January 31, 2013

The Origins of "Lugoff"

For many people living in South Carolina or even those just looking at maps, one question comes up over and over again. Where did Lugoff get its name?

According to a copy of a letter in the files of the Camden Archives, the town of Lugoff was named for a man named N.E. Lugoff, the Assistant Chief Engineer of the Seaboard Air Line during the time the railway was being constructed between Camden and Cayce, S.C. (1899-1900). The letter, written in 1949 by the President of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad Company, states that Mr. Lugoff was thought to be a German civil engineer, but that fact could not be confirmed at the time.

N.E. Lugoff was in fact a Russian civil engineer. Nicholas Lugoff was born near Moscow, Russia sometime around 1870. He came to America in 1883 and was living in Texas in 1885. By the 1890s Lugoff had moved to Illinois, where was married and became a naturalized citizen. His first child was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1896, and then Lugoff apparently came to South Carolina to work on the Seaboard Air Line railroad around 1899. The next time Lugoff appears in census records, he was living in Minnesota, where he stayed until his death in 1939.

The only known connection between Mr. Lugoff and South Carolina is the brief period he spent here working on the railroad. How wonderful it is, then, that he will always be remembered for his time here, for his name is permanently attached to one of the great parts of Kershaw County.

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