The town of Florence, whose Main Street is pictured here in a 1910 postcard view, grew out of the development of the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad. When the owner of the largest store in nearby Mars Bluff refused to allow the depot to be built where railroad workmen might corrupt his employees, the station was built instead in a stand of pines seven miles to the west. After the Northwestern and the Cheraw and Darlington Railroads also established repair shops on the site by 1859, the booming town was named Florence, in honor of the infant daughter of the W&M Railroad's president. Important as a shipping center during the Civil War, Florence also attracted Federal attention as the location of a major prisoner-of-war camp, where nearly 8,000 Federal troops were held. Granted its first charter in 1871, the town continued to grow after the Atlantic Coast Railroad established shops there and began buying out the other railroad lines that served the town.
Courtesy of the Howard G. Woody Postcard Collection.