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Florence, South Carolina
Aerial view of Florence
Aerial view of Florence
Official logo of Florence, South Carolina
"The Magic City", "Flo-Town"
Location in Florence County in South Carolina
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Florence
Incorporated December 24, 1890
 • City 20.9 sq mi (54.2 km2)
 • Land 20.9 sq mi (54.1 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
138 ft (42 m)
 • City 37,056
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,830/sq mi (706.6/km2)
 • Urban
 • Metro
 • Demonym
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 843
FIPS code 45-25810
GNIS feature ID 1222461

Florence is a city in Florence County, South Carolina, United States. It is the county seat of Florence County and the primary city within the Florence metropolitan area. The area forms the core of the historical "Pee Dee" region of South Carolina, which includes the eight counties of northeastern South Carolina, along with sections of southeastern North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population of Florence was 37,056, and the estimated population in 2015 was 38,228.

In 1965, Florence was named an All-American City, presented by the National Civic League. The city was founded as a railroad hub and became the junction of three major railroad systems, including the Wilmington and Manchester, the Northeastern, and the Cheraw and Darlington. As of 2013, the city retains its status as a major hub, both for industry and infrastructure, while establishing itself as a regional center for business, medicine, culture and finance.


The City of Florence was chartered in 1871 and incorporated in 1890 following the 1888 creation of Florence County. Prior to its charter, the city was part of one of the original townships laid out by the Lords Proprietors in 1719. The area was gradually settled through the late 19th and early 20th century. Early settlers practiced subsistence farming and produced indigo, cotton, naval stores and timber, which were shipped down the Pee Dee River to the port at Georgetown and exported. In the mid-19th century two intersecting railroads were built, the Wilmington and Manchester, and the Northeastern. Gen. W. W. Harllee, the president of the W & M, built his home at the junction, and named the community "Florence", after his daughter.

American Civil War

During the Civil War the town was an important supply and railroad repair center for the Confederacy, and the site of the Florence Stockade, which held between 12,000 and 18,000 Union prisoners of war. Over 2,800 of the prisoners died of disease, and the burial ground adjacent to the prison became the Florence National Cemetery after the war.

Early 20th century

After the war, Florence grew and prospered, using the railroad to supply its cotton, timber, and by the turn of the century, tobacco. During the 20th century the economy of Florence came to rely heavily on the healthcare industry, driven by two major hospitals and a number of pharmaceutical plants. Industry grew, especially after World War II, when Florence became increasingly known for textiles, pharmaceuticals, paper, and manufacturing, in addition to agricultural products.


Florence is located in the coastal plain of South Carolina. It is in the northeastern part of the state and the northern part of Florence County. The average elevation above sea level is around 140 ft (43 m). Jeffries Creek is a tributary of the Great Pee Dee River and is the main waterway that flows through the city, passing south of the city center. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.9 square miles (54.2 km2), of which 20.9 square miles (54.1 km2) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.22%, is water.


Autumn, winter and spring are mild, with occasional winter nights below freezing but rarely extended cold. Florence's summers can be very hot and humid. The city, like other cities of the Southeast, is prone to inversions, which trap ozone and other pollutants over the area.

Climate data for Florence, South Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 85
Average high °F (°C) 56
Average low °F (°C) 35
Record low °F (°C) 0
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.25
Source: The Weather Channel



  • I-95 is a six-lane freeway that enters the city from the northeast, and exits southwest. The highway leads northeast 87 miles (140 km) to Fayetteville, North Carolina, and southwest 179 miles (288 km) to Savannah, Georgia.
  • I-20 is a four-lane interstate highway, which enters the city from the west and has a terminus in Florence as (David McLeod Blvd I-20 Bus.). Interstate 20 leads west 83 miles (134 km) to Columbia, then on to Atlanta and ultimately Texas.
  • US 52 is a north to south route through the downtown area. The highway crosses Interstate 95 northwest of the downtown area and leads north 157 miles (253 km) to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. To the south it merges with US 301 and eventually leads 113 miles (182 km) to Charleston.
  • US 76 enters the city from the west at Interstate 95, then merges with David McLeod Blvd at Palmetto Street, and finally exits east of the city at the junction with Freedom Blvd. The road leads southwest 39 miles (63 km) to Sumter and east 115 miles (185 km) to Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • US 301 offers another northeast to southwest route through Florence. Entering the city merged with US 52 as South Irby Street, it then forms a crescent-shaped bypass around the downtown area as Freedom Boulevard. US 301 then merges with US 76 east of downtown Florence, and exits as such.

Mass transit

The Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority (PDRTA), is the principal agency responsible for operating mass transit in greater Florencea area including Darlington, Marion, Chesterfield, Dillon, and the Lake City area, PDRTA also operates routes to Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Sumter.

PDRTA operates express shuttles, and bus service serving Florence and its immediate surrounds areas. The authority was established in June 1974 which is South Carolina’s Oldest and Largest RTA. PDRTA began operations serving the six-county Pee Dee region of Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, and Marlboro Counties. The PDRTA has provided transportation for more than 15 million passengers and daily PDRTA transports approximately 2,457 people. PDRTA operates services with 165 vehicles ranging in size from transit, intercity buses, and trolleys to lift-equipped vans and goshens.


The city and its surroundings are served by Florence Regional Airport (IATA:FLO; ICAO:KFLO), which is located 2 miles (3.2 km) east of downtown Florence on US 76. The airport itself is serviced by American Eagle to Charlotte and is the second busiest airport in the region behind Myrtle Beach International Airport.It Is located an hour West of Myrtle Beach

Intercity rail

See also: Florence (Amtrak station)

Amtrak's The Palmetto trains 89, 90 and the Silver Meteor trains 97, 98 connect Florence with the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, Jacksonville, Tampa and Miami.

Intercity bus

Greyhound Lines and Southeastern Stages operates a station on Irby Street, in the southern part of downtown, providing Florence with intercity bus transportation.

Downtown revitalization

In 2010, the city of Florence began a massive redevelopment of Downtown Florence. The city has completed several notable projects and has several more planned. The Downtown Redevelopment District was originally a seventy square block area encompassing some 500 acres (2.0 km2) in the heart of the City of Florence, but now has added over 100 more acres of the Timrod Park area with its historic homes. The redevelopment of Florence has even created a new branding effort, to include new city department logos (not to be confused with the city seal) way finding signs and repainting of water towers.

The historic downtown district running from the central business district toward the McLeod Medical Center, features a number of historic buildings that have been rehabilitated. The redevelopment started with the $18 million Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation Library, and today now has the new Florence Little Theater, some 60 new apartments and the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center which opened in September 2011, as well the new Florence Museum Of Art, Science & History which opened October 11, 2014. New office space has emerged from once abandoned buildings, and a police substation was added on once crime ridden Dargan Street.

Special efforts are being aimed at the downtown area, which was once the center of the city's activity but remains dormant after retailers and shoppers left for suburban malls. The goal is to re-establish Evans as a vibrant commercial and residential corridor, and five blocks of Evans Street will be streetscaped.

People and culture


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,914
1890 3,395 77.4%
1900 4,647 36.9%
1910 7,057 51.9%
1920 10,968 55.4%
1930 14,774 34.7%
1940 16,054 8.7%
1950 22,513 40.2%
1960 24,722 9.8%
1970 25,997 5.2%
1980 29,842 14.8%
1990 29,813 −0.1%
2000 30,248 1.5%
2010 37,056 22.5%
Est. 2015 38,228 3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 30,248 people, 11,925 households, and 7,882 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,709.4 people per square mile (659.8/km²). There were 13,090 housing units at an average density of 739.7 per square mile (285.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 50.0% White, 46.0% Black or African- American, 0.18% Native American, 1.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.76% of the population.

There were 11,925 households out of which 30.2% had children living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 20.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.9% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 82.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,388, and the median income for a family was $42,250. Males had a median income of $35,633 versus $23,589 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,336. 19.3% of the population and 15.3% of families were below the poverty line. 28.2% of those under and 15.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Florence is the central city of a metropolitan area with a total population of 205,566 (2010 US census), including the entire populations of Florence and Darlington counties. However, in the more detailed 2000 Census data, only about 54% of this metro was urbanized, consisting of the urban areas Florence (2000 pop.: 67,314), Hartsville (14,907), Darlington (12,066), and Lake City (8,728). The remainder of the Florence metro is considered rural.


Like other midsize cities in the southern United States, Florence's population is largely dominated by Protestantism, the largest being the Southern Baptists, followed by the Methodists. The rest of the population are distributed among other Protestant denominations as well as the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches. The Greek Orthodox Church holds a large Greek Festival annually in September. There are two Reform Judaism synagogues in Florence Beth Israel Congregation. It is also the home of the Florence Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). There is also a small Hindu Temple.



  • Florence Civic Center
  • Florence National Cemetery
  • Florence Public Library
  • Florence Regional Airport
  • Florence Stockade
  • War Between the States Museum


The city of Florence is a retail hub of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. Shoppers come from not only Florence and Darlington counties but from all over the Pee Dee region to Florence for a wider range of shopping and dining that includes many of the largest and well known regional and national chains.

Magnolia Mall, a regional mall is the largest shopping center in the area between Columbia and Myrtle Beach. It contains over 600,000 sq. ft with over 70 stores including anchors Belk, JC Penney, Sears, Dick's Sporting Goods, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. Other retailers include: Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Old Navy, Bath & Body Works, Charlotte Russe, The Children's Place, Express, Justice, Lane Bryant, New York & Company, Victoria's Secret. There are 7 food court options and a Ruby Tuesday attached to the mall. Outparcels on the mall property include Buffalo Wild Wings, Mellow Mushroom, Outback Steakhouse, IHOP, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Chuck E. Cheese's. Magnolia Mall was opened in 1979 and redeveloped in 2008. The mall is located near the junction of I-95 and I-20 on David H. McLeod Blvd.

Adjacent to Magnolia Mall is Commons at Magnolia which includes Target, David's Bridal, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kirkland's and PetSmart. Across David H. McLeod Blvd. is The Plaza at Magnolia which includes Kohl's, The Home Depot, Longhorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, and Chili's.

Florence Mall is the other major shopping center in the city of Florence. Florence Mall was developed as an open-air mall in the 1960s and now looks more like a shopping plaza. It contains 340,506 sq. ft. Retailers include: Stein Mart, Piggly Wiggly, Talbots, TJ Maxx, Shoe Carnival, Ross, etc. Food options include: Red Bone Alley, Moe's Southwest Grill, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Cici's Pizza, Hardee's, Schlotzsky's Deli, and Cold Stone Creamery. In addition, Florence has two Walmart Supercenters, a Sam's Club, a Kmart, and two Lowe's among other retailers. Other shopping plazas/strip malls, craft/hobby stores, antique stores and mom and pop stores are spread throughout the city.

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