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The History of Sumter, South Carolina

The historic city of Sumter, South Carolina's rich heritage began 300 years ago when English immigrants made their homes on the Wateree River banks. First known as the Carolina Backcountry, the area soon developed into an agricultural community and was renamed Craven County, and then Claremont County. Successful plantations led to the area's prosperity and continued growth.

On January 1, 1800, the region became known as Sumter District, named for the esteemed General Thomas Sumter. Renowned for his military accomplishments and patriotism, General Sumter was extolled as the "Fighting Gamecock" during the Revolutionary War due to his commitment to the revolutionary cause and his involvement in numerous battles. When the city was finally incorporated in 1845, it was named Sumterville. Later, in 1855, the city's name was officially changed to Sumter, honoring the General and his role in the American Revolutionary War.

Much of the city of Sumter's success after the Civil War was fueled by its tremendous railroad network which supplied the area with necessities like cotton and timber. Later, the city's rail system was used to ship tobacco in the region.

The opening of Shaw Air Force Base in 1941 saw even more growth and success for Sumter. Especially at the end of World War II, numerous industries continued to advance throughout the city.

Among the city's accomplishments is its status as the first in the nation to take up the council-manager form of city government in 1912. Still in force today, this form of government includes seven City Council members, the Mayor, and an appointed City Manager. The Mayor's leadership of the council members is complemented by the City Manager who acts as the chief and executive and administrative officer for the City of Sumter.

Sumter is home to a host of historical attractions listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Sumter Historic District, Sumter Town Hall Opera House, Singleton's Graveyard, Salem Black River Presbyterian Church, and many others.

Since its birth in the 1740s, the area now known as Sumter has continued to thrive. As a center of commerce in South Carolina's east central region, Sumter's is known for its biotech industry, textiles, healthcare, agriculture, retail establishments, and of course, Shaw Air Force Base. Sumter is the now the eighth-largest city in South Carolina and is at the center of it all! At Freedom Honda Sumter, we are proud of the tradition of this beautiful city and look forward to many years of serving our community.


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