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Chapin was founded in 1872 as a railroad town. It was named after the president of the Columbia and Greenville Railroad, John M. Chapin (1810–1885). The first post office opened in 1873, but closed two years later; it reopened again in 1880. In 1895, Lake Murray was created by damming up the Saluda River to provide hydroelectric power for Columbia's streetcars and trolleys; this also provided recreational opportunities for people living around Lake Murray such as fishing and boating. The town government is set up with an elected mayor-council form of government where council members are elected from four districts within city limits every four years on staggered terms: District 1 - 2 year term; District 2 - 4 year term; District 3 - 6 year term & District 4 – 8 year term In addition to providing water recreation activities at Lake Murray Park & Marina located off Highway 378 near downtown Chapin SC.