History and Heritage

Florence is rich in history, dating back to colonial times. Our access to the rivers, and later to three railroads, proved important in the Revolutionary War and the War Between the States (aka Civil War).

During the prohibition era, Florence’s own Melvin Purvis became the G-Man that caught John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson.

During the Cold War in the 1950s, Mars Bluff just east of Florence was hit by the only accidental dropping of an atomic bomb in the US.

Florence County (Lake City) born astronaut and physicist Dr. Ronald E. McNair was on the space shuttle Challenger on that fateful day in 1986.

You’ll find these stories and more at the Florence County Museum.

African-American Sites at Mars Bluff

African-American Sites at Mars Bluff

Just east of Florence, in the area surrounding Francis Marion University, is Mars Bluff, which provides an unique perspective of African-American ...
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Alone with Memories by Alex Palkovich

Alone with Memories by Alex Palkovich

Alex Palkovich created Alone with Memories in honor of his parents who survived German concentration camps in WWII. He donated ...
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American Heritage Festival

American Heritage Festival

American Heritage Festival Grandparents' attics hold treasures. It's just a matter of finding them while clearing out all the boxes. Imagine ...
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Blenheim Ginger Ale

Blenheim Ginger Ale

Blenheim Ginger Ale Company has been bottling Blenheim Ginger Ale since 1903.  It's the earliest, smallest and many say finest, independent soda ...
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Carolina Plantation Rice

Carolina Plantation Rice

Carolina Plantation Rice comes to you from the only colonial plantation in the Carolinas to grow rice for commercial sale. Carolina ...
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Columns Plantation

Columns Plantation

The 1857 Columns Plantation is an outstanding example of Greek Revival architecture. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic ...
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Coward

Coward

Your first stop traveling Highway 52 south from Florence is the quaint town of Coward (population 752) where you’ll find Lynches River ...
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Darlington Raceway

Darlington Raceway

Florence is the place to be during race week for the Southern 500! The Xfinitiy Series and NASCAR Cup Series ...
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Dr. Ronald E. McNair Life History Center

Dr. Ronald E. McNair Life History Center

Opened in 2011, the Ronald E. McNair Life History Center is a museum that pays tribute to the life of Dr. McNair, ...
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Eagle Obelisk by Alex Palkovich

Eagle Obelisk by Alex Palkovich

The center memorial of the Florence Veterans Park is the three-pillar obelisk with eagle. It was co-designed by Alex Palkovich ...
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Eastern SC Heritage Region

Eastern SC Heritage Region

The Eastern South Carolina Heritage Region highlights the Pee Dee region and coastal areas of the state, and features lots of stops ...
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Florence County Museum

Florence County Museum

The Florence County Museum holds a collection of artifacts from the American Civil War through World War I, as well as original ...
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Florence National Cemetery and Florence Stockade

Florence National Cemetery and Florence Stockade

The Florence National Cemetery is located a quarter of a mile from the site of the former Florence Stockade. It became ...
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Florence Veterans Park

Florence Veterans Park

The Florence Veterans Park pays homage to those who are serving or have served in our armed forces with a 'Wall of ...
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Francis Marion Trail

Francis Marion Trail

Imagine Gen. Francis Marion and his men hiding out in the dense forests and swamps in the Pee Dee during ...
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Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center

Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center

Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center's schedule is filled with top-level entertainment ranging from Broadway musicals to Florence Symphony Orchestra. The exterior ...
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Free in Downtown Florence

Free in Downtown Florence

The day before your next paycheck? We've still got a lot for you to do in downtown Florence! Watch Big Bleu ...
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General Francis Marion by Alex Palkovich - Florence Library

General Francis Marion by Alex Palkovich – Florence Library

A half-scale statue of General Francis Marion on his horse is located in the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation Florence ...
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General Francis Marion by Alex Palkovich - Johnsonville

General Francis Marion by Alex Palkovich – Johnsonville

Alex Palkovich's statue of Francis Marion marks the location where General Francis Marion, also known as the Swamp Fox, took ...
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General Francis Marion by Alex Palkovich - Lake City Library

General Francis Marion by Alex Palkovich – Lake City Library

A half-scale statue of General Francis Marion on his horse is located in the Lake City Public Library. A similar ...
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Green Acres Country Market

Green Acres Country Market

Green Acres Country Market sells 100% cotton quilting and dress fabrics direct from the mills of the Carolinas! They also ...
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Historic Sites

Historic Sites

Florence County is packed with history. In Revolutionary War times, General Francis Marion hid in the swampy areas in the ...
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Johnsonville

Johnsonville

If you’re a Revolutionary War buff and/or nature enthusiast, you’ll feel right at home in Johnsonville! On the first Saturday of ...
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Johnsonville Public Library

Johnsonville Public Library

The Johnsonville Library houses the SC History Room containing a unique collection of rare Americana and original maps. Johnsonville Public ...
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Lake City Public Library

Lake City Public Library

The Lake City Library complex features an SC History Room containing a unique collection of rare American and original maps ...
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Lynches River County Park

Lynches River County Park

Located on Lynches River, the 676-acre Lynches River County Park features a river swamp with towering cypress trees as well as sand ...
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Map of Alex Palkovich Sculpture Trail

Map of Alex Palkovich Sculpture Trail

Renowned sculptor Alex Palkovich made Florence his home from 1998 until 2015, first as Global MRI Manufacturing Manager for GE ...
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Moonlit Paddles

Moonlit Paddles

When the moon is full, we join the owls out on Lynches River for guided 2-3 hour paddles. Check out ...
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National Bean Market

National Bean Market

The Bean Market was the world's largest truck auction during Lake City's agricultural prime. Built in 1936 by the Public Works ...
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Our Heritage

Our Heritage

Florence is rich in cultural heritage - whether you're looking for agricultural experiences, arts in action, culinary delights, or African-American ...
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Paddling Excursion - 2hr Indigo Landing Gathering

Paddling Excursion – 2hr Indigo Landing Gathering

The group gathers on Saturdays at Indigo Landing and transportation is provided to the departure point. This excursion leaves from ...
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Paddling Excursion - 2hr Lynches River County Park

Paddling Excursion – 2hr Lynches River County Park

Lynches River County Park to the Hwy 52 Landing. Enhance your Lynches Scenic River paddling trip by taking one of ...
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Paddling Excursion - 4hr Indigo Landing Gathering

Paddling Excursion – 4hr Indigo Landing Gathering

The group gathers on Saturdays at Indigo Landing and transportation is provided to the departure point. This excursion leaves from ...
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Paddling Excursion - Overnight near Johnsonville

Paddling Excursion – Overnight near Johnsonville

This excursion departs from Glenn’s Bluff with a stop at Venter’s Landing for lunch. The group will make their way to an ...
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Paddling Excursion - Overnight near Pamplico

Paddling Excursion – Overnight near Pamplico

River Rats Canoe and Kayak Rental provides overnight guided tours on weekends - one morning (or afternoon) to the next - which include ...
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Paddling Excursion - Persimmon's Bluff to Snow's Lake

Paddling Excursion – Persimmon’s Bluff to Snow’s Lake

This excursion leaves from Persimmon’s Bluff and takes out at Snow’s Lake. The group may stop for a snack and ...
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Paddling Excursion - Venters Landing to Snow's Lake

Paddling Excursion – Venters Landing to Snow’s Lake

This excursion leaves from Venters Landing and takes out at Snow’s Lake. The group may stop for a snack and break halfway ...
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Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden

Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden

Since the early 1980s, Pearl Fryar has created fantastic topiary at his garden in Bishopville, South Carolina. Living sculptures, Pearl’s ...
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Pee Dee State Farmers Market

Pee Dee State Farmers Market

Pee Dee State Farmers Market in Florence offers delicious produce all year round in its 45,000 sq. ft. farmers market, just ...
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Revolutionary Rivers

Revolutionary Rivers

The SC Revolutionary Rivers Trail is a National Recreation Trail following the scenic Lynches River from Lynches River County Park to the ...
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River Rats Canoe and Kayak Rental

River Rats Canoe and Kayak Rental

River Rats Canoe and Kayak Rental is ready to take you on a paddle down Lynches River! With more than 100 ...
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SC Button Museum

SC Button Museum

The Button Museum stands in honor of Dalton Stevens, who played songs on a button-covered guitar while wearing a button-covered ...
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Self-Guided Tours

Self-Guided Tours

If you're up for a Sunday Drive, we have a few self-guided tours for you. It's Tuesday? That works, too! The Rotary ...
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Skirmish at Gamble's Hotel

Skirmish at Gamble’s Hotel

From our local historian Thom Anderson: One of the most repeated stories from Florence history is about the 1865 Skirmish ...
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Swamp Fox Adventures

Swamp Fox Adventures

Based out of Naturally Outdoors outfitters, Paul Shaw with Swamp Fox Adventures takes paddlers on various excursions. In addition to trips out on ...
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Timrod Park

Timrod Park

Timrod Park is an 18 acre park located on Timrod Park Drive. The park is named for Henry Timrod, the poet ...
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War Between the States Museum

War Between the States Museum

The War Between the States Museum was founded in 1988 and displays relics from various battlefields and campsites. You’ll see ...
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William H. Johnson

William H. Johnson

Florence native William H. Johnson is best known for his powerful folk style that brings to life the African-American community of ...
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Woods Bay State Natural Area

Woods Bay State Natural Area

Woods Bay State Natural Area stretches for over 1,500 acres in Olanta. The cypress-tupelo swamp area gives visitors an up-close look at one ...
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Young Plantations

Young Plantations

The Young Plantations legacy dates back nearly to 1920's, when TB Young began growing in-shell pecans in the heart of ...
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