Johnston is called The Hub of the Ridge because it is located at the meeting place of the three river systems which flow away from the Ridge, a fertile plateau about 30 miles (48 km) long between clay hills to the north and sand hills to the south. The area has been settled since the mid-1700s. In 1791 as George Washington traveled through the area on his triumphal tour through the country, he stopped at the Lott family plantation, just east of Johnston.
In the late 1860s, the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad expanded westward from Columbia to Augusta. Edward Jones Mims, M.D., persuaded William Johnston, president of the railroad, to run the railroad through the 1,200-acre (490 ha) Mims plantation. In return, Dr. Mims agreed to name the new town for Mr. Johnston.
In the early 1900s, the peach industry became successful in this area. Today, the Ridge produces about 60 percent of South Carolina's peaches.
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