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Conway, South Carolina
The Riverwalk in downtown Conway
The Riverwalk in downtown Conway
Official seal of Conway, South Carolina
Seal
Nickname(s): 
"Historic Rivertown"
Location of Conway in South Carolina
Location of Conway in South Carolina
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Horry
Area
 • Total 24.50 sq mi (63.46 km2)
 • Land 23.60 sq mi (61.13 km2)
 • Water 0.90 sq mi (2.33 km2)
Elevation
33 ft (10 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 17,103
 • Estimate 
(2019)
25,956
 • Density 1,099.64/sq mi (424.58/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
29526-29528
Area code(s) 843, 854
FIPS code 45-16405
GNIS feature ID 1247370

Conway is a city in Horry County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 17,103 at the 2010 census, and estimated at 25,956 in 2019. It is the county seat of Horry County and is part of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area. It is the home of Coastal Carolina University.

Numerous buildings and structures located in Conway are on the National Register of Historic Places. Among these is the City Hall building, designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument. Since the completion of the Main Street USA project in the 1980s, Conway's downtown has been revitalized with shops and bistros. Highlighting the renovation of the downtown area is the Riverwalk, an area of restaurants which follows a stretch of the Waccamaw River that winds through Conway.

History

Conway is one of the oldest towns in South Carolina. Originally early English colonists named the village as named "Kings Town" but soon changed it to "Kingston". The town was founded in 1732 as part of Royal Governor Robert Johnson's Township Scheme. It was laid out on a bluff overlooking the Waccamaw River in what is now known as Horry County.

Conway Marina
The Conway marina, seen from the Waccamaw River Bridge

Many area residents fought in the American Revolution, and small engagements were fought near Kingston at Bear Bluff and at Black Lake. Francis Marion, who was known as the "Swamp Fox", had an encampment near Kingston just across the Waccamaw River.

After the war, patriotic citizens wanted to discard the name that honored Great Britain's King George II. The County's name was changed to Horry (pronounced oh-ree) in honor of General Peter Horry in 1801, and a courthouse was established in Kingston. "Kingston" was later changed to "Conwayborough", for General Robert Conway. In 1883, the General Assembly changed the name to the current name of Conway.

Geography

Conway, the county seat of Horry County, is situated in the South Carolina Coastal Plain, on the western banks of the Waccamaw River, and is approximately 25 km from the Atlantic Ocean.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (35 km2), of which 12.7 square miles (33 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) 5.08% is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 476
1870 696 46.2%
1880 575 −17.4%
1890 677 17.7%
1900 705 4.1%
1910 1,228 74.2%
1920 1,969 60.3%
1930 3,011 52.9%
1940 5,066 68.2%
1950 6,073 19.9%
1960 8,563 41.0%
1970 8,151 −4.8%
1980 10,240 25.6%
1990 9,819 −4.1%
2000 11,788 20.1%
2010 17,103 45.1%
2019 (est.) 25,956 51.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 11,788 people, 4,259 households, and 2,942 families residing in the city. The population density was 927.8 people per square mile (358.1/km2). There were 4,783 housing units at an average density of 376.5 per square mile (145.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.82% White, 41.85% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.87% of the population.

There were 4,259 households, out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 23.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.1% under the age of 18, 15.8% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,155, and the median income for a family was $39,189. Males had a median income of $26,720 versus $21,310 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,611. About 15.9% of families and 20.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.9% of those under age 18 and 16.0% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Railway station 0767
Old train station (no longer in use)

Air

Conway is home to the Conway-Horry County Airport (HYW), a small airport located 3 miles outside of town, along US-378.

Bus

A large part of Horry County is served by the Coast Regional Transit Authority (RTA), formerly known as the Waccamaw Regional Transit Authority and as Lymo. The primary station and offices are located in downtown Conway, near the historic district.

Railroads

R. J. Corman Railroad's Carolina Line is a short line railroad which serves parts of North and South Carolina. Conway is located on the railroad's Chadbourn, NC-Myrtle Beach, SC branch. The historical Conway railroad depot is located along this branch, although the depot is now an office building.

Culture

Conway is the home of Kimbel Library and the Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery at Coastal Carolina University. The gallery houses differing exhibits throughout the year. Admission is free, and the gallery is open to the public.

Economy

Employers located in the Conway area include:

  • New South Companies, Inc. (a subsidiary of Canfor)
  • Vulcan Materials Company
  • AVX Corporation

Grainger Generating Station was a coal-fired power plant operated by Santee Cooper. It generated electricity from 1966 until its retirement in 2012.

Education

Most of the county is served by a single public school system, Horry County Schools. Private schools include Conway Christian School.

Conway is home to two major institutes of higher learning, Coastal Carolina University and Horry-Georgetown Technical College. It is also home to a branch of Webster University, an MBA graduate school, and North American Institute of Aviation (NAIA), a flight school.

Conway has a public library, a branch of the Horry County Memorial Library.

Sports

HTC Center is a 3,370-seat multi-purpose arena located on the campus of Coastal Carolina University in Conway. It is home to the university's men's and women's basketball teams, and the women's volleyball teams. It replaced Kimbel Arena for this purpose.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Conway Railroad
Trains in front of Conway watertower

Air

Conway is home to the Conway-Horry County Airport (HYW), a small airport located 4 miles (6 km) west of town, along US-378.

Bus

A large part of Horry County is served by the Coast Regional Transit Authority (RTA), formerly known as the Waccamaw Regional Transit Authority and as Lymo. The primary station and offices are located in downtown Conway, near the historic district.

Railroads

R. J. Corman Railroad's Carolina Line is a short-line railroad which serves parts of North and South Carolina. Conway is located on the railroad's Chadbourn, NC-Myrtle Beach, SC branch. The historical Conway railroad depot is located along this branch, although the depot is now an office building.

Notable people

  • Chris Murphy Videographer and owner of Red Button Visuals
  • [Hunter Renfrow]] American Football Player
  • Bryan Edwards (American football)|Bryan Edwards]], professional football player
  • William Gibson, author, credited as the father of the cyberpunk genre of science fiction
  • Junior Hemingway, former Michigan Wolverine wide receiver drafted in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Edgar L. McGowan, commissioner of South Carolina Department of Labor 1971 - 1989, born in Conway 1920
  • Kristy McPherson, golfer on the LPGA Tour
  • Allen Patrick, Oklahoma Sooner running back and NFL player drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 7th round in 2008
  • Sheri Reynolds, author and associate professor of southern literature at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia
  • Nick Shalosky, first openly gay elected official in South Carolina.
  • Margot Stilley, actress and writer
  • Duley Trucc, musical artist
  • Vanna White, co-host of ABC's game show, Wheel of Fortune.
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