Chapin, also known as the capital of Lake Murray, is a town located in Lexington County, South Carolina. Chapin was founded by Martin Chapin in 1889. The following year, 1890, the railroad was built to connect Chapin to Columbia, South Carolina and other major regions. The population of Chapin was 1,445 according to the 2010 census. The town government is set up in the Mayor-Council form and the current Chapin mayor is Stanley Shealy. Chapin has four public schools in the area; the first Chapin school was built in 1924. Lake Murray is the main attraction to Chapin, South Carolina and provides recreational boaters with water-related entertainment. Chapin also features many local known restaurants and shops.
Chapin is often referred to as the capital of Lake Murray. On September 21, 1927, work on the dam for the Saluda River was started. The construction finished on the June 30, 1930. Chapin families who had lived on Chapin land for over 200 years had to sell and move to make room for the lake that was a result of the dam. The lake was to spread between Dutch Fork and Chapin becoming 14 miles wide and 40 miles long. The earthen dam stands over 200 feet tall and runs 1.5 miles across. Lake Murray has over 500 miles of shoreline and covers approximately 50,000 acres. The dam itself takes up 99 acres.
The dam on Lake Murray has been through many changes since it was originally built in 1927. In 1943 three feet was added to the dam’s height to help flooding issues. Much later in the 1980s SCE&G added a sheet piling way on the lakeside of the highway again to help with flooding. This sheet piling way raised the height of the dam again. The latest changes to the dam occurred in 2002 when the backup dam was built. The backup dam was built for more protection to withstand earthquakes. The backup dam is made of rock and concrete to withstand the weight of the water behind the dam if any damage were to occur to the existing dam.
Lake Murray is not only used to provide electrical power for surrounding areas, it brings fun boating activities to the town of Chapin. Lake Murray offers many different types of boating opportunities in addition to recreational areas. Today, the lake has recreational swimming, boating, skiing, fishing, and wake-boarding. The lake also holds fishing tournaments and is home to all kinds of wildlife. Lake Murray is known for its Purple Martins, Striped Bass, and Great Blue Heron.
- Chapin Baptist Church
- Chapin Community Church
- Chapin Presbyterian Church
- Chapin United Methodist Church
- Lake Murray Presbyterian Church
- Mt. Horeb Lutheran Church
- Mt. Zion Baptist Church
- Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church
- St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church
- St. John AME Church
- St. Peter Lutheran Church ELCA
- Chapin High School
- Chapin Middle School
- Chapin Elementary School
- Lake Murray Elementary School