Railroads were the engine driving the City of Denmark's early development. When the first railroad from Charleston to Hamburg was built in the early 1830s, it ran through a town that then was known as Capt. Z.G. Graham's Turnout, named in honor of the man who'd sold the railroad 17 acres on which to build a station and turnout.

A later railroad, running from Columbia to Savannah, crossed the town and brought continued growth. The town was incorporated as Graham's in 1870, and it became Denmark in 1891. The name was in honor of Col. Isadore Denmark of the Southbound Construction Co,. Yet another railroad came through in 1893, and officials created East Denmark in the older sections of town and West Denmark in the new.

The community grew steadily in its early years. Ghent's Branch Baptist was built in 1834. Sometime after the Civil War, the first school building went up.  Voorhees Normal & Industrial School – the predecessor of Voorhees College – began 1897.  The brick 30-room Booker T. Washington Hospital, also the gift of New Jersey philanthropist Ralph Voorhees of Clinton, NJ, was completed in 1904.  An adjacent administration building was completed in 1916.  The old hospital now houses the offices of the college president.