What’s in a name? Hundreds upon thousands of people have asked this question before on many different subjects, but I have answers for you on this one. There are many towns in South Carolina that people refer to by a name we may not know of; their nickname. I knew of a few, but when I went searching for curiosity’s sake I found that we have a whole slew of them here and some of the stories behind them are quite interesting. Here are 24 towns, their nicknames, and the “rest of the story”…
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Electric City a.k.a. Anderson
Anderson got it's name in the late 19th century when it became the first city in the South to use the electricity generated from the hydroelectric plants. Anderson, in 1897, had electric street cars, street lamps, and was the first in the world to have an electrically powered cotton gin.
2. Lettuce City a.k.a Beaufort
This nickname goes all the way back to the early 20th century when transporting goods via truck became possible and profitable. Lettuce was one of the first crops and it appears that Beaufort was really good at growing it.
3. Iron City a.k.a. Blacksburg
Blacksburg became known as "Iron City" when large deposits of iron ore were found there. Many people came from all over in what is known as the "iron rush" hoping to make a fortune. It brought Blacksburg prosperity and also the first electric street lights to the Upstate of SC. As a side note, the above picture was taken at the 2015 Iron City Festival.
4. Holy City a.k.a. Chuck Town a.k.a Charleston
There may be two reasons why Charleston is sometimes known as the Holy City. One, at one time it could boast that it had the most churches dotting its landscape. Two, it was also one of the only cities out of the 13 original colonies that was happy to welcome people of the French Huguenot Church.
Chuck Town came about pretty simply. Charleston was originally known as Charles Towne. Chuck is a known nickname for Charles and so there you have it.
5. The prettiest town in Dixie a.k.a Cheraw
And it is quite pretty with its lovely downtown area and gardens. They really have brought it back to life.
6. The town with "love" in the center a.k.a Clover
I knew Clover had charm, but I didn't know that it was known as all that. Great job Clover!
7. River City a.k.a Cola City a.k.a Soda City a.k.a Columbia
Columbia has acquired quite a few names! Let's take them one at a time. River City is was given to Columbia due to its location. It's situated at 3 rivers (Saluda, Congaree, and Broad). Cola City is just a shorter version of Columbia and out of that came Soda City since Cola is a type of drink. I think I like Soda City...sounds pretty hip!
8. The Pearl of the Pee Dee a.k.a Darlington
After WWII, Darlington became a booming little town. It was overrunning with activity and prosperity. There were many businesses in the area, not only Nascar.
9. Do Wah Ditty a.k.a. Due West
I'm not sure how Due West received this nickname and I wonder if anyone knows, but the rest of it is part of a little rhyme that goes like this: "It ain't no town and it ain't no city.
It's just a little place called Do Wah Ditty."
Contributed by Bran Stille of Due West
10. Bloody Edgefield a.k.a. Edgefield
I'm sure there are quite a few people who are long time residents that don't particularly care for the nickname. When duels were fought for what you believed in...many duels were fought on the courthouse grounds and probably quite a few other places as well.
11. Magic City a.k.a. Florence
There may be two reasons why Florence holds this name. One, Florence had great growth in a very short time after WWII. Two, there was once a taxi cab company that ran here known as, "Magic City Taxi". Whatever the reason, I think the name is pretty cool.
12. The Edge of America a.k.a. Folly Beach
Folly Beach is known as The Edge of America, some say, because of the lifestyle you live when you, "live on the edge..." However, did you know that Folly Beach was also called "Coffin Land" or "Coffin Island"? It's said that ships entering Charleston Harbor would stop at Folly Beach and drop off their sick to prevent quarantine. When they died, they would be buried in coffins on the island.
13. Flopeye a.k.a Great Falls
What a story this is! It seems that a long time ago there was a hydroelectric company here and a company store that supplied everything the workers could possibly need. As in all things, there came to be another store with better prices. The owner of the first store told the men that they shouldn't trade with "ol' flopeye". However, the men really liked his prices (who wouldn't if it would save them money) and so they traded with him instead and built a community there around his store... Short, but sweet.
14. G-Vegas a.k.a. Greenville
We can all understand this name! Greenville has really flourished recently. No wonder it's being referred to as a type of Vegas.
15. Emerald City a.k.a. Greenwood
I can't say that this is a really interesting story, but the fact is that it's called this because green is the color of emeralds. There you have it.
16. & 17. The Red Rose City and The White Rose City known as Lancaster and York respectively.
Remember the War of the Roses? It didn't stop in England apparently. The founders of Lancaster named this city for their homeland region, House of Lancaster and so, York, was named the same way.
18. Garden City a.k.a. Orangeburg
So named due to the beautiful Edisto Memorial Gardens they have there.
19. Frog Level a.k.a. Prosperity
It seems that this was the first name this town had in 1851 and was only changed after residents got together and pushed for something different. Legend has it that one night a drunken man stopped to rest beside a pond in the middle of town. When he woke up in a half drunken state, he swore that the frogs were crying at "frog level". The name stuck for a little while.
20. Sparkle City a.k.a. Spartanburg
In the 1950's, there was a band known as , "Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones". They were 4 teenagers from Cowpens, SC who went on the Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand. The name just hung about.
21. Flowertown in the PInes a.k.a. Summerville
Given this name due to the many and varied flowers, plants, and shrubs that are planted there to make the area beautiful to the senses.
22. Gamecock City a.k.a. Sumter
No, it wasn't named for the mascot of the USC Gamecocks. It was named in honor of General Thomas Sumter who was said to "fight like a gamecock" during the Revolutionary War.
23. Garden of the Gods a.k.a. Walhalla
It's really no secret as to why Walhalla is nicknamed Garden of the Gods...that's what Walhalla means in German. Walhalla was settled by German immigrants in 1850. What a lovely place and a lovely name!
24. Rock City a.k.a. Winnsboro
So nicknamed due to the large quarry of blue granite that is found nearby. This is also what was used in the building of our State House as well. Did you know? Blue granite is also South Carolina's state stone.
What do you think about names? I thought they were quite interesting and amusing. Does your city have a nickname that I didn’t mention? If so, please let us know about it in the comments below.