- Grand Strand Weekend
- South Carolina for Kids
- South Carolina Bar-B-Que
- A Midlands Weekend
- Civil War Adventures
- South Carolina Waterways
- Three Days in Horse Country
- South Carolina for Seafoodies
- South Carolina Kitsch
- Gullah and African American History
- Upstate Weekend
- South Carolina’s Top Ten for Golfers
- South Carolina’s Offbeat Festivals
- Southern Comforts
- Lowcountry Romance
It’s sad that a city with such a pretty name—it honors the daughter of city founder William Harlee—is so hard to look at sometimes. Downtown Florence is depressing, seemingly a place where zoning took a permanent vacation, not to be seen or heard from since. That said, this is the Pee Dee’s largest city, helped greatly by its position at the intersection of I-95 and I-20.
While a wag would say that the area’s impressive influx of hospitals and health care firms has more to do with the citizenry’s incredibly unhealthy diet than any fiduciary foresight, there’s no question that Florence has made a name for itself as a regional medical hub.
Easy transportation has always been key to Florence’s history. Though technically it began as a township in the early 1700s, for practical purposes its history began in the mid-1800s when it became a major rail center. After Sherman’s victory at Atlanta, the Confederates moved many Union POWs from Andersonville, Georgia, to Florence.
The Florence Prison Stockade, a rank, brutal place just as Andersonville was, operated for a comparatively short time, only five months. But during that time about 3,000 of the 18,000 prisoners died, with many being buried as unknowns in Florence National Cemetery.
So—assuming you don’t get sick while you’re here—is there much to do? Yes, there are a few things worth seeing in Florence. (They even have a symphony orchestra, no small feat for any mid-sized city in America in these financially strapped times.) And as with all of South Carolina, the people are delightful.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition