Florence ( /flɔrəns/) is the largest city in and the county seat of Florence County, South Carolina, United States. Known as the Florence Metropolitan Statistical Area, Florence adjoins Darlington to form the core of "Pee Dee" region of South Carolina, an area that includes the eight counties of northeastern South Carolina along with sections in southeastern North Carolina. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population was 37,056 at the 2010 census (90,128 total pop. of Florence Urbanized Area). This 1997 All-America City finalist, was founded as a railroad hub city of Florence. It became the junction of three major railroad systems; the Wilmington and Manchester, The Northeastern, and the Cheraw and Darlington. Today, the city retains its status as a major hub, both for industry and infrastructure. In recent years, the city has become a regional center for business, medicine, culture and finance.
Though Florence was part of one of the original townships laid out by the Lords Proprieters in 1719, it was slowly and thinly settled until the coming of the railroads. Prior to then, the Pee Dee River was the route of most commerce. Early settlers practiced subsistence farming and produced indigo, cotton, naval stores and timber, which were shipped downriver to the port at Georgetown and exported.
In the mid-19th century two intersecting railroads were built, The Wilmington and Manchester, and the Northeastern. Gen. W. W. Harllee, the president of the W & M road built his home at the junction, and named the community Florence, after his daughter.