After so many decades of being down in the dumps, Lake City, which has six times as many people as Johnsonville in Eastern Florence county and the second largest city in the county after Florence, is finally beginning to blossom again with new upscale residential and commercial growth thanks in part to hometown girl, Darla Moore, who struck it rich on Wall Street and has given back to her roots in turning a dead downtown into an arts district.
The former Bean Capital of the world was also the birthplace of the late Ronald McNair, an African American physicist and NASA astronaut. He died during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51-L in 1986. Many plazas, buildings and a boulevard are named for McNair's memory in Lake City.
Lake City's economy is dominated by tobacco. It has its own two-day festival in September first established in 1898. Lake City's tobacco market has grown to become one of the two largest in South Carolina.
On February 22, 1898, Lake City was the site of a notorious lynching that resulted in the mob murders of the city's first black postmaster Frazier B. Baker and his infant daughter Julia Baker. They were burned alive in a house fire caused by the mob attack.
Baker was appointed postmaster of Lake City in 1897, but local whites objected and undertook a campaign to force his removal. When these efforts failed to dislodge Baker a mob attacked his family while in the comfort of their home, killing him and his daughter in a tragic house fire. Baker's wife and five other children survived.