In 1704, an Indian trader named George Sterling was the first to come to this area, which would become known as the Orangeburg District (so called for William, Prince of Orange, the son-in-law of King George II of England). In 1735, a colony of 200 Swiss, German and Dutch immigrants formed a community near the banks of the North Edisto River. The site was attractive because of the fertile soil and abundance of wildlife. The river provided an outlet to the port of Charleston for agricultural and lumber products. The General Assembly authorized the construction of a public road connecting Orangeburg and Charleston in 1737. The town soon became well established and successful, composed chiefly of small farms.
Today, Orangeburg serves as the county seat. It is the most populated city in the county. Arts and entertainment are important to the citizens of Orangeburg. The Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center, located in the Edisto Memorial Gardens, offers classes, workshops and performances for the community. Local artists exhibit in the art gallery, and their works are featured in the small gift shop.The critically acclaimed Orangeburg Part- Time Players, Children's Performing Arts Academy, Orangeburg Civic Ballet and renowned Henderson- Davis Players of South Carolina State University delight audiences with a variety of performances each year. Hillcrest recreation facility, owned and operated by the City of Orangeburg, offers a public golf course, tennis courts, soccer fields and baseball/ softball fields. This along with other playgrounds throughout the city, and tennis courts and picnic areas in the Edisto Memorial Gardens, provides ample recreational facilities for residents and visitors.