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Spartanburg, South Carolina
City of Spartanburg
Top, left to right: Spartanburg skyline, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, Wofford College, Chapman Cultural Center, Daniel Morgan Monument, Chapman Cultural Center
Top, left to right: Spartanburg skyline, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, Wofford College, Chapman Cultural Center, Daniel Morgan Monument, Chapman Cultural Center
Official logo of Spartanburg, South Carolina
The Hub City; Sparkle City; The Burg
"Always Doing."
Spartanburg's location in South Carolina
Spartanburg's location in South Carolina
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Spartanburg
Founded 1831
 • City 19.2 sq mi (49.9 km2)
 • Land 19.2 sq mi (49.6 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)  0.47%
807 ft (246 m)
 • City 37,647
 • Density 2,066.3/sq mi (399.9/km2)
 • Urban
180,786 (US: 192nd)
 • Metro
318,999 (US: 152nd)
 • Demonym
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 864
FIPS code 45-68290
GNIS feature ID 1250982

Spartanburg is the largest city in and the county seat of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States, and the twelfth largest city by population in the state. Spartanburg has a municipal population of 37,013 and an urban population of 180,786 as of the 2010 census. The Spartanburg Metropolitan Statistical Area, corresponding to Spartanburg County and Union County, had a population of 317,057 as of the 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

Spartanburg is the second-largest city in the greater Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson Combined Statistical Area which has a population of 1,385,045 as of 2014. It is part of a 10-county region of northwestern South Carolina known as "The Upstate," and is located 98 miles (158 km) northwest of Columbia, 80 miles (130 km) west of Charlotte, North Carolina, and about 190 miles (310 km) northeast of Atlanta, Georgia.


Spartanburg was formed in 1785 and was named after a local militia called the Spartan Regiment in the American Revolutionary War. The Spartan Regiment, commanded by Andrew Pickens, participated in the nearby Battle of Cowpens. In 1831, Spartanburg was incorporated, later becoming known as the "Hub City" due to the railroad lines forming wheel hub shapes in the area. Around 40 textile mills were established in the late 1800s and early 1900s. During World War I Camp Wadsworth was used to train 100,000 soldiers for the war. Camp Croft also trained soldiers during World War II and is now called Croft State Park. By the 1950s, mills began to decline as wages and the automobile industry increased. BMW US Manufacturing Company, BMW's only North American manufacturing plant, was established in 1992.

Spartanburg in 1909.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.2 square miles (50 km2), of which 19.1 square miles (49 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2), or 0.47%, is water.

The city of Spartanburg has a humid subtropical climate with long, hot and humid summers, and cool to semi mild winters. The average annual temperature is 61.6 °F (16.4 °C). In the summer season from June through September, average highs are in the 80's to low 90's F, while in the winter months average highs are in the mid 50's F. Annual rainfall is spread fairly evenly throughout the whole year. Spartanburg sees very little snowfall, with the annual average being only 1.4 inches. Average precipitation is 51.3 inches (130 cm) and the average growing season is 231 days.

Points of interest

  • Lawson’s Fork Creek, a tributary of the Pacolet River, was once known for its plentiful wildlife and crystal clear waters. Parks and woodlands line much of its banks (which lie entirely within Spartanburg County), and rocky shoals and natural waterfalls can be found throughout its course. It stretches from the northern end of the county to the eastern end, where it empties into the Pacolet.
  • The Cottonwood Trail is a walking trail located in the Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve that runs along part of Lawson’s Fork Creek. The trail includes picnic areas, a raised path over an extensive wetlands area and access to sporadic sandbars. Located just east of downtown, it is used frequently by cyclists, joggers and walkers. Since the Lawson's Fork floodplain is not suitable for development, wildlife populate the area. Larger animals that can be found here include white-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, pileated woodpeckers, mallard ducks, Canadian geese and snapping turtles.
  • Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve, located in the midst of an urban environment, is a welcome oasis of natural beauty. Retired social activist Harold Hatcher and his wife Josephine transformed an eroding gully into a thick woods and flower garden which now provides a haven for birds and other wildlife.

Early European settlers to this area included French fur trappers, English woodsmen, and Scots-Irish farmers. Few remnants survive from these early pioneering days, but traces can be found in the more rural areas of the county.

  • Walnut Grove Plantation, an 18th-century farmhouse, has been preserved by The Spartanburg County Historical Association. The site of a locally famous skirmish during the American Revolutionary War, it was the home of the Moore family. The plantation lies south of Spartanburg near the town of Roebuck, and is open to the public for tours and during annual festivals.
  • The Seay House, another 18th-century home, is a more typical representative of a pioneer home. Its single stone fireplace and simple construction were common traits of farmsteads from this period.
  • The Price House, the third 18th-century home maintained by the Historical Association, is unique. Its sturdy Flemish-bond brick construction and three stories are less common in this area. By carefully examining the original inventory lists of the house, the Historical Association has been able to retrieve period pieces that approximate the original contents of the house.

First established in the 1780s as a courthouse village, Spartanburg may have been named for the Spartan regiment of the South Carolina militia. The city was incorporated in 1831, at the time of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Cowpens, a pivotal fight of the American Revolution that took place only a few miles away. The city’s streets and architectural record reflect the changes of the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • Morgan Square, the city’s primary downtown hub, is the original courthouse village. It was founded adjacent to a small spring (now underground) on the western slope of a ridge, which forms the border of the Tyger and Pacolet River watersheds. The square's name derives from Daniel Morgan, the general who commanded the American forces at Cowpens. A statue of Morgan was placed in the square in 1881. The oldest existing buildings on Morgan Square date to the 1880s.
  • The Magnolia Street Train Depot is one of the older buildings in Spartanburg and stands as a reminder of Spartanburg’s old nickname "the Hub City," referring to the many transportation routes that connected Spartanburg with cities throughout the region. It is now the home of the Amtrak station, the Hub City Railroad Museum, and the Hub City Farmers' Market.
  • Hampton Heights Historic District is the city's oldest intact downtown neighborhood, located a couple of blocks south of Morgan Square. Architectural styles in this neighborhood range from large Queen Anne and Neoclassical homes to cozy early 20th-century bungalows.

Cotton mills have abounded in the Spartanburg area since 1816, earning Spartanburg the reputation as the "Lowell of the South." Although there were few mills in the area before the Civil War, technological advances, northern capital, and out-migration from the poor farms that made white labor available, created a wave of postbellum mill development here and in much of the Piedmont South. Additionally, the abundant streams and rivers in the area are just beginning their descent towards the lower-lying Midlands region. In many places, these waterways descend abruptly, providing a source for plentiful waterpower. Cotton mills were built along these rivers to harness this power, and so began the region’s servitude to King Cotton. These mills, their owners and their laborers dominated the politics and economy of the region for nearly a century. Although nearly all abandoned, many mills remain along the riverbanks, the Piedmont equivalent of Gothic ruins.

The old bridge and millpond at Glendale. The mill itself (background) has since burned.
  • Glendale Mill is located off Lawson’s Fork Creek southeast of the city. Although gutted by fire in 2004, a few towers and smokestacks remain, providing a dramatic backdrop to the dam, shoals and waterfalls of the creek below. The former company store now serves as the home of the Wofford College Environmental Studies Center. The Glendale Shoals bridge will be getting a $600,00 makeover, and will ultimately connect to the state's Palmetto Trail.
  • Beaumont Mill,north of the downtown, has recently been purchased by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare who moved their billing, human resources, and medical records to the 180,000 square foot mill. The adjacent mill village has been designated as a local historic district.
  • Converse Mill is located east of the city along the Pacolet River. It has recently been purchased by a developer. The mill was reconstructed in 1903 after a huge flood washed away the original mill. The dam is still in use by Converse Energy Inc as a hydroelectric plant.

When the United States entered World War I in 1917, one of the sixteen divisional cantonments for the training of National Guard troops was Camp Wadsworth, which is located in the vicinity of Westgate Mall. Large numbers of New York National Guardsmen trained there in addition to many southern troops. During World War II, Camp Croft south of the city trained Army recruits. This is now a South Carolina state park with the same name. Some portions of the park contain the original quonset huts (1/2 metal tube structures).


  • The Hub City Farmers' Market, an outdoor market held Saturday mornings from 6:00am – 12:00pm during the summer and fall on the grounds of the historic Magnolia Street Train Station, showcasing local (often organic) produce and goods.
  • Retrofest, the Southeast's largest disco festival held at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium on the first Saturday in February.
  • Spring Fling, a weekend festival typically held the first Saturday of May, has many live artists, rides, and other assorted attractions.
  • The SouthEast LinuxFest – annual, well attended Linux and open source software conference for the southeast – held in Spartanburg in 2010 and 2011.
  • Red, White and Boom, a Fourth of July event held at Barnet Park featuring patriotic music and a fireworks display.
  • The Annual Sidewalk Arts Show, an open, juried art exhibition held concurrently with The International Festival on the first Saturday in October.
  • The International Festival, an event showcasing culture and cuisine from countries around the globe held at Barnet Park on the first Saturday in October.
  • Music on Main, a street concert event held every Thursday (April through August) downtown.
  • The Greek Festival, a major street festival that is held in September by the local Greek community at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. It offers Greek food and cultural activities, and is the sister festival to the Greek Festival held every spring in Greenville.
  • Dickens of a Christmas, a Victorian holiday event held annually in downtown Spartanburg on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
  • Festifall, an historical celebration held on the grounds of the 18th-century Walnut Grove Plantation in October, featuring demonstrations and reenactments.
  • Taste of the Backcountry, a historical celebration held on the grounds of the 18th-century Price House in April, featuring food samples and demonstrations.
  • The Hub City Hog Fest is an annual barbecue festival and competition that benefits Mobile Meals. It is held in the heart of downtown Spartanburg with food trucks, over 40 BBQ teams, and two days of live music.

Other attractions include:

  • The Spartanburg Museum of Art
  • The Spartanburg Regional Museum of History
  • The Spartanburg Science Center
  • Ballet Spartanburg which has hosted over 22 national and international ballet companies.
  • Hub City Railroad Museum
  • Spartanburg Music Trail which is a series of signs throughout downtown recognizing famous local musicians.
  • Several golf courses, including two private 18-hole courses at the Country Club of Spartanburg and the Carolina Country Club.
  • Cowpens National Battlefield
  • The Hotspot Skatepark
  • Ground Zero historic live music venue.
  • The Beacon Drive-In (Since 1946).

Arts and culture

Panoramic view of the Chapman Cultural Center.

Spartanburg has, throughout its history, been a fruitful home to a creative community. Cultural events and institutions abound in the city and county and consistently draw large crowds.

  • The Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg's cultural anchor for history, art, theatre, dance, music, and science, is located in a three-building complex on the northern edge of downtown. Opened in October 2007, the Center was designed by David M. Schwarz Architects of Washington, D.C. It houses the Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg County Regional History Museum, Science Center, Little Theatre, Ballet, Music Foundation, and other groups that were formerly located in The Arts Center on South Spring Street. It is owned and operated by The Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting arts and cultural agencies in Spartanburg County.
  • The Showroom, the home of Hub-Bub, is a new center for progressive arts in the community. It houses a gallery, film screen, stage, and concert venue and is home to a nationally recognized artist residency program. Hub-Bub is the creative effort responsible for the founding of The Showroom and, as a project goal, seeks to attract and retain creative talent in the community. It was launched in March 2005 by the Hub City Writers Project with assistance from private donors and the city of Spartanburg. The Hub City Writers Project, located a block away, serves the community as a local publishing company and independent bookstore. The Showroom also housed the first TEDx Spartanburg event on September 10, 2011.
  • Converse College is a nationally known four-year liberal arts institution recognized for its strong music and visual art programs. It hosts events open to the community throughout the year. Twitchell Auditorium is located on the campus of Converse College. Home of the Greater Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Twitchell Auditorium has served as hosts to other groups such as the Spartanburg All-County High School Band and Boston Brass. Twitchell Auditorium was built in 1899 and renovated for the school's centennial celebration in 1989. Famous for its acoustics, the 1500-seat auditorium is home to a 57-rank Casavant organ with 2,600+ pipes. Theatre Converse puts on several plays a year, and Converse puts on an opera annually, as well as opera scenes. The college has had major concerts in recent years with such artists as Caedmon's Call, Jason Mraz, Corey Smith, and Colbie Caillat.
  • Wofford College is a prestigious liberal arts college. Not traditionally known for its arts and cultural strength, Wofford has made notable strides to develop arts programs in recent years. Poet and environmental writer John E. Lane, theater artist Mark Ferguson, and visual artist Kris Neely are all graduates of Wofford. Each returned to their alma mater to develop curricular and co-curricular opportunities in the Arts, including a Creative Writing program, a Theatre Major, and a minor in Studio Art. John Lane was also a critical visionary in the creation of the Goodall Environmental Studies Center in Glendale, SC.
  • The Spartanburg County Public Library headquarters, housed in an innovative building on South Church Street, is home to a voluminous collection of fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, A/V materials and items relating to local history and genealogy. The library hosts many meetings, concerts and presentations.
  • The Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium is located on N. Church Street, across from the municipal building in the northwest end of the city of Spartanburg. The "SMA" has hosted various famous acts such as Bob Dylan, Crosby Stills and Nash, B.B. King, Billy Joel, David Copperfield, Lewis Grizzard, Harry Connick, Jr., Gerald Levert, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Phish, A Prairie Home Companion, and many others. Originally built in an Art Deco style and was renovated c. 2002 including a new facade and backstage with loading area.


Major highways

  • I-85 (SC).svg Interstate 85
  • Business Loop 85.svg Business Loop 85
  • I-26 (SC).svg Interstate 26
  • I-585 (SC).svg Interstate 585
  • US 176.svg U.S. Route 176
  • US 29.svg U.S. Route 29
  • US 221.svg U.S. Route 221
  • South Carolina 9.svg South Carolina 9
  • South Carolina 295.svg South Carolina 295
  • South Carolina 56.svg South Carolina 56
  • South Carolina 296.svg South Carolina 296
  • South Carolina 215.svg South Carolina 215
  • South Carolina 129.svg South Carolina 129

Public transit

A hybrid SPARTA bus at the downtown Passenger Center.

Spartanburg is served by the Spartanburg Area Regional Transit Agency (SPARTA), covering the city of Spartanburg and the surrounding urbanized area with 8 routes leading to a wide variety of destinations. All SPARTA buses are equipped with bicycle racks. Two hybrid-electric buses were added to the fleet in 2012. The SPARTA Passenger Center is located at 100 North Liberty Street and also serves Greyhound buses.

Mass Transit is provided to all citizens of Spartanburg County through Spartanburg County Dial-A-Ride. It is a door to door service that operates six days a week.


  • The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) lies mostly in Spartanburg County in suburban Greer, and it serves Greenville as well as Spartanburg. It has become one of the busiest airports in South Carolina.
  • The Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (SPA) is a general aviation airport owned and operated by the City, which lies southwest of town.

Railroad station

Amtrak's Crescent train connects Spartanburg with the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Greensboro, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans. The Amtrak station is situated at 290 Magnolia Street.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,176
1860 1,216 3.4%
1870 1,080 −11.2%
1880 3,253 201.2%
1890 5,544 70.4%
1900 11,395 105.5%
1910 17,517 53.7%
1920 22,638 29.2%
1930 28,723 26.9%
1940 32,249 12.3%
1950 36,795 14.1%
1960 44,352 20.5%
1970 44,546 0.4%
1980 43,826 −1.6%
1990 43,467 −0.8%
2000 39,673 −8.7%
2010 37,013 −6.7%
2015 (est.) 37,867 2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
2013 Estimate

As of the census of 2000, there were 39,673 people, 15,989 households, and 9,721 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,066.3 people per square mile (799.9/km²). There were 17,696 housing units at an average density of 923.9 per square mile (356.8/km²). The racial makeup was 49.55% African American, 47.15% White, 0.18% Native American, 1.33% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.76% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.78% of the population.

There were 15,989 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.0% were married couples living together, 23.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 12.2% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 79.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,735, and the median income for a family was $36,108. Males had a median income of $30,587 versus $23,256 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,136. About 19.4% of families and 23.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.6% of those under age 18 and 15.4% of those age 65 or over.

List of neighborhoods

  • Andrews Farm
  • Arkwright
  • Beaumont Mills
  • Ben Avon
  • Boiling Springs
  • Camelot
  • Carolina Country Club
  • Cedar Springs
  • Cleveland Heights
  • Cleveland Park
  • Converse Heights
  • Creekside
  • Cypress Creek
  • Drayton
  • Duncan Park
  • East Spartanburg
  • Fernwood
  • Forest Hills
  • Hampton Heights (National Register of Historic Places district)
  • Highland
  • Hillbrook
  • Hillcrest
  • Hilltop
  • Park Hills
  • Rock Spring
  • Saxon
  • Summerhill
  • The Oaks
  • The Towns
  • Westgate
  • Whites Mill
  • Woodburn Hills
  • Woodland Heights
  • Woodridge

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