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“F” is for Florence

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“F” is for Florence (Florence County; 2020 population 38,525). In the 1850s Florence emerged around the intersection of three railroads: the Wilmington and Manchester, the Northeastern, and the Cheraw and Darlington. William W. Harllee, president of the Wilmington and Manchester named the town in honor of his daughter. The town was incorporated in 1871 and by the late nineteenth century had seen substantial growth. The railroads remained the backbone of the economy, and cotton was gradually replaced by bright leaf tobacco as the major cash crop of the region. During the second half of the twentieth century, new business emerged to take the place of declining railroads. In 1966 the city earned All-American status. From its origins as a railroad crossroads, Florence had grown into a regional center of business and industry, education, and health care.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.