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 at the 2010 census. The Spartanburg Metropolitan Statistical Area, corresponding to Spartanburg County and Union County had a population of 316,997 as of the 2012 census estimate and Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
This region of the Carolina Piedmont was for centuries a cherished hunting ground of the Catawba and Cherokee tribes, which occupied land east and west of this area, respectively. This distant heritage can be glimpsed in some of the natural features.
Lawson's Fork Creek is located downstream from the Cottonwood Trail.
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 that runs along part of Lawson’s Fork located on the Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve. The trail includes picnic areas, a raised path over an extensive wetlands area and access to sporadic sandbars. It is used frequently by cyclists, joggers and walkers and is located just east of downtown. 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 and snapping turtles.
Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve, located in the midst of an urban environment, is a welcome oasis of natural beauty. The project of a retired social activist, Hatcher Garden has transformed an eroding gully into a thick woods and flower garden and 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 associated with 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 widespread for 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.
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 several years ago, 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.
Beaumont Mill, north of the downtown, has recently been renovated to house the NCAA Southern Conference headquarters. 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.
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).
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 modestly cool to semi mild winters. The average annual temperature is 60 °F (16 °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.
The current mayor, Junie White, was elected in 2009. Spartanburg operates under a City manager form of government in which the mayor and six city council members have equal votes. Council members represent districts within the city and the mayor is elected at large. The council appoints a city manager, who is responsible for the daily administration of city governmental affairs. City Hall is located at 145 West Broad Street.
The Spartanburg County Administration Building (this is the old Sears building which was vacated in the mid-1970s when Sears moved to Westgate Mall and renovated in the late 1980s or early 1990s) is located at 366 North Church Street. It is across the street from the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium.
Within the past decade, developers and community leaders have spearheaded an effort to revitalize Spartanburg's downtown commercial district. This has resulted in a remodeling of Morgan Square, the restoration of a number of historic structures and the relocation of several businesses and company headquarters to the downtown vicinity. Some of these new developments include a nine-floor, 240-room Marriott, the headquarters of Advance America, and the headquarters of QS/1 Data Systems. The world headquarters of Denny's restaurants is also located in downtown Spartanburg. Numerous other smaller businesses such as RJ Rockers Brewing Company have also moved downtown as a result of this community-wide effort.
The economy of Spartanburg benefits from the BMWmanufacturing facility located in the western end of Spartanburg County. Manufacturing began in 1996 with certain types of the 3 Series (from the E36 platform) and with the Z3 roadster. However, a year later when the newer 3 Series (E46) platform emerged, BMW decided not to build it at the Spartanburg plant, but instead exclusively manufacture variants of the popular Z3. The plant currently manufactures the X5 SAV and X6 SAC for the world market. As part of an expansion project announced in March 2008, the plant will add about 1,200,000 square feet (110,000 m2) of assembly space, and it will become the home of the next-generation X3 SAV.
Spartanburg is also home to the world headquarters and research facility for Milliken & Company. With over 12,000 associates located at more than 60 facilities worldwide, Milliken is one of the largest privately held textile and chemical manufacturers in the world.
According to Spartanburg's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the principal employers in the city are:
Wofford College – Founded in 1854, Wofford is a Phi Beta Kappa liberal arts college with an enrollment of approximately 1,500 students.
Public and private schools
Most of the City of Spartanburg's public schools are run by Spartanburg County School District 7, one of seven loosely affiliated districts located in Spartanburg County. However, the westernmost part of the city is served by Spartanburg County School District 6, which has two elementary schools within city limits. Spartanburg is home to the main campus of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind. It has five Regional Outreach Centers throughout the state. The city is also home to Spartanburg Preparatory School, a K-8 public charter school that is the only "brick and mortar" charter school in the Upstate.
Spartanburg is also home to Spartanburg Christian Academy, a K-12 private school in North Spartanburg, the Spartanburg Day School, a K-12 private school offering the International Baccalaureate in grades K-4, and to Oakbrook Preparatory and Westgate Christian schools, both K-12 private schools. Located in Hampton Heights, the Montessori Academy of Spartanburg is a PreK-8 private school providing a Montessori educational approach. The Meeting Street Academy in downtown Spartanburg is a branch of a Charleston-based private school and currently offers PreK and Kindergarten.
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School is located in downtown Spartanburg. It is affiliated with the Diocese of Charleston and is K-8.
Spartanburg County’s healthcare is mainly provided by the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Spartanburg Regional is a public, not-for-profit, integrated health care delivery system based in the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, a 588-bed teaching and research hospital. SRHS provides healthcare services to a five-county area in North and South Carolina, serving an Upstate medical population of more than 300,000 people.
In 1925, Dr. Hugh Ratchford Black opened a 35-bed facility named in honor of his wife, Mary Black. The current Skylyn Drive facility opened in 1968, and today, the campus features a 353,690-square-foot (32,859 m2) modern medical facility. The medical staff consists of more than 350 physicians representing all specialties. Mary Black Physician Group has over 100 employed physicians in more than 30 locations.
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.
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 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is held each year at Wofford's Gibbs Stadium. It is a high school football all-star game played between the top players from South Carolina and the top players from North Carolina.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am is a golf tournament on the Nationwide Tour held each year in May at three courses in the Upstate, including the Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg.
The USC Upstate Spartans, Spartanburg Methodist College Pioneers, and the Wofford College Terriers offer a variety of sports for both men and women. Converse College also offers NCAA Division II women's sports teams.
The Spartanburg Parks Commission hosts several travel baseball and softball tournaments each year, helping brand the city as one of the Southeast's most reputable tournament locations. Tyger River Park, a 13-field mega baseball/softball complex, opened in 2012.
Upward Sports, a Christian-based sports organization for kids, is headquartered in Spartanburg.
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/Architectural Services 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 Sept. 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.
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 Journal is a weekly newspaper that is part of a Community Journal group that also has editions in Greenville and Anderson.
The Spartan Weekly News is a weekly newspaper with offices located in downtown Spartanburg. The paper covers all of Spartanburg County with an emphasis on the city of Spartanburg, and its coverage focuses on items of community interest and well as news from around the upstate of South Carolina.
The award-winning Hometown News Group has several newspapers throughout the county and upstate region: The Boiling Springs Sentry, The Blacksburg Times, The Inman Times, Spartanburg County News, The Chesnee Tribune, The Middle Tyger Times, The Whitmire News, The Woodruff News, and The Greer Citizen. Aside from local news and sports coverage, the newspapers offer free wedding and social announcements. All of these papers, save "The Greer Citizen" ceased publication at the end of 2012.
Upstate Link magazine is a young reader (20s–30s) newsweekly in the Upstate of South Carolina, which includes Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson. The weekly publication began in January 2004. Link continues to be a print publication, but its website ceased operation in 2008. Its new website is run by Chicago-based Metromix.
Root is a non-profit quarterly newspaper written, edited, designed, and published entirely by volunteers. The focus is on stories that convey an "uncommon kindness." Topics generally include animal and eco-advocacy, social justice, spirituality, and compassionate use of creative arts.
Spartanburg is part of the much greater Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-AshevilleDMA which is the nation's 35th largest and is served by the following major television affiliates:
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.
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.
Joe Bennett, lead singer and guitarist from the 1950s rock 'n roll band "Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones"
James Francis Byrnes (1882–1972), lawyer, congressman, senator, Supreme Court Justice (only person to step down off the bench for another federal post—head the wartime Office of Economic Stabilization), advisor to FDR, Secretary of State to Truman, Governor of South Carolina
Wilson Casey (born 1954), syndicated newspaper columnist, speaking entertainer, and Guinness World Record holder
^ abcUSA. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. February 28, 2013. Comp. Jeffrey D. Zients. 01st ed. Vol. 13. Washington, DC: US GOV, 2013. OMB Bulletin. EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS. Web. 19 Jan. 2013. <http://www.census.gov/populationimetro.>. Lists of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Metropolitan Divisions, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, Combined Statistical Areas, and New England City and Town Area Delineations: This bulletin and its appendix that provides the nine lists of statistical areas are available electronically from the OMB web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb -- under "Bulletins;" of note, this update, historical delineations, and other information about population statistics is available on the Census Bureau's web site at: http://www.census.gov/populationimetro.)
Cooper, Peter (1997). Hub City Music Makers. Spartanburg, S.C.: Holocene Publishing. ISBN 0-9638731-9-9.
Landrum, J.B.O. (1900). History of Spartanburg County.
Racine, Philip N. (1999). Seeing Spartanburg. Spartanburg, S.C.: Hub City Writers Project. ISBN 1-891885-10-3.
Teter, Betsy Wakefield (Ed.) (2002). Textile Town: Spartanburg, South Carolina. Spartanburg, S.C.: Hub City Writers Project. ISBN 1-891885-28-6. Pp. 346. 40 authors provide a detailed community study, using oral histories, letters, and 200 illustrations and photographs. Central themes include labor strikes, family life in the mill villages, Depression-era hardships, race and desegregation, the boom of WW2 production, and late-twentieth-century deindustrialization.