TEGA CAY SC
SERVICES IN TEGA CAY
Tega Cay, South Carolina, or officially known as the City of Tega Cay, is a city in York County, South Carolina. Tega Cay is a Charlotte suburb located about twenty miles from the city center of Charlotte. Tega Cay’s population was 12,832 in 2020, according to the United States Census Bureau. In 1982, Tega Cay incorporated as a city; this event is commemorated every year on July 4th. “The Good Life” is Tega Cay’s motto. Tega Cay has a zip code of 29708. The area codes are 803 and 839, respectively.
Tega Cay Historical Population since incorporation:
Census Year Population Percentage Change
2000 4,044 25.4%
2010 7,620 46.9%
2020 12,832 40.6%
Data from the United States Census:
Tega Cay’s median annual household income (2015 – 2019) was $130,918, according to US Census data. For the previous 12 months (2019), the per capita income was $50,828 (2015 – 2019).
-In 2019, the median property value (owner occupied) in Tega Cay was $331,100. In 2019, Tega Cay had 3,531 households with an average of 2.95 people per household.
99.2 percent of the population of Tega Cay is 25 years old or older and has a high school diploma or higher.
-59.1 percent of Tega Cay residents aged 25 and over have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
-There were 648 ongoing enterprises in Tega Cay in 2012 per the United States Census Bureau.
A Brief Historical Overview of Tega Cay
Tega Cay was founded in 1982 as a joint venture between the Ervin Company and Crescent Land and Timber, which started in 1970. The Ervin Company was hired as the developer, while Crescent Land and Timber, a Duke Power (now Duke Energy) affiliate, was hired as a more passive partner.
One popular story goes that the name “Tega Cay” comes from the Catawba Indians who used to live in the area. Although there is no evidence to support a Catawba Indian origin, the name’s exact origin is not certain. After the Ervin Company purchased the peninsula in mid-1970, the name “Tega Cay” began to emerge in print media. The name “Tega Cay” is a translation of Tahitian for “beautiful peninsula,” according to newspaper print adverts promoting Tega Cay in 1970. This is not accurate since “Tega Cay” does not have a Tahitian equivalent. One notion and more likely origin is that “Tega Cay” was coined by the Ervin Company’s marketing department when they first started selling lots. Tega Cay was originally marketed as a Polynesian-themed resort and golf course community.
The initial Tega Cay development was 1,540 acres in size. An acre cost $357 before development began, while half-acre waterfront lots were selling for $18,000 afterward. The Ervin Company was one of the leading builders in the southeast at the time, and they produced Polynesian-themed model homes. Tega Cay was one of the region’s earliest Homeowner Associations (HOAs) to have restricted covenants. Tega Cay was built after the original developer went bankrupt, and subsequent developers completed it over time. Newland Corporation purchased the final 550 acres in 1999 for the development of Lakeshore. With the absorption of a commercial area by Highway 160, the City of Tega Cay expanded beyond the original 1,540-acre peninsula.
A Historical Overview of the Tega Cay Area
While Tega Cay is a relatively new city that was formed in 1982 and was originally organized as a planned community, the Tega Cay area has a rich history. The Catawba River was dammed in 1904 near India Hook, South Carolina, when the Catawba Dam and Power Plant was built. Lake Catawba was constructed when the dam was built, but it was renamed Lake Wylie in 1960. The lake’s formation resulted in the formation of the peninsula on which today’s Tega Cay is located. Since its formation, the peninsula was known as India Hook Hills until being renamed Tega Cay.
The Catawba Indians lived in the Catawba River valley thousands of years before there was a Lake Wylie. In Catawba Indian language, the word iswä, translates to “people of the river.” And “Iswä” is another name for the Catawba people.
Although there is little written history of the Catawba people before the 17th century, they are the first recorded occupants of York County by European explorers. Hernando de Soto, a Spanish explorer, was the first European to encounter the Catawba in 1540. In 1567, the Catawba made contact with Spanish explorer Juan Pardo. In Vandera’s accounts of Pardo’s voyage, this is mentioned. On his journey in 1670, German explorer John Lederer met the Catawba and recorded the tribe’s name as the Ushery. The Catawba’s population was estimated to be in the many thousands, if not tens of thousands, by these early explorers.
Unfortunately, contact with the European explorers, traders, and eventual settlers introduced European diseases to the Catawba Indians, which they had no natural immunities or had ever encountered before. The Catawba Indian population was devastated by these European diseases, particularly smallpox. The Catawba’s population was decreased to roughly four hundred by 1775 as a result of European contact, which began around 1680. The Catawba Indian population has never recovered and has only expanded by a little over twenty-five hundred people since 1775, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
The Catawbas were primarily an agrarian culture that also fished and hunted to augment their sustenance. They hunted deer for subsistence and for their skins to sell to European traders. The early Catawbas lived in settlements or villages enclosed log walls to help resist hostile invading Indian tribes. Within these settlements there was a significant open area for tribal gatherings and a council building. The village’s dwellings were modest, constructed tree branches and bark with rounded roofs. The extended family lived in these simple dwellings. Sweat lodges played a significant role in the Catawba civilization and were constructed with walled community. These sweat lodges could be made of logs, but they were more commonly elaborately made of round stone. Within a Catawba settlement, the sweat lodge was typically the lone stone structure.
The Catawba people were known by their strong proclivity for commerce with other Native American tribes. The Catawbas’ culture was profoundly influenced by their trading with European traders. The Catawbas began trading deerskins and other animal furs in the 17th century, while Europeans/colonials traded rifles, knives, textiles, alcohol, and trinkets. Trading between the Catawba Indians and the Europeans/colonials grew to an abundant and advantageous level to both parties. Because of their trading, the Catawbas prospered to a greater extent than most other tribes in the region for a short time, until illnesses took their toll on the population. Trading for firearms gave the Catawba Indians a significant advantage over other tribes. The Catawbas’ good commercial relationship ensured peace with immigrants of European descent during their move to the Piedmont of South Carolina and North Carolina in the 18th century. The relationship was so strong that the Catawba people provided protection to the European settlers from other hostile Native American tribes.
During the American Revolution (1765 – 1783), the Catawbas backed the Patriots. During this same time, smallpox epidemics afflicted the whole colonial and Native American communities. Unfortunately, the Native American population was disproportionately harmed in comparison to the colonial population of European heritage. So severely that by 1775, the Catawba Indian population had been reduced to roughly four hundred people. The surviving members were reduced to returning to their reservation in York County or to temporarily joining other Native American tribes that had their populations less affected by the epidemics.
In the 1750s, European people began flocking to York County, or what would later become York County. The majority of the settlers were Scots-Irish. The majority of these early settlers came from Pennsylvania along the Great Wagon Road. While there were roads from the coast to the interior of South Carolina, immigration from the coast was not as important element as it was from Philadelphia’s port and the Great Wagon Road. Reportedly, this was due to the fact that Philadelphia had a higher shipping volume than Charleston and the other ports along the Carolina coast.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, agriculture or farming was the principal source of income for the majority of York County residents. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many farmers were subsistence farmers, meaning they ate what they cultivated, little if any could be sold. Cotton became a lucrative crop for farmers as cotton production became more common in the region in the 1830s and 1840s. Cash crops are those that are grown solely for the purpose of selling to others. Cotton was the most popular crop in York County at this time and well into the twentieth century. The only time this happened was during the Civil War, when cotton could not be exported due to the Union blockade of southern ports, so corn and other crops were cultivated instead.
With the introduction of textile manufacturing in York County in the late nineteenth century, the county’s economic reliance on agriculture began to wane. Textile production became a major economic driver for York County as the twentieth century progressed. When imported textiles began to dominate domestic textile manufacturing in the 1970s, textile manufacturing and related jobs began to dwindle. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) expedited this fall. NAFTA was ratified in by the United States Congress in 1993. The trade treaty between the United States, Canada, and Mexico deeply affected low skilled manufacturing jobs in the South and the entire United States.
Agriculture’s decline and the decline of textile manufacture in the area have been countered by a broad industrial base that has gradually grown over the last thirty years. South Carolina has done a fantastic job of bringing industries to the state. The proximity of the area to Charlotte is another important aspect in the area’s economic robustness. Tega Cay, like other York County cities, has become a bedroom community for Charlotte, which is the region’s economic juggernaut. Tega Cay is great for commuters because it is only approximately twenty miles from downtown Charlotte. The fact that Tega Cay is just across the state boundary from North Carolina provides many benefits to commuters. The reduced taxes and strong school system are two prominent draws for working in Charlotte and living in Tega Cay.