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Sumter, South Carolina

Coordinates: 33°55′14″N 80°20′30″W / 33.92056°N 80.34167°W / 33.92056; -80.34167
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Downtown Sumter
Downtown Sumter
Official seal of Sumter
Official logo of Sumter
The Gamecock City
"Uncommon Patriotism, Progressive Spirit"
"Invest. Invite. Serve."
Location in South Carolina
Location in South Carolina
Coordinates: 33°55′14″N 80°20′30″W / 33.92056°N 80.34167°W / 33.92056; -80.34167
CountryUnited States
stateSouth Carolina
Named forThomas Sumter
 • MayorDavid Merchant
 • City managerDeron McCormick
 • Total33.06 sq mi (85.62 km2)
 • Land32.86 sq mi (85.11 km2)
 • Water0.20 sq mi (0.51 km2)  0.60%
171 ft (52 m)
 • Total43,463
 • Estimate 
 • RankSC: 8th
 • Density1,322.59/sq mi (510.66/km2)
 • Urban
68,825 (US: 406th)[2]
 • Urban density1,193.8/sq mi (460.9/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
29150, 29151, 29153, 29154
Area code(s)803, 839
FIPS code45-70405[4]
GNIS feature ID1251074[5]

Sumter (/ˈsʌmtər/ SUM-tər) is a city in and the county seat of Sumter County, South Carolina, United States.[6] The city makes up the Sumter, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Sumter County, along with Clarendon and Lee counties, form the core of Sumter–Lee–Clarendon tri-county (or East Midlands) area of South Carolina that includes three counties straddling the border of the Sandhills (or Midlands), Pee Dee, and Lowcountry regions. The population was 43,463 at the 2020 census, making it the 9th-most populous city in the state.[7]



Incorporated as Sumterville in 1845, the city's name was shortened to Sumter in 1855.[8] It has grown and prospered from its early beginnings as a plantation settlement. The city and county of Sumter bear the name of General Thomas Sumter, the "Fighting Gamecock" of the American Revolutionary War.

During the Civil War, the town was an important supply and railroad repair center for the Confederacy.[9] After the war, Sumter grew and prospered, using its large railroad network to supply cotton, timber, and by the start of the 20th century, tobacco to the region.[10]

During the 20th century, Sumter grew into a major industrial center. Still a unique business founded in 1923, Palmetto Pigeon Plant has grown into one of the largest producers of squab, poussin (chicken), cornish game hen, and silkie chickens in the world.[11] Starting with the opening of Shaw Air Force Base (now home to the 9th Air Force, 20th Fighter Wing, and United States Army Central) in 1941, industry grew, especially after World War II. Sumter became increasingly known for textiles, manufacturing, biotech industries, special chemistry (Branch of Swiss-based Ems-Chemie), thriving retail environment, and medical center of its region in addition to agricultural products, which makes it a hub for business in the east-central portion of South Carolina.[12]

Local and nearby sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places include:

Geography and climate

Interactive map of Sumter

Known as the Gamecock City, Sumter lies near the geographic center of the state of South Carolina at 33°55′37″N 80°21′49″W / 33.92694°N 80.36361°W / 33.92694; -80.36361 (33.926942, -80.363541).[13] Sumter is 100 miles west of Myrtle Beach's Grand Strand and 175 miles east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Columbia, the state capital, is about 45 miles to the west, and Charleston is around 100 miles to the south. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 33.06 square miles (85.6 km2), of which 32.86 square miles (85.1 km2) is land and 0.20 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.60%) is water.[1]

Climate data for Sumter, South Carolina
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 85
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 56
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 35
Record low °F (°C) 0
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.25
Source: The Weather Channel


Historical population
2023 (est.)42,766[7]−1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]

2020 census

Sumter, South Carolina – Racial and ethnic composition
Note: the U.S. census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity (NH = Non-Hispanic) Pop 2000[15] Pop 2010[16] Pop 2020[17] % 2000 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 19,300 17,777 17,428 48.68% 43.87% 40.10%
Black or African American alone (NH) 18,256 19,755 21,001 46.05% 48.75% 48.32%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 78 101 97 0.20% 0.25% 0.22%
Asian alone (NH) 503 647 891 1.27% 1.60% 2.05%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 28 48 40 0.07% 0.12% 0.09%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 79 47 132 0.20% 0.12% 0.30%
Mixed race or Multiracial (NH) 461 682 1,767 1.16% 1.68% 4.07%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 938 1,467 2,107 2.37% 3.62% 4.85%
Total 39,643 40,524 43,463 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%

As of the 2020 census, there were 43,463 people, 15,605 households, and 9,925 families residing in the city.

2010 census


At the 2010 census,[4] 40,541 people, 16,232 households, and 10,049 families resided in the city. The population density was 575.6 people/km2 (1,491 people/sq mi). The 16,032 housing units averaged 232.8 units/km2 (603 units/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 47.07% Caucasian, 47.03% Black, 0.23% Native American, 1.27% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.37% of the population.

Of the 14,564 households,h 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were married couples living together, 19.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were not families. About 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city, the population was distributed as 27.8% under the age of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,590, and for a family was $38,668. Males had a median income of $27,078 versus $22,002 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,949. About 13.0% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.8% of those under age 18 and 15.3% of those age 65 or over.

Government and law

Sumter, South Carolina
Crime rates* (2019)
Violent crimes
Aggravated assault326
Total violent crime384
Property crimes
Motor vehicle theft167
Total property crime1543

*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Source: 2019 FBI UCR Data

Sumter adopted the council–manager form of government on June 11, 1912.[19] The city council appoints a city manager to serve as chief administrative officer to run the day-to-day business of the city. This individual serves at the pleasure of the council. A mayor is elected to serve as the chairman of the city council; both the mayor and the councilmen serve four-year terms.[20]

Six councilmen, who are not subject to term limits, are elected by ward, whereas the mayor is elected at-large. Sumter City Council is responsible for making policies and enacting laws, rules, and regulations to provide for future community and economic growth. The council is also responsible for providing the necessary support for the orderly and efficient operation of city services.[21]

Martha Priscilla Shaw, who was Sumter's first female mayor from 1952 to 1956, was also the first woman to serve as a mayor in South Carolina.[22]



There is one school district—Sumter School District—which serves both the City of Sumter and the rest of Sumter County.[23]

Sumter is home to Crestwood High School, Lakewood High School, and Sumter High School.[24] Each public school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the State Department of Education.[25] The area also includes the private institutions of Thomas Sumter Academy, Wilson Hall, Sumter Christian School, St. Anne Catholic School, St. Francis Xavier High School, Berea Junior Academy, and Westside Christian Academy.[26]

Higher education


Sumter is home to several collegiate institutions. The area is served by Morris College (a historically black (HBCU) private, four-year liberal arts college); Central Carolina Technical College (a public two-year technical college); and the University of South Carolina Sumter.



Sumter has a public library system that includes three branches of the Sumter County Library network.[27]

Shaw Air Force Base


Sumter is home to Shaw Air Force Base, headquarters of the United States Air Forces Central Command, United States Army Central, 15th Air Force, the 20th Fighter Wing, and many other tenant units. Since World War II, it has been a major source of federal and civilian employment in the area.[28]

Shaw's fighter planes consist of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, which is a versatile multirole fighter. F-16s dispatched from Shaw were the primary fighters used in the Gulf War.[29] In response to the city's service, presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower through Barack Obama have visited the city and base. The base was named in honor of 1st Lt. Ervin David Shaw, one of the early Americans to fly combat missions in World War I.[30]

Mass transit


The Santee-Wateree Regional Transit Authority (SWRTA) is responsible for operating mass transit in greater Sumter area. The transit department is in connection with Shaw Air Force Base. SWRTA operates express shuttles and a bus service serving Sumter and the communities within the county. The authority was established in October 2002 after SCANA released ownership of public transportation back to the City of Sumter. Since 2003, SWRTA provides transportation for more than 10,000 passengers, has expanded route services, and introduced 15 new ADA accessible buses offering a safer, more comfortable means of transportation. In recent years, SWRTA added natural gas-powered buses to its small fleet, and has plans to expand.[31]

Roads and highways




US routes


South Carolina state highways


Swan Lake Iris Gardens


Swan Lake Iris Gardens is the only public park in the United States containing all eight known species of swan. The lake is dotted with islands and wildlife. The park is also home to some of the nation's most intensive plantings of Japanese Iris, which bloom yearly in mid to late May and last until the beginning of June. The garden is also planted with camellias, azaleas, day lilies, and Japanese magnolias. A Braille Trail enables the sight-impaired to enjoy the scents and sensations of the gardens.[32]

This area was first developed in 1927 as a private fishing retreat by Hamilton Carr Bland, a local businessman. At the same time he was developing the 30 acres (12 ha) of swamp on what is now the north side of West Liberty Street, he was landscaping the grounds of his home with Japanese iris. They failed miserably, and after consulting expert horticulturists from as far away as New York, he ordered his gardener to dig up the bulbs and dump them at the swamp. The following spring, they burst into bloom.

The park is host to events and festivals throughout the year, including the annual "Iris Festival" which is held every Memorial Day weekend in May. The gardens also host a Christmas event with the nighttime Fantasy of Lights display, featuring more than 1,000,000 varicolored lights. It also hosts an annual Earth Day celebration.[33]



Riley Park is a 2,000-seat stadium primarily used for baseball, and was the home of Sumter Braves, a Single A Atlanta Braves affiliate that competed in the South Atlantic League. Riley Park was home to the Braves from 1985 until 1990, when the team left Sumter for Macon, Georgia. Notable Sumter Braves who went on to Major League success include Tom Glavine, David Justice, Kevin Brown (right-handed pitcher), Mark Wohlers, Ryan Klesko, and Vinny Castilla. The Braves were replaced by the Sumter Flyers in 1991, a Single A Montreal Expos affiliate. The Flyers, however, left Sumter after one season. No professional baseball team has competed in Sumter since the end of the 1991 season.[34]

[35] Riley continues to be the home of the P-15s, an American Legion baseball team with a long history of success. The P-15s have won 15 state titles including in 1940, 1950, 1952, 1962, 1977, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011.[36] They advanced to the 2006 American Legion World Series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where they finished fourth nationally. The P-15s made a return trip to the American Legion World Series hosted by Shelby, NC in 2008 and 2009.[37][38]

Palmetto Tennis Center is a new state-of-the-art tennis court in Palmetto Park. The tennis center has 24 official size tennis courts. It hosts numerous youth, collegiate, and professional tournaments each year.[39] Sumter Memorial Stadium is home to Sumter High School's Gamecocks, Marvin Montgomery Field at Donald L. Crolley Memorial Stadium is home to the Crestwood High School Knights, and Dr. J. Frank Baker Stadium is home to the Lakewood High School Gators.[40]

In the 1950s, Sumter was very strong in table tennis state champions, and in 1951, produced an All-American Table Tennis Tournament national men's champion Oliver Hoyt Stubbs.[41]

New York Yankees former second baseman Bobby Richardson is from Sumter. The town built and named a youth baseball park in his honor. Sumter is also the home of pro basketball star Ray Allen, who had an 18-year career in the NBA.

Jordan Blackmon Montgomery (born December 27, 1992), nicknamed "Gumby", is an American professional baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2017. Before his professional career, Montgomery played college baseball for the South Carolina Gamecocks of the University of South Carolina.[35]

Notable people

Aviation & Space
Beauty Pageant Winners
  • Shawn Weatherly, Miss South Carolina USA, Miss USA, and Miss Universe (1980).
Criminal Accusations
  • Mark Orrin Barton, perpetrator of the 1999 Atlanta day trading firm shootings; a Sumter High School class of 1973 graduate.[47]
  • Robert Henry Best, Nazi broadcaster convicted of treason in 1948 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • William Pierce confessed (and was convicted) to the 1970 murder of the daughter ("Peg" Cuttino) of state senator, James Cuttino Jr.; but "Pee Wee" Gaskins (Donald Henry Gaskins) also claimed that he killed her.
  • George Stinney, youngest American at 14 to be executed. He was African-American, and wrongfully convicted of murdering two white girls.
Motion Picture, Acting & TV
Law and Politicians

Sister Cities


See also



  1. ^ a b "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  2. ^ United States Census Bureau (December 29, 2022). "2020 Census Qualifying Urban Areas and Final Criteria Clarifications". Federal Register.
  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. ^ "Sumter". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved June 11, 2023.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  7. ^ a b c "QuickFacts: Sumter city, South Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 16, 2024.
  8. ^ "History & Heritage". City of Sumter, SC. 2018-08-04. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  9. ^ "history". Archived from the original on 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  10. ^ "Welcome to Sumter County, SC". www.sumtercountysc.org. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  11. ^ "Palmetto Farms USA: A Brief History".
  12. ^ "government". Archived from the original on 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "P004 Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2000: DEC Summary File 1 – Sumter city, South Carolina". United States Census Bureau.
  16. ^ "P2: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Sumter city, South Carolina". United States Census Bureau.
  17. ^ "P2: Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Sumter city, South Carolina". United States Census Bureau.
  18. ^ According to the Congressional Quarterly Press 2008 City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America, Sumter Statistical Metropolitan Area ranks as having the fifth highest overall crime rate out of 338 statistical metropolitan areas in the United States. See city crime stats and city crime 2008 Archived 2010-06-07 at the Wayback Machine; CQ Press
  19. ^ "Sumter, South Carolina".
  20. ^ "Mayor and Council". City of Sumter, SC. 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  21. ^ "Sumter South Carolina". Archived from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  22. ^ "Martha Priscilla Shaw Collection". Sumter County Museum. March 1999. Archived from the original on 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
  23. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Sumter County, SC" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2023-01-17. - Text list
  24. ^ "Our Schools". sumterschools.net. November 6, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  25. ^ "2009–2010 SSD17 Fast Facts". Sumter School District 17.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Private Schools". sumterschools.net/. November 6, 2022. Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  27. ^ "Locations & Hours". Greenville County Library System. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Shaw Air Force Base | Base Overview & Info | MilitaryINSTALLATIONS". installations.militaryonesource.mil. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  29. ^ "Appendix - Air Force Performance In Operation Desert Storm | The Gulf War | FRONTLINE | PBS". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  30. ^ "1st LT. ERVIN DAVID SHAW".
  31. ^ Rail Transit Study[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ "Swan Lake/Iris Gardens, Sumter". cityseeker. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  33. ^ Pettit, Katherine. "Sumter SC | Carolina Living". carolinaliving.com. Archived from the original on 2019-09-22. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  34. ^ "Welcome to Sumter County, SC". www.sumtercountysc.org. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  35. ^ a b "Jordan Montgomery Stats, Height, Weight, Position, Rookie Status & More". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2023-01-15.
  36. ^ P-51s
  37. ^ staff, Midland Daily News (2008-08-20). "2008 American Legion Baseball World Series schedule". Midland Daily News. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  38. ^ P-15s, Sumter. "Welcome to Sumter P-15's Baseball". Sumter P-15s. Retrieved 2022-11-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  39. ^ "Sumter, SC". Archived from the original on 2009-06-20. Retrieved 2018-12-28.
  40. ^ "Palmetto Tennis Center". City of Sumter, SC. 2018-07-09. Retrieved 2022-11-06.
  41. ^ State newspaper, Sunday, Nov 04, 1951 Columbia, SC Page: 61
  42. ^ Sumter Item, 15 Oct 1969.
  43. ^ Sumter Item, 30 Nov. 2019, https://www.theitem.com/stories/the-sumter-items-top-125-sports-figures-16-20,336900
  44. ^ "Crew Chief Jason Ratcliff Bio | Stock Car Racing Magazine Article at Automotive.com". Circletrack.automotive.com. 1967-12-08. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  45. ^ "Board of Director Biographies". John Deere. Retrieved March 5, 2017. He is a native of Sumter, South Carolina.
  46. ^ 3 July 1921 issue of The Columbia Record, front page article about his death
  47. ^ "Edmunds High School, Sumter, S.C." Archived from the original on 2021-06-11. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  48. ^ http://mychfc.org/hero.aspx?hero=65483 [dead link]
  49. ^ "Sumter General Dies". Sumter Daily Item. Sumter, SC. January 17, 1970.
  50. ^ USAF Factsheet – 1st Lt. Ervin David Shaw Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  51. ^ Mueller, Robert (1989). Volume 1: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Office of Air Force History, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. ISBN 0-912799-53-6, ISBN 0-16-002261-4
  52. ^ "Sister Partnerships By US State". Asia Matters For America. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  53. ^ "County Council shaping budget for FY 2017-18". Sumter County SC. Retrieved 19 December 2021.