Aiken County is the only county in the United States named “Aiken.” Formed in 1871 by combining portions of Edgefield, Lexington, Orangeburg and Barnwell counties, Aiken County was named for William Aiken, the first president of the South Carolina Railroad and Canal Company. Mr. Aiken reportedly never visited the County.
The 2000 Census counted 142,552 persons living in the County, an increase of about 22,000 from 1990. Aiken is the fourth largest South Carolina county by land area, and its size of 1,073 square miles is 28 square miles larger than the state of Rhode Island.
Aiken County is located midway between the mountains and the coast and is bordered by the Savannah River on the west, Edgefield and Saluda Counties on the north, Barnwell and Orangeburg Counties on the southeast and by Lexington County on the east. Aiken County covers 704,000 acres, of which 73,000 acres are part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. The city of Aiken is the county seat.
Aiken is a major racehorse training area and is famous for its Triple Crown, which consists of the Aiken Trials, the Steeplechase, and the High Goal Polo Game.
Aiken County enjoys a mild climate with an average winter temperature of 48 degrees F. and an average summer temperature of 79 degrees F. The average daily maximum temperature is 90 degrees F. Annual precipitation averages 48 inches with the majority falling between April and September. Average seasonal snowfall is two inches and average relative humidity is 50 percent.
Several industrial parks, owned by Aiken County, the City of Aiken, or the City of North Augusta, are available for new and expanding companies. The Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership coordinates industrial recruitment efforts in Aiken County.
Education in Aiken County is provided by the Aiken County School District and private schools. Post-secondary educational opportunities include the University of South Carolina at Aiken and Aiken Technical College.
Ground transportation is dominant in Aiken County. Aiken County’s Best Friend Express provides local bus travel in and between Aiken and North Augusta, with connections to the Augusta Public Transit bus system. Greyhound Bus Lines provides out-of-County bus travel from its station in Aiken. Interstate 20 travels across Aiken County to connect with Columbia and points east, and Augusta and points west.
The extension of I-520 to US 1 in North Augusta was completed in 2004, with work now underway to continue the Palmetto Parkway I-520 extension to I-20 near Exit 5. Other major highways include US 1, SC 19, US 25, US 78, and US 278.
Scheduled air service is available through the Augusta Regional Airport (AGS) and the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). Chartered and other airport services are available at the City of Aiken Municipal Airport.
Excerpted from the official website of Aiken County