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74 years of generating electricity


February 17, 2016   By Willard Strong in Santee Cooper History
Santee Cooper is observing a historical milestone this week: the 74th anniversary of generating our first electricity, which occurred at Unit 2, a hydroelectric turbine, on Feb. 17, 1942, at what was then known as the Pinopolis Power Plant.

The dream of the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project had been realized.

Early 1942 was an uncertain time in our nervous nation. The U.S. had entered World War II only a few months prior, following the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941. The two lakes, then known as the Santee Reservoir and the Pinopolis Reservoir, had begun filling up on Nov. 12, 1941, only a few weeks before war was declared on Japan and Germany.

Formally entering the fight against the Axis powers is a part of Santee Cooper’s history. That first flow of power went to a defense contractor in North Charleston: the Pittsburgh Metallurgical Co., located on the banks of the Cooper River. They made... Continue Reading >>

Remembering John Rainey


March 18, 2015   By Willard Strong in Santee Cooper History
The major printed news outlets in the state noted the March 14 passing of John Stringer Rainey, who served as chairman of the Santee Cooper Board of Directors from 1990 to 2000.

I had the privilege of getting to know Chairman Rainey during his service as chairman, and the more time I got to spend around him the more I grew to admire and respect him. He was a man of character and principle — and those principles would sometimes put him on a collision course with the status quo. In many ways, he was a rebel. I've long viewed him as such and wondered what he would think of that characterization.

Rainey was an Anderson native, the son of a physician. He attended McCallie School, an exclusive prep school in Chattanooga, Tenn. He told me his roommate was Carroll Campbell, the future South Carolina governor.

The young Rainey attended the University of Virginia and then the University of South Carolina School of Law. He later served as an... Continue Reading >>