Established as the seat of York County more than 130 years ago, the city of York is a small-town community that remains steeped in history while embracing the future.
York’s original commercial district developed around an intersection of stagecoach routes called Fergus Crossroads in the late 1700s. It became an upcountry business and cultural center in the early 19th century, but the Civil War and Reconstruction brought upheaval as the community struggled with racial tensions and Federal troops were stationed there. As with many South Carolina towns, textiles emerged as the primary economic force in the 1900s as cotton mills were built in the area.
Today, many of York’s historic buildings remain in its 264-acre downtown historic district, including houses on Liberty, Madison, Jefferson, and Congress streets. The downtown retains a quaint, charming quality reminiscent of its former nickname “Charleston of the Upcountry.” Now, restaurants, a historic movie theater and specialty shops fill downtown, and shoppers can buy anything from custom-made guitars to handcrafted furniture. A revitalization effort is underway in York’s downtown, with improvements that include an updated streetscape.
York, which has a population of about 8,000, has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. The city’s industrial group includes steel, filtration, textiles, automotive and truck parts and machine shops, and York continues to recruit for East York Industrial Park and has plans for a new industrial park.
York’s parks and recreation department offers athletic programs and community events for all ages. Along with youth sports leagues such as soccer and cheerleading, the department hosts community movie night at the city’s athletic complex and seasonal events such as hayrides and Halloween pumpkin painting. The town has a number of public parks and other amenities, including a one-mile paved bike trail at City Park. York’s annual Summerfest, which is held on the fourth Saturday of August, has been recognized at the South Carolina Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Travel as a Most Outstanding Festival of the Year. The popular festival includes one of the region’s largest car shows, craft and food vendors, races, live music and many children’s activities.