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SC City Nicknames Guide

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From the coastal plain to the foothills, many South Carolina towns and cities have nicknames. Ranging from the historical to the playful, their origins can sometimes be traced to an event or an official designation. Most often however, a city's nickname springs up from the creativity of its residents. While some monikers highlight a town's singularity, others simply point to its enduring qualities. Extensively used in tourism brochures and on welcome signs, nicknames also mold our perception, and introduce outsiders to a town's character. South Carolina city nicknames foster a sense of place, often tying history, landscape, and people together.

  • Anderson –  Electric City

    Anderson acquired its nickname in the late 19th century, when it became the first city in the South to make use of long distance cables to carry electricity generated from hydroelectric power plants. In 1897, it boasted electric streetcars, street lamps, and the world's first electrically-powered cotton gin.

  • Aynor –  Little Golden Town

  • Beaufort –  Lettuce City

    Beaufort's relatively obscure nickname harkens back to the advent of truck farming in the area. Improved transportation beginning in the early 20th century allowed area farmers to sell their crops to distant markets. Lettuce was one of those crops and Beaufort was well known for it.

  • Blacksburg –  Iron City

    In the 1890's, large amounts of iron ore were found in the area and people hoping to make a fortune from mining the mineral flocked to Blacksburg. This "iron rush" brought Blacksburg wealth and the first electric street lights in upstate SC.

  • Chapin –  The Capital of Lake Murray

  • Charleston –  Holy City – Chucktown

    Holy City: Charleston's designation stems from the numerous church steeples dotting its downtown skyline, as well as being one of the only cities in the original 13 colonies to welcome members of the French Huguenot Church. While at one time it might have claimed to have the most churches per capita, many other cities now compete for the title.

    Chucktown: As Charleston was originally founded as Charles Town (to honor King Charles II of England) and Chuck is a common alias for Charles, this nickname is a logical one.

  • Cheraw –  Prettiest Town in Dixie

  • Chester –  Pretty Little City on the Hill

  • Clover –  The Town with "love" in the Center

  • Columbia –  River City – Cola Town – Soda Town

    River City: Located at the confluence of three rivers (the Broad, Saluda, and Congaree), this Columbia nickname is a given.

    Cola Town and Soda Town: As Columbia can be abbreviated "Cola," it only follows that "Soda Town" (cola being a type of soda) could emerge as another contender for our capital city's nickname.

  • Darlington –  Pearl of the Pee Dee

  • Due West –  Do Wah Ditty

    "It ain't no town and it ain't no city.
    It's just a little place called Do Wah Ditty."
    Contributed by Bran Stille of Due West

  • Edgefield –  Bloody Edgefield

    "Not all Edgefield citizens are happy with our nickname, but nobody can dispute the fact that we have been termed 'Bloody Edgefield.' In the days when men considered it an honor to fight a duel over what they viewed as an insult to the honor of their family, many duels were fought here on the courthouse square and in other not so well-known places. Former senators, governors, and congressmen from Edgefield fought publicized duels. When talking about Edgefield to visitors I often ask, 'How do you think the West became wild? We populated it!"
    Contributed by Carol Hardy Bryan of Edgefield

  • Elgin –  Home of the Catfish Stomp

    Typically held the first Saturday of December, the Catfish Stomp is Elgin's small town festival, featuring a parade, live music, arts and crafts, and, of course, catfish stew.

  • Florence –  Magic City

    Oftentimes used to refer to a city's remarkable growth in a short period of time, Florence's nickname of "Magic City" could be a nod to the area's rapid economic development in the industrial and medical sectors after WWII. As an alternative explanation, G. Wayne King, in his book Rise Up So Early: A History of Florence County, South Carolina, posits that the nickname came from The Magic City Taxi Cab Company, located in Florence.

  • Folly Beach –  The Edge of America

  • Great Falls –  Flopeye

    "Great Falls was a thriving metropolis and a real boomtown in the early 1900's. It was founded on the old US 21 peddler's route from Charleston to the mountains of North Carolina and beyond, THE trade route of its time.

    "After a hydroelectric plant was built and was powering the first of three cotton mills, the 'company sto' near the plant provided the workers with everything that they could possibly need ... at whatever price they felt like they could get, and simply deducted that from the workers' wages. Up the road, or 'down,' depending on your perspective, a merchant (who may have been named Andy Morrison) who had a lazy, or drooping, eyelid(s), would laze around his store, selling many of the same items at lower prices, of course. The Company tried to discourage its workers from trading with 'that old flopeyed man' down the road. However, people liked his prices, and seemed to genuinely like old 'Flopeye.' They built up a separate business area, and a surrounding village in the area around Flopeye.

    "There were, and still are, two separate and distinct business areas in Great Falls. Downtown, where the Company Store was located, also has a bank (now gone), post office, theater ("The Falls," also gone), and many others. Flopeye, separated by a road winding past beautiful Republic Park, has a football stadium (home of the 1934 State Champs with noted Banks McFadden), churches, and the local school."
    Thanks to Barbara Lyles of Great Falls for sharing this amazing story

  • Greenville –  G-Vegas

  • Greenwood –  Emerald City

    "Greenwood is known as the 'Emerald City' – which I assume comes from the obvious: Green is the color of emeralds. Not to mention that it's a jewel of a town to live in!"
    Contributed by Stacie L. Smith of Greenwood

  • Honea Path –  The Little Town with the Big Heart

  • James Island –  Jim Isle

  • Lancaster –  Red Rose City

    Lancaster's founders named their town in remembrance of their homelands in England, the region of the famous House of Lancaster that opposed the House of York in the legendary War of the Roses. York, in the adjoining county, is known as White Rose City.

  • Myrtle Beach –  Golf Capital of the World

  • Newberry –  City of Friendly Folks

  • Orangeburg –  Garden City

    "Orangeburg is known as Garden City for the beautiful and vast Edisto Memorial Gardens. Located alongside the Edisto River, the gardens have beautiful roses, azaleas, and cherry trees. They also feature sculptures, fountains, a nature walk, and plenty of fully accessible parking."
    Contributed by John Yow of Orangeburg

  • Pickens –  Gem of the Foothills

  • Prosperity –  Frog Level

    Prosperity was chartered under the name of "Frog Level" in 1851, only acquiring its current name after residents pushed to change it in 1873. The former name and now nickname originate from local lore. According to the legend, an old man got intoxicated and laid to rest at the edge of a pond in the middle of town. When he awoke in a stupor, he imagined that the numerous croaking frogs in the pond were crying "frog level." He repeated it and the name stuck.

  • Ridgeland –  High Point of the Lowcountry

  • Ruby –  Jewel City

  • St George –  Town of Friendly People

  • Smyrna –  City with a Heart of Gold

  • Spartanburg –  Hub City – Sparkle City

    Hub City: As railroads grew in South Carolina in the late 19th century, Spartanburg was located at the intersection of many tracks and quickly became a railroad hub. At one point, up to 90 trains passed through or stopped in Hub City.

    Sparkle City: Spartanburg drew its dazzling nickname from a popular late 1950's rockabilly group, "Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones." These four teenagers from nearby Cowpens made appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "American Bandstand" after their hit single Black Slacks made it to the Billboard charts in 1957.

  • Summerville –  Flowertown in the Pines

    "Known for its beautiful camellias, azaleas, wisteria vines, and many other flowering shrubs that please the senses, this is an appropriate nickname."
    Contributed by Barbara Glover of Summerville

  • Sumter –  Gamecock City

    Nicknamed "Gamecock City" in honor of American General Thomas Sumter, who was known to "fight like a gamecock" during the Revolutionary War. Incidentally, the gamecock is also USC's mascot, and may have originated from General Sumter's nickname as well.
    Contributed by Pat DuBose of Sumter

  • Union –  City of Hospitality

  • Walhalla –  Garden of the Gods

    Walhalla's nickname stems from the German word for "garden of the gods." Located in Oconee County and settled by German immigrants in 1850, Walhalla understandably must have seemed like a heavenly place to its new inhabitants.

  • Winnsboro –  Rock City

    Winnsboro is nicknamed for the plentiful blue granite that is quarried nearby. Incidentally, blue granite is also South Carolina's state stone.

  • York –  White Rose City

    York was settled by pioneers from York County, Pennsylvania. In turn, the Pennsylvanians traced their city's founders to English areas under the House of York, which had a white rose as its emblem. Originally known as Fergus Crossroads, Yorkville became the name after a courthouse was established. Near the turn of the 20th century, the name was shortened to York.

    The Houses of York and Lancaster were the factions that battled each other for the English Crown in the latter 1400's. Lasting about 30 years, the conflict was what most history students will recall as the "War of the Roses." Due to a feeble-minded king, the House of York forcibly took the crown from the House of Lancaster, which only regained the crown some years later. The war was eventually settled by marriage between the two houses and the rise of the Tudor monarchy in England.

    Just as York is the White Rose City, Lancaster, in neighbouring Lancaster County, is known as Red Rose City.
    Contributed by Russell Propst of the Yorkville Historical Society

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