Orangeburg, South Carolina

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Orangeburg, South Carolina
Central Business District of Orangeburg
Central Business District of Orangeburg
Official seal of Orangeburg, South Carolina
"The Garden City"
Location in Orangeburg County, South Carolina
Coordinates: 33°29′49″N 80°51′44″W / 33.49694°N 80.86222°W / 33.49694; -80.86222Coordinates: 33°29′49″N 80°51′44″W / 33.49694°N 80.86222°W / 33.49694; -80.86222
Country United States
State South Carolina
 • MayorMichael C. Butler
 • City Council
 • Total9.02 sq mi (23.36 km2)
 • Land9.01 sq mi (23.34 km2)
 • Water0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
Elevation243 ft (74 m)
 • Total13,240
 • Density1,469.15/sq mi (567.23/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)803, 839
FIPS code45-53080[4]
GNIS feature ID1249990[2]
Russell Street, downtown's main street
Downtown Loop

Orangeburg, also known as The Garden City, is the principal city in and the county seat of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, United States.[5] The population of the city was 13,964 according to the 2010 United States Census and declined to 12,704 in the 2020 census.[6] The city is located 37 miles southeast of Columbia, on the north fork of the Edisto River.

Two historically black institutions of higher education are located in Orangeburg: Claflin University (a liberal arts college) and South Carolina State University (a public university).


18th century[edit]

European settlement in this area started in 1704 when George Sterling set up a post here for fur trade with Native Americans. To encourage settlement, the General Assembly of the Province of South Carolina in 1730 organized the area as a township, naming it Orangeburg for William IV, Prince of Orange, the son-in-law of King George II of Great Britain. In 1735, a colony of 200 Swiss, German and Dutch immigrants formed a community near the banks of the North Edisto River. The site was attractive because of the fertile soil and the abundance of wildlife. The river provided the all-important transportation waterway to the port of Charleston on the Atlantic coast for the area's agriculture and lumber products, and for shipping goods upriver. The town soon became a well-established and successful colony, composed chiefly of small yeomen farmers.

Orangeburg's first church was established by a German Lutheran congregation. It later identified as an Anglican Church, which was the established church and exempt from colonial taxation. The church building was erected prior to 1763 in the center of the village; it was destroyed by fighting during the Revolutionary War. A new church was built; during the Civil War, it was used as a smallpox hospital by General William Tecumseh Sherman on his march through with Union forces.

19th century[edit]

After the American Revolution, the character of the county changed dramatically. Invention by Eli Whitney of a mass-produced cotton gin for processing short-staple or "green seed" cotton made this type of cotton profitable. It was easily grown in the upland areas, and the county was rapidly developed into large cotton plantations. Agricultural labor was provided by enslaved African Americans, many brought into the area in a forced migration from the coastal areas or the Upper South via the domestic slave trade. Slaves became the majority of population in the county and city. Freed after the Civil War, blacks began to gain educations, and two colleges were established in the city, the second designated as a land grant institution for all black students in the state under segregation. Blacks were also subject to Jim Crow laws passed by the Democrat-dominated state legislature; they were deprived of their ability to vote by South Carolina's disenfranchising constitution passed at the turn of the 20th century, which erected barriers to voter registration. In 1919 The Orangeburg Regional Medical Center opened. This area is also known for its extremely rich soil.

20th century[edit]

A controversial Confederate flag in Orangeburg owned by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Efforts by blacks to regain civil rights increased in the postwar period after World War II. In the 1960s, Orangeburg was a major center of Civil Rights Movement activities by students from both Claflin College and South Carolina State College as well as black residents of the city. After the US Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) declaring segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional, local blacks sought integration of local schools in 1956. Whites retaliated economically, sometimes firing activists or evicting them from rental housing. College students came to their support with hunger strikes, boycotts, and mass marches. In 1960, over 400 students were arrested on sit-ins and integration marches organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

In August 1963, the Orangeburg Freedom Movement (OFM), chaired by Dr. Harlowe Caldwell of the NAACP, submitted 10 pro-integration demands to the Orangeburg Mayor and City Council. After negotiations failed, mass demonstrations similar to those in the Birmingham campaign in Alabama resulted in more than 1,300 arrests. Local efforts to end segregation in public places continued, particularly after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On February 8, 1968, after days of protests against a segregated bowling alley, violence broke out near the bowling alley as police attacked Black students from South Carolina State. Police opened fire on a crowd of students, killing Samuel Hammond, Henry Smith, and Delano Middleton, and wounding 27 others in what became known as the "Orangeburg massacre".[7]

21st century[edit]

In May 2000, the city created the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative. It is a collaborative effort in community development by the Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association (DORA), The Times and Democrat newspaper, the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, and the Orangeburg County Development Commission.[8] In 2005, the National Civic League awarded Orangeburg County the All-America City Award which recognizes and encourages civic excellence. It honors communities in which citizens, government, businesses, and non-profit organizations demonstrate successful resolution of critical community issues.[9]

In 2007, Orangeburg hosted the first Democratic U.S. presidential candidate debate of the campaign season at Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium on the campus of South Carolina State University; future president Barack Obama, was one of the debaters.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.3 square miles (21.5 km2), of which 8.3 square miles (21.5 km2) is land and 0.12% is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Orangeburg has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated Cfa on climate maps.[10]

Climate data for Orangeburg, South Carolina (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1953–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
Average high °F (°C) 59.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 48.1
Average low °F (°C) 36.6
Record low °F (°C) 2
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.96
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.2 9.6 9.4 8.2 8.9 11.0 11.0 11.1 8.5 7.6 7.5 10.0 113.0
Source: NOAA[11][12]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[3]

2020 census[edit]

Orangeburg racial composition[13]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 2,237 16.9%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 10,119 76.43%
Native American 48 0.36%
Asian 277 2.09%
Pacific Islander 14 0.11%
Other/Mixed 285 2.15%
Hispanic or Latino 260 1.96%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 13,240 people, 4,455 households, and 2,283 families residing in the city.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 13,964 people, 4,512 households, and 2,526 families residing in the city. The population density was 1648.8 There were 5,168 housing units at an average density of 623.1 per square mile (240.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.04% African American, 19.2% White, 0.18% Native American, 1.74% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

There were 4,421 households, out of which 18.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.5% were married couples living together, 18.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.0% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 17.7% under the age of 18, 28.6% from 18 to 24, 21.0% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 76.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,306, and the median income for a family was $37,008. Males had a median income of $30,310 versus $21,935 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,263. About 17.9% of families and 24.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.7% of those under age 18 and 14.8% of those age 65 or over.

Government and crime[edit]


The city operates under the council-manager form of government. The governing body is composed of a mayor and six members. The mayor is determined through a nonpartisan, at-large election for a four-year term of office while Council Members are chosen through nonpartisan, single-member district (SMD) elections. Council members are elected to staggered four-year terms of office.

The City council is a legislative body, establishing policies with recommendations from the professional city administrator, who is hired by the council. The city administrator acts as the chief administrator of the council's policies implemented through the administrative control of city departments given to him by ordinance.


  • Michael C. Butler

Council Members

  • Richard F. Stroman
  • Charles W. Jernigan
  • Charles B. Barnwell, Jr.
  • Bernard Haire
  • L. Zimmerman Keitt (Mayor Pro Tem)
  • Sandra P. Knotts

State Senators

  • Brad Hutto
  • John Matthews


The following table shows Orangeburg's crime rate in 6 crimes that Morgan Quitno uses in its calculations for "America's most dangerous cities" rankings, in comparison to 10,000 people. The statistics provided are not for the actual number of crimes committed, but for the number of crimes committed per capita.[14]

Crime Orangeburg, SC (2009) per 10,000 people
Murder 1 .75
Rape 9 6.78
Robbery 36 25.61
Assault 35 26.36
Burglary 232 174.73
Automobile Theft 65 48.95
Arson 2 1.51


Colleges and universities[edit]

Public schools[edit]

Charter schools[edit]

  • OCSD5 High School for Health Professions
  • Felton Laboratory Charter School

Private schools[edit]


Orangeburg has a public library, a branch of the Orangeburg County Library.[16]


The Times and Democrat serves as the daily newspaper for the Orangeburg area.




Events and attractions[edit]

St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Orangeburg, South Carolina


The Edisto Memorial Gardens displays past and current award-winning roses from the All-American Rose Selections. Some 4,000 plants representing at least 75 labeled varieties of roses are always on display in the Gardens. The site was first developed in the 1920s with some azaleas on 5 acres (20,000 m2) of land. A playground was added in 1922, and a greenhouse and nursery facility in 1947. To extend the season of beauty, the first rose garden was planted in 1951. Currently, there are more than 50 beds of roses ranging from miniatures from grandiflora to climbers on over 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land.


The IP Stanback Museum & Planetarium, named for the first African-American chairman of the university's board of trustees, Israel Pinkney Stanback, had its origin in the basement of the then South Carolina State College's library in the early 1970s. The Museum and Planetarium is located on the campus of South Carolina State University and signifies their commitment to community service. The Museum's exhibition area is one of the largest in the state. Its forty-foot planetarium dome, located across the foyer adjacent to the galleries, has an auditorium capacity of eighty-two seats and a Minolta IIB Planetarium Projector. The building is easily accessible to the handicapped and is a uniquely adaptable facility, capable of hosting many different types of presentations.


The Orangeburg Festival of Roses began as a vision held by a group of citizens seeking a way to enhance the development of Orangeburg and improve the quality of life for its residents. As a result of that vision, the first festival was held in 1972. The Greater Orangeburg Chamber of Commerce was the sole sponsor of that first festival. At present the City of Orangeburg and the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsors of the event. The festival includes such events as a river race, a basscatcher tournament, the Princess of Roses pageant, and various sports tournaments.

During the winter in Orangeburg, more festivities get under way when raccoon hunters from throughout the Southeast gather for the Grand American Coon Hunt. Also on the "Top Twenty" list, the hunt, which takes place each year in early January, in the largest field trial for coon dogs in the United States and is a qualifying event for the World Coon Hunt. Thousands of people come to the fairgrounds to see the dogs, exhibits and the sights and sounds of this one of a kind event.


The following notable buildings and districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[17]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Orangeburg, South Carolina
  3. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Oct 15, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 3, 2015. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ "Orangeburg City Quick Fact". U.S. Government. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  7. ^ "History & Timeline", Civil Rights Movement Archive
  8. ^ "Our Mission". Archived from the original on 2016-01-15.
  9. ^ "County Wins All-America City Award". The Times and Democrat. June 27, 2005.
  10. ^ "Orangeburg, South Carolina Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  11. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  12. ^ "Station: Orangeburg 2, SC". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2021-12-14.
  14. ^ "Orangeburg, South Carolina (SC 29117) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news, sex offenders". Retrieved 2014-08-21.
  15. ^ "Claflin University Receives Top State HBCU Ranking by Washington Monthly" Archived 2015-03-09 at, Claflin University, 28 August 2014
  16. ^ "Locations & Hours". Greenville County Library System. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  17. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  18. ^ Weber, Bruce. "Israel Hicks, Director of August Wilson’s Cycle, Dies at 66", The New York Times, July 7, 2010. Accessed July 8, 2010.
  19. ^ Roberts, Sam (October 11, 2016). "Benjamin Payton, Transformative Leader of Tuskegee University, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  20. ^ "Tuskegee Airmen Pilot Roster". CAF Rise Above. CAF Rise Above. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
  21. ^ Legacy - The Washington Post. "CURTIS C. "CC" ROBINSON."

Further reading[edit]

  • a b c "Census QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-01-22.

External links[edit]