Spartan

Florence Developments

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I was going through some old pictures t hat I saved and I came accross these of Florence. I'm not sure who took them, but it wasnt me.

I recent had the opportunity to visit DT Florence, and let me tell you- its nothing to write home about. However, I was suprised that it is not all boarded up. I rode through at about 5:!5 on a Friday, and it had alot of activity. There were almost no places to park, and there were alot of peope walking around. That said, I felt like it wasn't that safe. It looked like there was some gang activity, as well as some other odd looking people. The downtown looks run down, but it shows signs of improvement. There is a very nice looking building that is occipied by Wells-Fargo which isn't shown in these pictures. Also, the McLeod Medical Center (pronounced McLoud) is downtown somewhere, but I never made it there. It looked like the city cares about its downtown, but that it is just in the early stages of improvement. I don't know if there is an active improvement plan or not- that was just my impression. Anyway, here are the pics:

cityFlorenceSC01.jpg

cityFlorenceSC02.jpg

cityFlorenceSC03.jpg

cityFlorenceSC04.jpg

McLeod Medical Center

cityFlorenceSC_city-county-complex.jpg

The Florence City-County Complex

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Sounds like a not-so-attractive place to be, but I hope that the city manages to follow the footsteps of other places in revitalizing its center and provide a safe place for all visitors. Nice photos, though!!!

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Well, the other two brickones seem to have 7 upon closer inspection. And you said 7+ anyway ;)

Its alright though- the point is that there are a few tall ones. I will say that those 7 storey ones do stand out.

If you've never been to the Pee Dee, or the Coastal Carolina's, you would be suprised at how flat it is.

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This is also where you start seeing palmetto trees, spanish moss, and fire ants.

Not necessarily...I have SEVERAL fire ant mounds in my yard...I think you could nuke those mounds and they'd still find a way to survive. I've been working in my yard as of late trying to get some things done before winter and a couple of weeks ago I was bitten by several of those critters... :cry:

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Now that is a place I wouldn't want to live in! It is so so dead looking. The architecture is hideous. It looks so suburban. Southfield looks more urban than that, and we are the poster child for sprawl!

On second thought, comparing Southfield to Florence isn't really fair, since not many cities with 78,000 people in them have three skylines, including a cluster of 30+ story buildings.

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I agree Spartan,  somewhere East of Columbia you leave the Piedmont, and enter the Pee Dee.  The gumbo red clay disappears and all of a sudden you are on very very flat sand.  This is also where you start seeing palmetto trees, spanish moss, and fire ants.

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Yeah, Columbia is located on the Fall Line, where that change occurs. Its still kinda hilly here, but its noticable less the further southeast you go.

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I've been looking all over the net for pictures of Florence and was certainly happy to find them here...I was born in Florence County. However, I moved away from it two decades ago to California via Charleston after college.

I haven't seen the city of Florence in nearly 25 years. I must say, it doesn't look at all like the bustling town I recall as a teenager. I remember when the City/County complex bldg used to look so big and now it looks very short and very small...

The shots of downtown are so very dreary...like being in the Tenderloin, the seediest, most crime infested part of San Francisco...though the buildings in the Tenderloin are quite attractive. Then again most parts of downtown Oakland, a major city, resembles these images...Oakland is prob. the only major city I know that doesn't have a major dept. store...though, I think they recently got a Sears in the old I-Magmun building when I-Magnum went out of business. And finally a Gap have opened on Oakland's downtown Broadway Street and not another pawn shop.

I think Florence at one time converted downtown into an open-air mall or may be that was the Florence Mall driving out towards I-95? I do remember that I used to love to go to Kress Dept. store in downtown and buy chocolate covered peanuts, which I still love today...Florence used to be exciting to see for me a boy when my parents drove into town from (forget the Highway) from Pamplico, a tinier town, and I loved studying the few high (low) rises that appeared over the horizon. Back then, Florence was the center of the region because it was only place to see films or go to restaurants in all of Florence County, thus downtown was always teeming with traffic and people because there weren't many shopping centers and malls that probl. have destroyed the core of Florence and left it looking so run-down.

Strangely enough, I would love to see Florence again...I hear it has a Civic Center now and even a hockey team...

I hope the citizens of Florence though revitalize downtown and bring it back to the bustling, center for Pee Dee place I recall as a boy...

The next time I am down, I'll have to visit.

--------------

I was going through some old pictures t hat I saved and I came accross these of Florence. I'm not sure who took them, but it wasnt me.

I recent had the opportunity to visit DT Florence, and let me tell you- its nothing to write home about. However, I was suprised that it is not all boarded up. I rode through at about 5:!5 on a Friday, and it had alot of activity. There were almost no places to park, and there were alot of peope walking around. That said, I felt like it wasn't that safe. It looked like there was some gang activity, as well as some other odd looking people. The downtown looks run down, but it shows signs of improvement. There is a very nice looking building that is occipied by Wells-Fargo which isn't shown in these pictures. Also, the McLeod Medical Center (pronounced McLoud) is downtown somewhere, but I never made it there. It looked like the city cares about its downtown, but that it is just in the early stages of improvement. I don't know if there is an active improvement plan or not- that was just my impression. Anyway, here are the pics:

cityFlorenceSC01.jpg

cityFlorenceSC02.jpg

cityFlorenceSC03.jpg

cityFlorenceSC04.jpg

McLeod Medical Center

cityFlorenceSC_city-county-complex.jpg

The Florence City-County Complex

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Some hope for Florence, my boyhood home of long ago: a great looking McLeod Pavilion Tower is under construction... http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=208452

However, Florence needs to work on re-creating its heart. I say add Palm Trees along downtown streets and restaurants with outdoor tables that will certainly spruce up the town...

I have been to downtown Greenville in SC and that city's downtown is absolutely amazing and very beautiful along Reedy river. Also, I loved the river's urban 'falls' that almost made me forget I was even downtown and not in the mountains.

I've been looking all over the net for pictures of Florence and was certainly happy to find them here...I was born in Florence County. However, I moved away from it two decades ago to California via Charleston after college.

I haven't seen the city of Florence in nearly 25 years. I must say, it doesn't look at all like the bustling town I recall as a teenager. I remember when the City/County complex bldg used to look so big and now it looks very short and very small...

The shots of downtown are so very dreary...like being in the Tenderloin, the seediest, most crime infested part of San Francisco...though the buildings in the Tenderloin are quite attractive. Then again most parts of downtown Oakland, a major city, resembles these images...Oakland is prob. the only major city I know that doesn't have a major dept. store...though, I think they recently got a Sears in the old I-Magmun building when I-Magnum went out of business. And finally a Gap have opened on Oakland's downtown Broadway Street and not another pawn shop.

I think Florence at one time converted downtown into an open-air mall or may be that was the Florence Mall driving out towards I-95? I do remember that I used to love to go to Kress Dept. store in downtown and buy chocolate covered peanuts, which I still love today...Florence used to be exciting to see for me a boy when my parents drove into town from (forget the Highway) from Pamplico, a tinier town, and I loved studying the few high (low) rises that appeared over the horizon. Back then, Florence was the center of the region because it was only place to see films or go to restaurants in all of Florence County, thus downtown was always teeming with traffic and people because there weren't many shopping centers and malls that probl. have destroyed the core of Florence and left it looking so run-down.

Strangely enough, I would love to see Florence again...I hear it has a Civic Center now and even a hockey team...

I hope the citizens of Florence though revitalize downtown and bring it back to the bustling, center for Pee Dee place I recall as a boy...

The next time I am down, I'll have to visit.

--------------

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As a native of Florence who visits often to see family, I thought I would chime in.

First, in response to the post from the guy (zahc) that lives in CA but grew up in Pamplico (a small rural town about 20 miles from Florence), I feel your pain. As a boy, Florence, including downtown, did indeed seem like an exciting place. I was born in Florence and grew up in Effingham. Downtown and the malls were fun and people filled. The city in general was much more attractive. Vacant buildings, pavement and billboards seem to dominant the city now. Northeastern SC has always lagged the rest of the state in growth, but even more so now.

There was a block-long covered pedestrian mall downtown from the late 60's until it was torned down in the late 80's. Kress and other shops were there but the covered sidewalks took away some much needed parking.

Like all cities, large and small, the exodus of shopping began in the 60s and by the mid '70s downtown was in serious decline. Retail had moved westward toward the interstates. Unfortunately, the city received a bundle of Urban Renewal money from the feds in the 70's. That money was used to tear down scores of downtown buildings. The thought was that surburban style buildings would replace them. Of course, the plans included suburban style parking and some streets would be replaced with pedestrian plazas to complete the "mall-like experience".

Long story short, the new buildings by and large, never came. One major exception was the construction of a new larger regional hospital. That would be the McLeod Regional Medical Center.

With the opening of the first enclosed mall in the area, in 1979, what little major retail that was still downtown left.

Several efforts were made to "revitialize" downtown over the years. When the covered sidewalks were razed, they went to Antique street lights with a return of street parking. At first some antique stores moved in and actually had something of a draw to it. But that petered out after about a year. There was a comprehensive, multi-block plan to return the remaining commercial stock back to it's original historic architecture. But the city council backed away from the tax increases and requiring property owners to fix up their properties.

Now, there is yet another effort to turn things around. However, I think it will go nowhere because too much of the urban fabric of door-to-door comercial buildings is gone. The area has a stigma and the area leadeship is just not progressive enough.

The one bright spot has been McLeod Medical Center. They have grown exponentially, and it is now the largest employer in 9 counties. Since '79 they have grown from I think less than 1,000 empolyees to close to 5,000 today. That's pretty huge for a city of 30,000 (metro 125,000).

There is one non-McLeod seven story building downtown. The City-County Complex is 11 stories. McLeod has two seven story buildings and also a five story building that is currently expanding upward to 12 stories. There is a second hospital in town with 9 stories, but is is 2-3 miles south of Downtown.

Edited by vicupstate

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Enjoyed reading your post. Florence seems be doing all right for a small size city. Actually I thought by now the city would have been approaching 50,000, but I guess it hasn't grown that much in population than when I lived in Florence County and the population of Florence was around 26,000.

Still Florence was our 'capital/cultural center' of the Great Pee Dee, and I enjoyed going downtown or to the museum where Florence seemed so alive, filled with people and 5 paces faster than Pamplico. I've always loved cities and skyscrappers, which is why I left tiny Pamplico.

Would love to see nicer pictures of Florence... like its residential areas near Timrod Park that I always found enchanting with well kept yards, beautiful big houses and very tall shady trees.

I think if the City/County complex building had been taller (20 stories or more) it might not look so sad...

What is Florence's government? Is it City-manager or does the city elect a mayor?

Effingham...I remember passing through it on the way to Florence from Pamplico. Usually we stopped by a store in Effingham to gas up and buy snacks...

As a native of Florence who visits often to see family, I thought I would chime in.

First, in response to the post from the guy (zahc) that lives in CA but grew up in Pamplico (a small rural town about 20 miles from Florence), I feel your pain.  As a boy, Florence, including downtown, did indeed seem like an exciting place.  I was born in Florence and grew up in Effingham.  Downtown and the malls were fun and people filled.  The city in general was much more attractive.  Vacant buildings, pavement and billboards seem to dominant the city now.  Northeastern SC  has always lagged the rest of the state in growth, but even more so now. 

There was a block-long covered pedestrian mall downtown from the late 60's until it was torned down in the late 80's.  Kress and other shops were there but the covered sidewalks took away some much needed parking. 

Like all cities, large and small, the exodus of shopping began in the 60s and by the mid '70s downtown was in serious decline.  Retail had moved westward toward the interstates.  Unfortunately, the city received a bundle of Urban Renewal money from the feds in the 70's.  That money was used to tear down scores of downtown buildings.  The thought was that surburban style buildings would replace them.  Of course, the plans included suburban style parking and some streets would be replaced with pedestrian plazas to complete the "mall-like experience". 

Long story short, the new buildings by and large, never came.  One major exception was the construction of a new larger regional hospital.  That would be the McLeod Regional Medical Center. 

With the opening of the first enclosed mall in the area, in 1979, what little major retail that was still downtown left. 

Several efforts were made to "revitialize" downtown over the years.  When the covered sidewalks were razed, they went to Antique street lights with a return of street parking.  At first some antique stores moved in and actually had something of a draw to it.  But that petered out after about a year.  There was a comprehensive, multi-block plan to return the remaining commercial stock back to it's original historic architecture.  But the city council backed away from the tax increases and requiring property owners to fix up their properties. 

Now, there is yet another effort to turn things around.  However, I think it will go nowhere because too much of the urban fabric of door-to-door comercial buildings is gone.  The area has a stigma and the area leadeship is just not progressive enough.

The one bright spot has been McLeod Medical Center.  They have grown exponentially, and it is now the largest employer in 9 counties.  Since '79 they have grown from I think less than 1,000 empolyees to close to 5,000 today.  That's pretty huge for a city of 30,000 (metro 125,000).

There is one non-McLeod seven story building downtown.  The City-County Complex is 11 stories.  McLeod has two seven story buildings and also a five story building that is currently expanding upward to 12 stories.  There is a second hospital in town with 9 stories, but is is 2-3 miles south of Downtown.

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Florence does have a Civics Center, and a Minor League hockey team called the Pee Dee Pride. I recently went there to see Ron While with my girlfriend. It seemed like a decent enough place. Its located on Radio Drive, right off of McLeod Blvd. Florence has certainly seen some change in the past 20 years. Its goot to hear from some natives about the area! I hope to hear more from everyone.

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Enjoyed reading your post. Florence seems be doing all right for a small size city. Actually I thought by now the city would have been approaching 50,000, but I guess it hasn't grown that much in population than when I lived in Florence County and the population of Florence was around 26,000.

What is Florence's government? Is it City-manager or does the city elect a mayor?

Effingham...I remember passing through it on the way to Florence from Pamplico. Usually we stopped by a store in Effingham to gas up and buy snacks...

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Due to restrictive annexation laws in SC, Florence and most SC cities keep about the same population decade after decade. Charleston and North Charleston are notable exeptions, but Florence, Greenville and Columbia still have about the same population as they had in 1970. The metro area poulation is more reflective of the true growth. In 1970 Florence city had a population of 26,000 with 89,000 in the county. The city is 30,000 and the county 125,000 as of the 2000 census.

Florence has a mayor and city council, and they select a city manager. I think the proper term is council-manager form of government.

If that store you are referring to is on Pamplico Hwy, it was probably the one my relatives run. It is called O.H. Meggs Exxon. It is between Evergreen and Florence.

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Charleston and North Charleston have been very aggressive in their annexation, which is why they are so large. I hate SC's annexation laws. They are extremely antiquated, and generally counter productive.

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Yep! That would be the shop! Wow! It's still there. How great.

Pamplico, too, is a handsome little town from what I can recall. One my Aunt's still live there. Most of my family though have passed away or moved to the Northeast and the State of Florida. I have another Aunt, a retired teacher, who lives in Columbia out near Columbia College. She and husband also have property up in Hopkins (where I like to stay when I visit) and more property in the the pretty county north of Columbia in beautiful red hills and on a wide black river.

Yes, I've have always wondered why the Charleston area cities continue to grow, and yet important Carolina cities like Greenville, Florence, Spartanburg have populations that never change. Rock Hill seems to the next SC city that will finally hit 60,000 or more, along with Mt. Pleasant, east of Charleston.

Florence and Greenville look so much bigger than their reflective populations. I look many towns in the Bay Area, really bedroom communities of San Francisco where I live, and they are much smaller in area than Columbia and Charleston, and yet have 100,000+ people. Then again these places don't really look like cities either compared to Florence, Columbia, Charleston or Greenville.

You're correct, we should regard the entire county or metro area when looking at the population of cities today.

Pity they can't count Myrtle Beach's beach summer population when that town has a population bigger than the city limits of Atlanta...

Due to restrictive annexation laws in SC, Florence and most SC cities keep about the same population decade after decade.  Charleston and North Charleston are notable exeptions, but Florence, Greenville and Columbia still have about the same population as they had in 1970.  The metro area poulation is more reflective of the true growth.  In 1970 Florence city had a population of 26,000 with 89,000 in the county.  The city is 30,000 and the county 125,000 as of the 2000 census.

Florence has a mayor and city council, and they select a city manager. I think the proper term is council-manager form of government. 

If that store you are referring to is on Pamplico Hwy, it was probably the one my relatives run.  It is called O.H. Meggs Exxon.  It is between Evergreen and Florence.

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Yeah, I think urban areas are a more accurate account of city size. SC cities then would have a more accurate representation of there city "proper" populations.

Charleston: 423,410

Columbia: 420,537

Greenville: 302,194

Spartanburg: 145,058

Florence: 67,314

The first three may be a little over inflated but I think it's more accurate than the 100K+ of Columbia, & Charleston, and Greenvilles 50K+.

Edited by The_sandlapper

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Rock Hill actually has a larger UA than Florence at 70,000. York County has about 178,000 and Florence County has 128,000. The key difference is that Florence is more of a regional center and Rock Hill is more of a suberban center.

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