The History of
The Hammock Shops Village

The Origin Story 

The Hammock Shops Village reflects state and local history. The complex background of how the shopping village came to be, showcases its importance in both South Carolina and Pawleys Island history. The Hammock Shops Village is located in Pawleys Island, South Carolina on Hwy 17. The Village currently comprises twenty-one unique shops, two restaurants, a playground, beautiful landscaping, and common places of leisure. This whole outdoor shopping complex adopted its name from the “Original Hammock Shop,” which was established in 1938. 

​The formulation of the hammock weaving business in Pawley’s Island was catalyzed by a riverboat Captain, Joshua John Ward, nicknamed “Cap’n Josh”, who ferried rice and supplies between Georgetown and Waverly Mills, the location of prominent rice plantations and rice mills. Cap’n Josh found his grass-stuffed mattress on the boat too hot for sleeping during the South Carolina summers and even the hammocks of the time were not made out of breathable material. Striving for a more comfortable sleep, in 1889, the riverboat captain designed a hammock to be as breathable and comfortable as possible. His creation consisted of cotton ropes and was weaved in such a way that there were no thick knots where he would lay. The invention of this comfortable hammock would one day become the basis for the livelihood of the Lachicotte family, a symbol of the relaxing culture of the area, and contribute to the economic development of Pawleys Island. 

Doc Lachicotte & Lachicotte’s Store 

Cap’n Josh taught his brother-in-law, Arthur Herbert “Doc” Lachicotte, how to weave these hammocks and, in 1916, Doc and his wife Virginia Wilson created a business out of the invention and began to sell these hammocks to guests at their beach houses in Pawleys Island. A few years later, in 1925, Lachicotte’s Mercantile Store was opened in Pawleys Island at the corner of Highway 17 and the north causeway. They began to sell the hammocks here as well. Lachicotte’s Mercantile Store carries a lot of historical significance itself, being one of the first businesses to exist in the area, a first destination for ferry passengers disembarking at Waverly Mills (now Pawleys Island), the site of the post office, and the site of one of the only telephones in the area in the sixties.

Lachicotte’s Store was a diverse hub and meeting place for Pawleys Island locals and tourists. In 1938, the Lachicottes decided to open the Original Hammock Shop just down the street from the Mercantile Store to better market and sell the hammocks. The Pawleys Island Rope Hammock has now been in production for over 100 years using the same weaving pattern and materials.  Pawleys Island is now nicknamed “The Hammock Coast '' due to the local historical significance of Cap’n Josh’s woven cotton hammock.

Hammock Shop’s Link to South Carolina’s Rice Plantations 

Besides the invention of the cotton rope hammock, which helped to shape the local economy, the architecture and use of old plantation buildings on the property also make the Hammock Shops historically significant. There are multiple buildings on the property that have been transported from a major 1700s/1800s rice plantation- Waverly Plantation. The original owner of the Hammock Shops, Arthur Herbert “Doc” Lachicotte, was an heir to this plantation. Rice was South Carolina’s first great agricultural staple, and rice cultivation and milling were “responsible for the area’s rise to prominence in the colonial area.” Waverly Plantation was the largest and last rice mill in the county of Georgetown and employed about 500 people at its height.

Parts of buildings that are reminiscent of the area’s history from other Georgetown plantations were also incorporated into the design of the Hammock Shops. Because of this, Hammock Shops Village has major links to the early agricultural economy of the nation.  The Waverly Plantation has not been preserved in any way to showcase the history of the land except for the Lachicotte Family house which still remains at the end of Waverly Road. The rest of the plantation’s land has been parceled out and is now largely occupied by residential property. Some of the last remaining pieces of evidence from this specific plantation are now located in the Hammock Shops Village. 

Art History 

James Fowler Cooper of Williamsburg County and Elizabeth White of Sumter were two appreciated artists of their time (mid-late 1900s). Both of these artists displayed and sold their work in the original Hammock Shop in its early years of business. James Cooper was a predominantly self-taught artist who specialized in the medium referred to as etching. Elizabeth White was an accomplished portraitist, watercolorist and printmaker. She also studied etching and made postcards of South Carolina landscapes. It is said that Elizabeth Warren did little to market her art, so the Hammock Shops may be one of the very few locations to ever sell her original art.   

Historical Buildings 

Original Hammock Shop

The Original Hammock Shop building was built in 1938. In 1971, Doc Lachicotte’s son, Arthur Herbert “Lil Doc” Lachicotte, decided to remodel the building, using a variety of materials intended to reflect the history of the area. All the lumber in the two main rooms of the building were repurposed from early 1700s slave cabins. These cabins were located at the Richmond Plantation, owned by the Pyatt family. Long hand-hewn beams in the original hammock shop came from Maryville Plantation just south of the city of Georgetown. These beams were built around the year 1810. A rice millstone is built into the brick floor, which was taken from Waverly Plantation. All of the bricks in the building originated in England and were “used as ballast in sailing vessels coming to America."

The Schoolhouse 

The Schoolhouse is another building in the shopping complex that was moved from Waverly Plantation. This building was built in the early 1800s and operated as a school on the plantation. It was the only school available on the lower Waccamaw Neck at the time. This schoolhouse ceased operation in the 1920s. The schoolhouse was moved in its entirety to the Hammock Shops Village in 1970 and is now centrally located in the shops, currently occupied by the business La Tierra Mineral Gallery. The school bell which originated from the same location on Waverly Plantation was also relocated to the shops and stands behind the schoolhouse building on a wooden post. A sign is attached to the post reading “This bell is from the original schoolhouse of Pawleys Island.”

The “Waverly Building”

The Schoolhouse is another building in the shopping complex that was moved from Waverly Plantation. This building was built in the early 1800s and operated as a school on the plantation. It was the only school available on the lower Waccamaw Neck at the time. This schoolhouse ceased operation in the 1920s. The schoolhouse was moved in its entirety to the Hammock Shops Village in 1970 and is now centrally located in the shops, currently occupied by the business La Tierra Mineral Gallery. The school bell which originated from the same location on Waverly Plantation was also relocated to the shops and stands behind the schoolhouse building on a wooden post. A sign is attached to the post reading “This bell is from the original schoolhouse of Pawleys Island.”

Tobacco Barn 

The building in the village that is now occupied by The Christmas Mouse is a former tobacco barn that was built around the year 1900. At an unknown date, most likely in the mid to late-1900s, the tobacco barn was disassembled, moved to the Hammock Shops, and reassembled on site. This tobacco barn is reminiscent of post-Civil War agriculture when tobacco became a South Carolina money crop after the 1880s.  

Hammock Factory

There is currently a long building containing six separate storefronts to the left behind the Original Hammock Shop. This long strip of stores was the former hammock factory, built in 1968. The Pawleys Island Hammocks were manufactured in this building until 1978 when the building was remodeled to accommodate the multiple specialized storefronts.  

Archaeological Potential 

It is well known that the South Carolina low country was the home of many native tribes. It was common for these tribes to settle near water for the resources that marshes, rivers, and oceans provide. It is also known that many tribes settled near the ocean in order to harvest sea water to produce salt. The site of the Hammock Shops Village is in close proximity to the Waccamaw River, marshlands, and the Atlantic Ocean, making this location a prime spot for settlement. Further research must be conducted to determine if the Hammock Shops Village is located on native tribe land, but it has the potential of being archaeologically significant. 

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