Rich soil and a railroad made Meggett a major agricultural hub
In post-Civil War South Carolina, a laborer surveys piles of cabbages to be shipped by way of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Reconstruction marked a pivotal turning point in the Lowcountry’s agricultural industry away from rice, the area’s predominant cash crop since the colonial period. After the railroad cut through the rural town of Meggett, just south of Charleston, the area became a major hub connecting the coastal freight system with truck farmers for shipping. Several hundred railcars full of vegetables were shipped a day, bound for eastern and western markets. Rich soil and the region’s longer growing season provided ideal conditions for cabbages, and by the 1920s, Meggett was called the “Cabbage Capital of the World.” Meggett saw an economic decline in the 1960s as trucks began to replace railways for transporting produce. Today, the small town serves as a reminder of the Lowcountry’s agricultural heyday, and how the humble cabbage was once king.