show, and entertainment by local talent – an old-fashioned street fair with something for every age and every taste.

Springfest, a two-day event held in Latta, starts with Jazz music and ends with a classical music concert. Juried art shows, crafts, entertainment, food, and an auction round out the Springfest activities.

Lake View's “Christmas on the Boulevard” includes a Taste of Lake View and a live re-enactment of scenes from biblical Bethlehem.

 If you need additional information about Special Events & Festivals in Dillon County visit the Dillon County Chamber of Commerce Website

History

Dillon County, South Carolina was founded in 1910, carved from Marion County, and named for James W. Dillon (1826-1913), an Irishman who settled there, prospered and headed a local movement to bring in the railroad which resulted in construction of the Wilson Short Cut Railroad (later part of the Atlantic Coastline RR). The county seat was also named for him. 

Swamps and rivers kept this section of the Pee Dee isolated for many years, but the construction of a railroad in the 19th Century brought increased development.  The residents primarily engaged in cotton and tobacco farming and in timber harvesting.

Today, Dillon County is a vibrant, thriving community centered on Interstate 95 and primed for economic growth well into the future.   Our small towns are full of Southern Hospitality and quiet charm with residents that are proud of their heritage, their homes, and welcoming to new residents that now call the County home.

Town of Dillon

Dillon lies in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina along Interstate 95.  The Little Pee Dee River, a tributary of the Pee Dee River, runs through the edge of the city. Dillon gained prosperity when the town's founding fathers allowed the railroad to come through it. Little Rock, (a smaller, neighboring town) was the original choice, but its residents believed the railroad would do more harm than good.

Dillon had the good fortune of being located along a frequently-used railway line, and was at one time a prosperous town, as evidenced by its large and ornate courthouse. Its economy was based on the profitable tobacco- and cotton-production and sales industries, a source of income that has slowly shrunk over the years as production and transport systems for these commodities have become more efficient and less centralized. Now, outside of service industry and state jobs, gainful employment is scarce in Dillon. Despite this, the city infrastructure is well-maintained and there is a large, modern hosital and medical complex--Formerly Saint Eugene Hospital, now McLeod Medical Center of Dillon.

The City of Dillon's population has remained at about 7,000 since the early 1970s, meaning that its population has steadily shrunk proportionally to South Carolina as a whole. This city is a good example of an economic situation found in many smaller cities and towns throughout the United States, in that its geography once made it important in the local/regional economy, but with changes in agriculture, the rise of the interstate highways and interstate trucking, globalization, and the information economy, it has become more or less defunct as an economic entity.

Interstate 95 and South Carolina Highway 9 intersect at Exit 193, with Highway 9 passing through the heart of downtown and becoming part of Main Street for a few miles. Exit 193 is the Exit most used by travelers to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a popular vacation spot. Exit 190, Dillon's second and more-used I-95 exit, was recently named after the Honorable William James "Bill" McLeod, Sr., a WWII veteran, former state Representative, and retired Family Court judge. Dillon also is home to Twin Lakes Country Club. The overpass overlooking the golf course and the once famous rail line is named after William Bledsoe (W.B.) Hawkins, a former State Representative, WWII veteran, and respected attorney.

Town of Latta

Latta, like Dillon, sprang from the coming of the railroad. The nucleus of the town was created in 1888 when the railroad officials decided that a loading station was essential seven miles south of Dillon. Choosing a name for the new station posed a problem as there were several prominent families in the area deserving of the honor, and the railroad officials did not want to show partiality. Finally, the name of Latta was selected out of respect for Robert J. Latta, a native of York, who surveyed the right-of-way for the railroad and made plans for future expansion of the loading point.

Latta grew steadily but more slowly than Dillon. W.W. George erected the first store building in the town and later a dwelling. S.A. McMillan, J.J. Bethea, and D.M. and John L. Dew opened businesses in the town, soon followed by Robert Rose Bethea, E.H. Berry, Lonzo Smith, and others. Many of Latta's early settlers came from the Little Rock section of Dillon County, including the Manning, Hamer, Bethea and Berry families, among others.

Town of Lake View

Located in eastern Dillon County, Lake View was first called Ford's Mill in 1792 after Major William Ford constructed "the lake" and grist mill on the site. The name was changed to Page's Mill in 1870 when Joseph Nichols Page purchased the property from Dr. C.T. Ford and built a large general store to serve the community. The town became incorporated as Page's Mill on February 26, 1907. The town voted to change the name of the town from Page's Mill to Lake View and on May 12, 1916, the town became incorporated as Lake View.  

Moree's Recreation Retreat

 

www.moreesretreat.com

A rare opportunity to enjoy a recreational retreat which compares to few others is represented at Moree’s Retreat, a 150-acre destination outside of Florence, South Carolina. A former summer youth camp and now a Corporate, Family, and Wedding destination, this unique property is a place to relax and reflect, roam and relish nature and rejuvenate the mind and body with fun-filled challenges. Visit website

South of the Border

www.thesouthoftheborder.com