Located off the shore of Lake Murray and only ten miles from Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, Irmo was a sleepy little town of 500 people in the early 1970s. Today with more than 12,000 residents Irmo is one of the country's most sought after places to live. The Cherokee Indians first roamed the waterways and woodlands of this area while following the Cherokee Trail. Later German and Swiss immigrants were the first Westerners to settle the area bounded by the Broad and Saluda Rivers and extending to the Newberry county line.
Germans, using land grants from the King of England, settled the Dutch Fork area in the mid 18th century. Self-sufficient farms were established in spite of the rocky, red clay that was unsuitable for plantation farming. The origin of Irmo tells the story of the railroad's influence.
Irmo was incorporated in 1890 and flourished along the tracks of the Columbia, Newberry and Laurens railroads on the high ridge between the rivers. The town was named by combining the first two letters of the names of two railroad company men - C.J. Iredell and H.C. Moseley.
A quarter of a century later, the largest earthen dam in the world (at that time) was built across the Saluda River, forming Lake Murray. The dam, along with the construction of I-26 adjacent to Irmo in the late 1950s, made possible the continuing rapid growth of the greater Irmo area. The beautiful Lake Murray provides much sought after real estate along its 528 miles of shoreline and provides a recreational paradise for the residents of Irmo - truly the "Gateway to Lake Murray."