Sumter, Fort

Sumter, Fort

Sumter, Fort: see Fort Sumter.
Sumter is a city in and the county seat of Sumter County, South Carolina, United States. Its population was 39,159 at the 2000 census. It is the principal city of the Sumter, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area.

It should not be confused with Fort Sumter, which is in Charleston harbor, almost 100 miles away.


Sumter is located at (33.926942, -80.363541).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.8 square miles (69.3 km²), of which, 26.6 square miles (68.9 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.60%) is water.

Sumter is located about 44 miles from Columbia, the capital of South Carolina.


As of 2007, there were 39,159 people, 14,717 households, and 10,049 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,469.5 people per square mile (575.6/km²). There were 16,032 housing units at an average density of 603.0/sq mi (232.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 44.74% White, 49.88% African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.98% of the population.

There were 14,564 households out of which 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 non-families. 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 2.52 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 12.28% from 18 to 24, 26.04% from 25 to 44, 19.55% from 45 to 64, and 14.12% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.3 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 $19,264, and the median income for a family was $35,328. 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.


Sumter was incorporated in 1845 as Sumterville, and the name was shortened to Sumter in 1855. The city is named after General Thomas Sumter, who was known as the "Fighting Gamecock", who commanded troops in the American Revolutionary War and served in the United States Congress.

Sumter started as a plantation settlement town, and grew over the years to be more industrialized. Today, industry in Sumter is mostly manufacturing, military, and medical related.


Sumter is served by a six-member city council, whose members are elected to represent a ward. A city manager is employed by council to run the day-to-day business of the city, and serves at the pleasure of council. Sumter has the distinction of being the first city in the United States to successfully implement this form of government, known as council-manager government. A mayor is elected at-large to a four year (renewable) term, and may vote with council only in the event of a tie vote.

City life

Higher education

The area is served by Morris College, a private liberal arts four-year college, Central Carolina Technical College, a public two-year technical college, and the University of South Carolina Sumter. Saint Leo University, Troy University, and Webster University all offer course and degree programs at Shaw Air Force Base.

Shaw Air Force Base

Sumter is home to Shaw Air Force Base, headquarters of the 9th Air Force and the 20th Fighter Wing. Since World War II it has been one of the major sources of employment in the area. Shaw's fighter planes mainly consist of F-16 Fighting Falcons, which are versatile multi-role fighters. F-16's dispatched from Shaw were the primary fighters used in the Gulf War. In response to the city's service, President George H. W. Bush came to Sumter to express his gratitude. The base was named in honor of 1st Lieutenant Ervin David Shaw, one of the first Americans to fly combat missions in World War I. Shaw, a Sumter County native, died after three enemy aircraft attacked his Bristol F.2 Fighter while he was returning from a reconnaissance mission.

Sumter High School

Sumter is home to the third largest school in the state, Sumter High School, whose current student population is 2,300. Sumter High is currently operated by the smallest school district in the state (Sumter District 17). The current building has been in use since 1983 and has undergone additions in 1987 and 2003; the 2003 additions opened to students in fall 2005 for the Class of 2006. Current feeder middle schools to Sumter High are Chestnut Oaks Middle, Alice Drive Middle and Bates Middle Schools. The SHS mascot is the Gamecock, a reference to the city and county's namesake, General Thomas Sumter. The school colors are royal blue and gold.

In 1935 it was named Edmunds High School in memory of Superintendent Samuel Henry Edmunds. The colors were purple and white. This color combination represented the merging of the two Junior High schools; McLaurin Junior High whose colors were red and white, and Alice Drive Middle with colors blue and white. In 1971, the name was again changed to Sumter High School and the colors became the current blue and gold.

In 1990, the Sumter High School Marching Band performed in the New York City Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

SHS's current principal is Rutledge Dingle.

Swan Lake/Iris Gardens

Swan Lake/Iris Gardens is the only public park in the United States with all eight species of swans. The City of Sumter hosts the "Iris Festival" which is centered around Swan Lake/Iris Gardens in May and is open to the public. Traditionally, the festival is held Memorial Day weekend. The park is also the host during the holiday season to the "Swan Lake Fantasy of Lights", a large light display open to the public.


Riley Park is a 4,000 seat stadium that is primarily used for baseball and was the home of Sumter Braves who were a feeder team to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves left and were replaced by the Sumter Flyers in 1991. The Flyers were a feeder team to the Montreal Expos. The Flyers only stayed in Sumter one year (1991). Riley continues to be the home of the P-15s, the premier American Legion team in South Carolina. The P-15's have won 13 state titles including 1940,1950,1952,1962,1977,1991,1992,1993,1994,1999,2005,2006 and 2008. They advanced to the 2006 American Legion World Series in Cedar Rapids, IA where they finished 4th nationally. The P-15's made a return trip to the American Legion World Series hosted by Shelby, NC in 2008. Palmetto Tennis Center is a new state of the art tennis court in Palmetto Park.The tennis center has 18 official size tennis courts. The Palmetto Tennis Center host the college level tournaments each year. Sumter School District 17 Memorial Football Stadium is home to Sumter High School's Fighting Gamecocks.

Notable people from Sumter


External links

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