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City of Anderson
Top, left to right: Downtown Anderson, First Baptist Church of Anderson, Old Anderson County Courthouse, Anderson University, Anderson County Courthouse and Confederate Monument, Lake Hartwell view from City of Anderson Recreation Park
Top, left to right: Downtown Anderson, First Baptist Church of Anderson, Old Anderson County Courthouse, Anderson University, Anderson County Courthouse and Confederate Monument, Lake Hartwell view from City of Anderson Recreation Park
"The Electric City"
Location of Anderson, South Carolina
Location of Anderson, South Carolina
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Coordinates: 34°30′52″N 82°38′56″W / 34.51444°N 82.64889°W / 34.51444; -82.64889Coordinates: 34°30′52″N 82°38′56″W / 34.51444°N 82.64889°W / 34.51444; -82.64889
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Anderson
Named for Robert Anderson
 • Type Council-manager government
 • Total 14.51 sq mi (37.58 km2)
 • Land 14.47 sq mi (37.48 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
 • Total 26,686
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,912.38/sq mi (738.39/km2)
ZIP Codes
FIPS code 45-01360

Anderson is a city in and the county seat of Anderson County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 26,686 at the 2010 census, and the city was the center of an urbanized area of 75,702. It is one of the principal cities in the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metropolitan statistical area, which had a population of 824,112 at the 2010 census. It is further included in the larger Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina combined statistical area, with a total population of 1,266,995, at the 2010 census. It is just off Interstate 85 and is 120 miles (190 km) from Atlanta and 140 miles (230 km) from Charlotte. Anderson is the smallest of the three primary cities that make up the Upstate region, and is nicknamed the "Electric City" and the "Friendliest City in South Carolina". Anderson is the home of Anderson University, a selective private comprehensive university of roughly 3,900 undergraduate and graduate students.


Anderson Court House

Downtown Anderson in 1876

Cherokee first settled the area of what is today the city of Anderson. During the American Revolution the Cherokee sided with the British. After the American Revolutionary War the Cherokee surrendered their land. In 1791 the South Carolina legislature created the Washington District which comprised Greenville, Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties. The Washington District was then divided into Greenville and Pendleton districts. Anderson, Pickens and Oconee comprised the newly created Pendleton district. Anderson was settled in 1826 and incorporated in 1828 as Anderson Court House separating from the Pendleton district. The name Anderson is in honor of Robert Anderson who fought in the American Revolutionary War and also explored the Anderson region in the mid-17th century. Anderson County was also established in 1826 out of the Pendleton district.

In 1851 the Johnson Female Seminary was established in Anderson as the first college of the town and was named after William Bullein Johnson. One year later the seminary was renamed Johnson University. During the American Civil War Johnson University was closed and converted into a Confederate treasury. On May 1, 1865 Union forces invaded Anderson looking for the Confederate treasury. The treasury office of Anderson was ransacked by Union forces and the main building of Johnson University was used as a Union headquarters. A minor skirmish erupted at the Battle of Anderson leading to two Union casualties. After the war a Union garrison was stationed in Anderson.

The Electric City

Portman Shoals Power Plant around 1920.

Anderson became one of the first cities in the Southeastern United States to have electricity. Electricity to Anderson was established by William C. Whitner in 1895 at a hydroelectric plant on the Rocky River giving the city the name "The Electric City." Anderson also became the first city in the world to supply a cotton gin by electricity. In 1895 Anderson Court House was renamed to Anderson. In 1897 Whitner's plant was upgraded with a 10,000 volt generating station at Portman Shoals. Whitner's power plant at Portman Shoals became the first hydroelectric plant to generate high voltage without step-up transformers in the United States. The Portman Dam was swept away in 1901 forcing Anderson to be in darkness until it was rebuilt in 1902.

In 1911 Anderson College was established by the Anderson Chamber of Commerce. Anderson College was a successor to the Johnson Female Seminary and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention in particular the First Baptist Church of Anderson. Anderson College became a co-ed two year junior college in 1930 and in 2006 it became Anderson University.


Anderson is located in the northwest corner of South Carolina on the Piedmont plateau. Anderson is a 1-hour drive from the Blue Ridge Mountains and a 4-hour drive from the South Carolina coast. Anderson lies roughly at the midpoint of the busy I-85 corridor between Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.6 square miles (37.9 km2), of which 14.6 square miles (37.8 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.30%, is water.


Caldwell Johnson Morris Cottage
The Caldwell-Johnson-Morris Cottage, built around 1851.

Historic districts

Other historical locations
See also: National Register of Historic Places listings in Anderson County, South Carolina


  • Anderson Memorial Stadium — A ballfield/stadium on 12 acres (4.9 ha) of land on White Road. Renovated in 2007 with stadium-style seating. Home to the Anderson University Trojans.
  • Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center — A 300-acre (120 ha) area that includes the Anderson Civic Center, a 37,000 square feet (3,400 m2) facility, as well as one of South Carolina's largest amphitheaters that can accommodate 15,000 people, a huge castle-like play structure with play equipment, a 64-acre (26 ha) sports center with 7 baseball/softball fields, 3 soccer fields, disc golf course, and 8 tennis courts. There is also a lake with park, picnic shelters, and miles of nature trail. The ASCE is Anderson's largest recreational area.



Anderson is served by Anderson County Regional Airport (IATA: AND, ICAO: KAND). The airport is 3 miles (4.8 km) away from Anderson and has 2 runways; runway 5/23 is 6,000 feet (1,800 m) and runway 17/35 is 5,000 feet (1,500 m). The airport also has helipads. The airport has no control tower but is able to accommodate regional jet aircraft. In addition, the airport has a small terminal.

Roads and highways

Anderson has five signed exits on I-85, currently the city's only freeway. Several notable highways pass through the city, including U.S. Route 76 and U.S. Route 178 co-signed along Clemson Boulevard, also known as SC-Bus 28, and U.S. Route 29 leading to Hartwell, Georgia, to the south and Greenville to the north.

In 2011, construction began on a new east-west connector which is approximately three miles long between Clemson Boulevard and South Carolina Highway 81. On August 16, 2010, the connector was voted to have four lanes with turn and bike lanes with a completion date set in October 2012.

On November, 8th, 2013, the East-West Parkway formally opened to traffic.

Public transit

Anderson has four bus routes (Blue, Green, Red, and Gold) that travel to most major areas of the city, running every hour. and also receives service from Clemson Area Transit (CATS) via the 4U route. The city uses both newer hybrid buses and older style trolleys resembling Anderson's old streetcars. Inter-city bus travel is available through Greyhound Lines, located on West Whitner Street near downtown.

Though the city still doesn't have as extensive a transit system as more modern cities, it is making plans to expand its ventures. The city is currently trying to acquire a full-time office space for a downtown bus transfer center. There is also the potential for growth in the future, including a new line connecting Belton to Anderson.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 625
1870 1,432 129.1%
1880 1,850 29.2%
1890 3,018 63.1%
1900 5,498 82.2%
1910 9,654 75.6%
1920 10,570 9.5%
1930 14,383 36.1%
1940 19,424 35.0%
1950 19,770 1.8%
1960 41,316 109.0%
1970 27,556 −33.3%
1980 27,546 0.0%
1990 26,184 −4.9%
2000 25,514 −2.6%
2010 26,686 4.6%
2019 (est.) 27,676 3.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

At the census of 2000, 25,514 people, 10,641 households, and 6,299 families were residing in the city. The population density was 1,843.7 people/sq mi (711.8/km2). The 12,068 housing units averaged 872.1/sq mi (336.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 63.12% White, 34.01% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.78% Asian American, 0.72% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 1.48% of the population.

Of the 10,641 households, 25.4% had children under 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 18.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were not families. About 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.22, and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the age distribution was 22.2% under 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over there were 77.5 males.

Anderson is the central city of an urbanized area with a total population of 70,530 (2000 census). This urban area is within the larger Greenville-Spartanburg metropolitan statistical area.

Sister cities

Anderson has 2 sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International.:


Anderson is home to the largest Glen Raven, Inc. manufacturing center facility, which focuses on manufacturing Sunbrella fabrics. Anderson's economy revolves around manufacturing. It has over 230 manufacturers, including 22 international companies. In the county, Anderson has a thriving business climate. Its top major industries include manufacturers of automotive products, metal products, industrial machinery, plastics, publishing, and textiles. Two industries that many times interconnect are the plastic and automotive sectors. More than 27 BMW suppliers are the Upstate region, which is recognized internationally as an automotive supplier hub. The plastics industry has a strong presence in the Upstate, with 244 plastic companies located within the 10 counties of the state's northwest corner. Anderson County, in particular, has 11 automotive suppliers, and is a major player in the plastic industry, with 27 plastics companies located within its borders.


The city of Anderson is served by the Anderson County School System (specifically, Anderson School District Five). The school district has 11 elementary schools, five middle schools, and two high schools.

Elementary schools:

  • Calhoun Academy of the Arts
  • Centerville Elementary
  • Concord Elementary
  • Homeland Park Primary School
  • McLees Academy of Leadership
  • Midway Elementary School of Science and Engineering
  • Nevitt Forest Community School of Innovation
  • New Prospect STEM Academy
  • North Pointe Elementary School
  • Varennes Academy of Communications and Technology
  • Whitehall Elementary, A Global Communication School

Middle schools:

  • McCants Middle School
  • Southwood Academy of the Arts
  • Robert Anderson Middle School
  • Glenview Middle School

High schools:

  • Westside High School
  • T. L. Hanna High School
  • Anderson Five Career Campus

Private schools:

  • Anderson Christian School
  • Boulevard Child Enrichment Center
  • Day Star School
  • First Presbyterian Church Day School
  • Grace Kindergarten
  • Montessori School of Anderson
  • New Covenant School
  • Oakwood Christian School
  • St Joseph Catholic School
  • Temple Christian Academy
  • West Anderson Christian Academy

Higher education


Anderson has a public library, a branch of the Anderson County Library System.

Notable people

  • Chadwick Boseman (1976–2020), actor (Black Panther, 42, Get on Up, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Endgame)
  • Lou Brissie, Major League Baseball player with Philadelphia Athletics and Cleveland Indians from 1947 to 1953
  • Milford Burriss, state legislator
  • Yung Carter, record producer
  • Guy Davenport, novelist, poet, and scholar
  • Shaun Ellis, professional football player
  • Bailey Hanks, winner of MTV's Legally Blonde the Musical: The Next Elle Woods
  • Brandon Micheal Hall, actor (God Friended Me)
  • Preston Jones, professional football player
  • Rafael Little, professional football player, Canadian Football League
  • Johnny Mann, arranger, composer, conductor, entertainer, and recording artist; honorary alumnus (D. Hum.) from Anderson University
  • Charles Murphey (1799–1861), United States congressman from Georgia
  • Larry Nance, retired NBA basketball player with the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers, three-time All-Star
  • James Lawrence Orr, former governor of South Carolina and speaker of the United States House of Representatives
  • Lu Parker, Miss South Carolina USA 1994, Miss USA 1994, television personality and journalist
  • Wesley Quinn, dancer/singer in popular boy band V Factory
  • Jim Rice, professional baseball player with Boston Red Sox from 1974 to 1989, member of National Baseball Hall of Fame, class of 2009
  • Robert Sadler, author of The Emancipation of Robert Sadler
  • Jessica Stroup, actress on television series 90210 and The Following
  • George Webster, former AFL and NFL football player, two-time All American at Michigan State University, 1965–66
  • James "Radio" Kennedy, the movie Radio was based on his life with T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, SC.
  • Jack Swilling, generally recognized as the pioneer founder of Phoenix, Arizona
  • Kip Anderson, Southern soul and blues artist, recorded his first record on Vee Jay Records. The Beatles first recorded on the Vee Jay label. His last job was a DJ at WANS radio in Anderson.
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