Florence: A Renaissance Spirit; Reconstruction | Carolina Stories - Episode 2


After the Civil War, Florence made a quick transition. Damaged rails were repaired, fields were planted, businesses reopened, and the population increased.  Many refugees fled to Florence from Charleston during the war and remained during Reconstruction.

Jerome P. Chase was elected the first intendant, or "mayor," of Florence in 1871 and is often referred to as the Father of Florence.

Another noteworthy individual was Belton O'Neall Townsend, who came to Florence in 1878, as a young man, to practice law. He ran for mayor in 1883 and outlined what he thought Florence should become... a cultural center. The railroad industry boomed in Florence so no one was interested. While Townsend lost, he set the conversation for separating Florence from Marion County. 

In 1888, Florence became the county seat of Florence County.