Shem Creek is one of the most photographed and visited spots in Mount Pleasant, SC – and for good reason. It’s hard to beat catching a drink or local seafood dinner with friends while watching the sun set over the marsh. Few areas of Mt. Pleasant are as picturesque or as laid back as Shem Creek.
History of Shem Creek
The Eastern Sioux Sewee Indians originally lived along the creek, and today’s name comes from the Native American word shemee. British settlers began establishing this area in the 1670s. Over the next two decades, Captain Florence O'Sullivan owned the land due to a land grant and changed the name of the creek to Sullivan’s Creek. (On a side note, this is also how Sullivan’s Island got its name.) Next, ownership changed to Captain George Dearsley, and the creek’s name changed to Dearsley's Creek. Historians believe that during this time, ship builders began using the creek because of its deep water and easy access to Charleston’s Harbor – a trend that continued over the next hundred years.
Ownership and names continued to transfer. Under Richard Rowser, it was Rowser’s Creek. Alexander Parris named it Parris’ Creek. During Revolutionary War times, it was Lempriere’s Creek after Captain Clement Lempriere. Next it was Distillery Creek due to a distillery that was built on its banks in the early 1800s. Locals usually called it Shem Creek in between owners, and today this name reflects the original owners.
In addition to the already mentioned ship construction and distillery, other businesses on Shem Creek included a lime kiln in the 1740s, a water driven rice and saw mill built by Jonathan Lucas in 1795, and a lumber factory. It wasn’t until the 1930s that Shem Creek saw shrimping as the primary industry, which is surprising since this has been such an iconic association with the area since. Captain William C. Magwood owned the first motored shrimp boat which he simply called the Skipper.
Entertainment and Restaurants on Shem Creek Today
Today, locals and visitors alike enjoy walking the 2,200 foot boardwalk at Shem Creek Park to see the shrimp boats at work, enjoy the harbor breezes, and watch for the abundant wildlife that calls the area home. On any given trip, you might see porpoise, seagulls, pelicans, herons, and crabs.
Kayaking and paddle boarding are fun ways to experience the creek first hand, and you’ll find companies like Coastal Expeditions and Nature Adventures Outfitters that offer rentals and tours. Mount Pleasant’s mild weather makes water activities possible from May to September without a wet suit, so if you’re looking for exercise options that get you out of the gym or the house, this is a great experience!
Shem Creek is also known for its beautiful sunsets over the marsh and active nightlife. Some of our favorite restaurants include Tavern and Table, RB’s Seafood, Red’s Ice House, and Vickery’s.
Contact The Keadle Group
If you’re considering buying a home in Mount Pleasant to enjoy the rich history, wide range of entertainment, Southern charm, and scenic setting that the area has to offer, contact The Keadle Group to see your options in today’s market!