Spartanburg, South Carolina

"Spartanburg" redirects here. For other uses, see Spartanburg (disambiguation).
Spartanburg, South Carolina
City of Spartanburg

Clockwise from top: Spartanburg skyline, Daniel Morgan Monument, Chapman Cultural Center, Morgan Square, Old Main at Wofford College, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium

Nickname(s): The Hub City; Sparkle City; The Burg
Motto: "Always Doing."

Spartanburg's location in South Carolina
Coordinates: 34°56′48″N 81°55′39″W / 34.94667°N 81.92750°W / 34.94667; -81.92750Coordinates: 34°56′48″N 81°55′39″W / 34.94667°N 81.92750°W / 34.94667; -81.92750
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Spartanburg
Founded 1831
  Mayor Junie White
  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%
Elevation 807 ft (246 m)
Population (2013)[1]
  City 37,647
  Density 2,066.3/sq mi (399.9/km2)
  Urban 180,786 (US: 192nd)
  Metro 318,999 (US: 152nd)
  Demonym Spartanburgers
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes 29301-29307
Area code(s) 864
FIPS code 45-68290
GNIS feature ID 1250982[2]

Spartanburg is the largest city in and the county seat of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States,[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

Spartanburg is the second-largest city in the greater Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson Combined Statistical Area which had a population of 1,385,045 as of 2014.[6] 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 became incorporated and later became 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.[7][8]

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 modestly 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.

Climate data for Spartanburg, South Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79
Average high °F (°C) 54.6
Average low °F (°C) 30.0
Record low °F (°C) −5
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.1
Average snowfall inches (cm) 1.1
Average relative humidity (%) 56.5 65.0 64.0 64.0 65.5 69.0 71.0 73.5 74.5 72.5 67.0 66.0 68.5

Points of interest

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.

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.

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.

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 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.[15] 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.


QS/1 Data Systems Headquarters
BMW Spartanburg factory

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 BMW manufacturing 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, a textile and chemical manufacturer.

Top employers

According to Spartanburg's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[16] the principal employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Spartanburg Regional 6,400
2 Spartanburg County 1,437
3 Spartanburg County School District 7 1,243
4 Walmart 925
5 American Credit Acceptance 582
6 QS/1 Headquarters 520
7 Wofford College 450
8 City of Spartanburg 438
9 Advance America 411
10 Denny's Corporation 285


Wilson Hall at Converse College.
Old Main at Wofford College.
USC Upstate's Johnson College of Business and Economics downtown.


Spartanburg is a college town, with eight institutions of higher learning:

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.[18] 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.[19]

Spartanburg is also home to Spartanburg Christian Academy, a K-12 private school in North Spartanburg,[20] 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.[21] Located in Hampton Heights, the Montessori Academy of Spartanburg is a PreK-8 private school providing a Montessori educational approach.[22] The Meeting Street Academy in downtown Spartanburg is a branch of a Charleston-based private school and currently offers PreK and Kindergarten.[23]

St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School is located in downtown Spartanburg. It is affiliated with the Diocese of Charleston and is K-8.[24]


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.


Other attractions include:


Quarterback Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers participate in training camp at Wofford College in 2011.

Spartanburg is host to the NFL's Carolina Panthers training camp each year on the campus of Wofford College.

Historic Duncan Park Stadium was once home to the Spartanburg Stingers[31] in the Coastal Plain League[32] and the Spartanburg Crickets[33] in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League[34] and is the oldest minor league baseball stadium in the country. It was also once home to the Spartanburg Phillies, a minor league team of the Philadelphia Phillies. It now is the home stadium for the baseball teams of Spartanburg High School.

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.[35]

The Southern Conference of the NCAA is headquartered in Spartanburg.

Spartanburg is located an hour away from the Clemson Tigers and about an hour and a half away from the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

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.[36]

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.


Spartanburg is part of the much greater Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson-Asheville DMA which is the nation's 35th largest and is served by the following major television affiliates:


Major highways

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.[49] 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.


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.
Est. 201537,867[51]2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[52]
2013 Estimate[53]

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

Notable people


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Further reading

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