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Florence History, South Carolina

Introduction to Florence, South Carolina

Florence, the largest city in Florence County, as well as its county seat, is filled with historic homes and medical centre towers. The city was a finalist for the 1997 All-American City competition, and as a result it become a cultural centre for the north-eastern part of South Carolina. The city, with a population of thirty thousand people, is located around eighty miles east from the state capital Columbia and just seventy miles west from Myrtle Beach. Florence is neighbored by Timmonsville, Blue Brick, Darlington and Quinby etc. Florence history is linked to Wilmington History and Charlotte History.

Florence, South Carolina – History: Early Settlement

While the city of Florence was one of the first townships that were laid out by the Lord Proprietors in 1719, it was very late to be settled. This was so until the railroad was set up. Before this happened the Pee Dee River was the main throughway for most commerce and the people, who settled here practices subsistence farming. They used to produce indigo, cotton, and timber that was then sent down the river to Georgetown and exported from there.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, two railroads that intersected each other were built here, namely the Wilmington and Manchester and the Northeastern. Gen. W. W. Hallee, who was the president of the W&M railroad, constructed his house at the junction and gave the name of his daughter, Florence, to the community.

Florence, South Carolina – History: Civil War

Florence was an extremely important supply and railroad repair hub during the Civil War for the Confederacy and the Florence Stockade was also located here. This was where the Union war prisoners were held. The ground next to this became the Florence National Cemetery as many of the men held in the Stockade died there, and this ground has since then become a national burial ground for war veterans. Henry Timrod was also made famous during the Civil War, as he was known as the “Poet Laureate of the Confederacy”. He taught at a schoolhouse on the Cannon Plantation near the city.

Florence, South Carolina – History: Twentieth Century

After the Civil War, the city grew as a result of the railroad that was able to help export its cotton and timber, and at a later point, tobacco.

In the twentieth century, the city became a huge medical centre. After World War II, the city became known for its textiles, paper, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals as well as agricultural products.


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