BAMBERG COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)- Heading up Highway 351 towards Bamberg County, drivers might feel like they have somehow wandered into northern Europe– passing towns named Denmark and Sweden, among others.

The towns are within nine miles of each other and no, they were not named because Scandinavian settlers moved here. Rather, the construction of an American railroad system is responsible.

In 1830,  Captain Z.G. Graham sold 17 acres of land for the establishment of a railroad, specifically the Charleston-to-Hamburg rail line of the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company.

Originally called Graham’s turnout, this rail depot would eventually become Denmark, S.C after the construction of another rail line was established in the community by the South Bound Railroad, which intersected with the previous track. The name of the town was subsequently changed in the late 1800s to honor Captain Isadore Denmark, an official with the South Bound Railroad.

As the railroad line was extended up towards Columbia, communities were named in order to fit with the “Scandinavian” naming theme, which is how South Carolina ended up with Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland.

As of the 2020 census, the population of Denmark, S.C. is 2,902, and the population of Norway, S.C. is 297. Sweden and Finland are considered “incorporated communities” and are not included in census data.