Lexington, South Carolina
Official seal of Lexington, South Carolina
Motto: 
"Town of Progress"
Lexington is located in South Carolina
Lexington
Lexington
Location in South Carolina
Lexington is located in the United States
Lexington
Lexington
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°58′52″N 81°13′51″W / 33.98111°N 81.23083°W / 33.98111; -81.23083
Country United States
State South Carolina
CountyLexington County
Named forBattles of Lexington and Concord[a]
Government
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • BodyLexington Town Council
 • MayorHazel Livingston
Area
 • Total12.12 sq mi (31.38 km2)
 • Land11.97 sq mi (31.00 km2)
 • Water0.14 sq mi (0.38 km2)
Elevation394 ft (120 m)
Population
 • Total23,568
 • Rank22nd
 • Density1,968.92/sq mi (760.19/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
29071, 29072, 29073
Area code(s)803, 839
FIPS code45-41335[4]
GNIS feature ID1246349[2]
Websitewww.lexsc.com

Lexington is the most populous town in and the county seat of Lexington County, South Carolina, United States.[5] It is a suburb of the state capital, Columbia. The population was 23,568 at the 2020 Census,[6] and it is the second-most populous municipality in the greater Columbia area. The 2022 estimated population is 24,626.[7] According to the Central Midlands Council of Governments, the greater Lexington area[b] had an estimated population of 111,549 in 2020 and is considered the fastest-growing area in the Midlands.[8] Lexington's town limits are bordered to the east by the city of West Columbia.[9][10]

History

Colonial Period

Lexington, SC Main Street (1916)
Lexington 2019 Christmas Parade

In 1735, the colonial government of King George II established 11 townships in backcountry South Carolina to encourage settlement and to provide a buffer between Native American tribes to the west and colonial plantations in the Lowcountry. The townships included one named Saxe Gotha, which flourished with major crops of corn, wheat, tobacco, hemp, and flax as well as beeswax and livestock, and its residents were primarily of German and Swiss heritage.[11] Two major Native American trails existed in the area: the Cherokee Path, primary route of English and Scots traders from Charlestown to Native Americans in the Appalachian Mountains, and the Occaneechi Path, which connected natives from the Chesapeake Bay region to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.[11]

In 1785, the name Saxe Gotha was replaced with Lexington County in commemoration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. In 1781, the Battle of Muddy Springs was fought to the south of the present-day town and the Battle of Tarrar Springs was fought within the present-day town limits.[12]

Post-revolution

Until 1820, Granby was the county seat of Lexington County, but chronic flooding forced the local government to move the courthouse to its present location in Lexington. The area was known by locals as the "Lexington Courthouse" and was not incorporated as the Town of Lexington until 1861.[13][11]

During Sherman's March to the Sea in the American Civil War, much of the town of Lexington was destroyed by Union forces as they protected William Sherman's western flank as Union troops attacked Columbia. Most of the town of Lexington, including the courthouse, were torched and burned. Like much of the South after the Civil War, Lexington struggled economically, but local farms and the lumber industry helped stabilize the economy after Reconstruction. Many current brick buildings were built in the aftermath of severe fires in 1894 and 1916.[14] By the 1890s, the Columbia to Augusta Railroad and the Lexington Textile Mill prompted the town to grow.

With the advent of the automobile in the 1920s and its mass production in the 1940s and 1950s, Lexington continued to grow as a suburb of Columbia. Additionally, the creation of Lake Murray in 1930 encouraged many to move to Lexington. Between the 1990 Census and the 2000 Census, Lexington's population increased by 198%, and by 83% between the 2000 census and the 2010 census.

Recent history

Welcome Sign, Lexington, SC off of Highway 378
Gipson Pond -- Lexington, SC

Main article: Move Over Law

The "move over law", a law that requires drivers to change lanes when there is a stopped emergency vehicle on the side of the road, originated in Lexington. James D. Garcia, a paramedic, was struck and injured at an accident scene on January 28, 1994 after attempting to assist a driver that had slid off of the road. The South Carolina Highway Patrol listed Garcia at fault, leading to his work to create this law. The South Carolina General Assembly passed the "move over law" (SC 56-5-1538) 1996 and was revised in 2002 to increase the ease of enforcement and fines.[15][16] A version of the "move over law" is now in effect in all fifty U.S. states and the District of Columbia; Hawaii was the last to pass legislation in 2012.[17]

On August 16, 1994, Lexington was struck by an F-3 tornado, generated from the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl, resulting in over 40 injuries and $50 million in damages. From the same tropical storm, 21 other tornados were reported throughout the state, including six in Lexington County.[18]

A Murphy Express gas station on Augusta Highway in Lexington sold a $400 million winning Powerball ticket on September 18, 2013. At the time, it was the fifth largest winning ticket of any United States lottery.[19][20][21]

In 2014, Timothy Jones Jr. of Red Bank, a neighborhood of Lexington, murdered his five children in their mobile home. Jones was found guilty in 2019 and sentenced to death. He is currently awaiting execution on death row.[22]

In 2015, remnants from Hurricane Joaquin brought historic flooding to South Carolina. In Lexington, extreme flooding resulted in the destruction of Gibson Park Dam, which led to the subsequent failure of the Old Mill Dam. Gibson Park Dam (pictured right) was reconstructed and opened to the public in 2021; Old Mill Dam was reconstructed in 2022. The flooding additionally resulted in the destruction of several roads and businesses in the town.[23][24]

See also: October 2015 North American storm complex § Impact

National Register of Historic Places

The Ballentine-Shealy House c. 1870.

Buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places include:[25]

Government

Lake Murray at Lexington.

Lexington has a mayor-council government, consisting of seven council members, including the mayor. Lexington's style of government takes the form of a weak-mayor administration; each member of the council and the mayor has one vote in relation to town matters. The mayor does not have any veto authority or any formal power outside of the council. Each member of the council is elected at-large and serves a term of four years.[26]

On December 4, 2023, Hazel Livingston, who had served as Mayor Pro-Tem since 2004, was sworn in as the first woman mayor of Lexington, South Carolina.[27]

On November 5, 2013, incumbent Lexington mayor Randy Halfacre lost a reelection bid to Councilman Steve MacDougall by 18 votes.[28] A recount was initiated but the results remained the same.[29] Steve MacDougall served as mayor for 10 years until 2023.

In 2015, Lexington's town council voted in a 5-1 motion to impose a 2% hospitality tax on all prepared food items. As a result, any prepared food item sold in the town, such as fast food or restaurant food items, has a total tax of 9%. The council vote garnered criticism after a county-wide tax referendum failed the year before; if passed the county would have increased sales tax by 1% for traffic improvements.[30] The tax generates over two million dollars annually, and the town uses the funds for road and traffic improvement, including the addition of turn lanes, the upgrading of traffic lights, and the improving of intersections.[30] The largest project completed was the conversion of South Carolina Highway 6 and Church Street to one-way streets in downtown Lexington in 2019.[31] Future projects include the building of an overpass over Interstate 20.[32]

On July 2, 2020, the town council passed a town ordinance requiring citizens to wear face masks in public to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in South Carolina.[33] Councilman Todd Carnes drew criticism after stating three time in the council meeting that the government has "infinite power" to create laws such as these, but opposed enacting a face mask ordinance because "science does not indicate that it helps."[34]

Elected Officials

Town of Lexington, SC Elected Officials[35]
Name Title Since
Hazel Livingston Mayor December 2023
Ron Williams Mayor Pro-tem December 2023
Will Allen Council Member December 2023
Todd Carnes Council Member March 2014
Jeannie Michaels Council Member December 2023
Gavin James Smith Council Member May 2023
Todd Lyle Council Member November 2018

Geography

Lexington is located in northeastern Lexington County at 33°58′52″N 81°13′51″W / 33.98111°N 81.23083°W / 33.98111; -81.23083 (33.980975, -81.230839).[36]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 12.0 square miles (31.0 km2), of which 11.9 square miles (30.7 km2) are land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.21%, are water.[37] The town is drained on the north by Fourteenmile Creek and on the south by Twelvemile Creek, both northeast-flowing tributaries of the Saluda River.

Lexington is 12 miles (19 km) west of Columbia, South Carolina's state capital and second-largest city.[38]

Climate

The lowest recorded temperature in Lexington was −2 °F (−19 °C) in February 1899. The warmest recorded temperature was 111 °F (44 °C) in June 2012.[39] July averages the most yearly precipitation.[40] Lexington averages 48 in (1.2 m) of rain per year; Lexington averages 1.6 in (4.1 cm) of snow per year.[41]

Climate data for Columbia, South Carolina (Columbia Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
(29)
84
(29)
93
(34)
96
(36)
101
(38)
107
(42)
109
(43)
107
(42)
106
(41)
101
(38)
90
(32)
83
(28)
109
(43)
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 56.0
(13.3)
61
(16)
68
(20)
76
(24)
84
(29)
90
(32)
93
(34)
91
(33)
85
(29)
76
(24)
67
(19)
58
(14)
75
(24)
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 30
(−1)
33
(1)
41
(5)
50
(10)
60
(16)
68
(20)
72
(22)
71
(22)
64
(18)
52
(11)
42
(6)
32
(0)
51
(11)
Record low °F (°C) −1
(−18)
−4
(−20)
4
(−16)
26
(−3)
34
(1)
44
(7)
54
(12)
53
(12)
40
(4)
23
(−5)
12
(−11)
4
(−16)
−4
(−20)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.58
(91)
3.74
(95)
3.73
(95)
2.62
(67)
2.97
(75)
4.69
(119)
5.46
(139)
5.26
(134)
3.54
(90)
3.17
(81)
2.74
(70)
3.22
(82)
44.56
(1,132)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.1
(0.25)
0.8
(2.0)
0.1
(0.25)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.1
(0.25)
1.6
(4.1)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.9 9.1 8.6 8.0 7.7 10.5 11.8 10.5 7.3 7.0 7.3 9.0 106.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.5 0.3 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.1 1.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 173.6 183.6 238.7 270.0 291.4 279.0 285.2 263.5 240.0 235.6 195.0 173.6 2,829.2
Source: NOAA (extremes 1887–present),[42]

Economy

Saturday Market in Lexington, SC

In 2022, retail sale within the town accounted for nearly $2.5 billion.[43] In 2020, the medium household income was $74,996 and the percentage of residents living below the poverty line was 9.11%.[43] According to the Town's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[44] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Lexington School District 1 1,083
2 Lexington County 905
3 Walmart 367
4 Town of Lexington 180
5 Publix 160
6 Lowe's 150
7 Home Depot 150
8 Avtec 135
9 Target 120
10 Kohl's 107

Transportation

Public transportation

Public transportation in Lexington is provided by the COMET, or officially the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA). The bus system is the main public transit system for the greater Columbia area.[45]

Roads and highways

Interstate highways

U.S. routes

S.C. highways

Tourism

Lexington, SC community band playing at the Icehouse Amphitheater
The Lexington Community Band performs "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the opening of a Blowfish baseball game.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
1880262
189034230.5%
1900806135.7%
1910709−12.0%
192089426.1%
19301,15228.9%
19401,033−10.3%
19501,0814.6%
19601,1274.3%
1970969−14.0%
19802,131119.9%
19903,28954.3%
20009,793197.8%
201017,87082.5%
202023,56831.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[48][3]

2020 census

Lexington racial composition[49]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 16,841 71.46%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 2,666 11.31%
Native American 49 0.21%
Asian 1,581 6.71%
Pacific Islander 23 0.1%
Other/Mixed 1,005 4.26%
Hispanic or Latino 1,403 5.95%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 23,568 people, 7,907 households, and 5,270 families residing in the town.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 17,870 people, 8,101 households, and 2,558 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,724.4 inhabitants per square mile (665.8/km2). There were 4,025 housing units at an average density of 708.7/sq mi (273.6/km2). Since 2000, the town population grew from nearly 10,000 inhabitants to 25,000, a 166% increase. Since 2005, 3,200 new homes have been built within the town limits, as well as 130 new businesses.[50]

In the 2010 census, the racial makeup of the town was 83.88% White, 12.48% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 2.05% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.91% of the population.

There were 3,644 households, out of which 40.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 27.1% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 39.6% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $53,865, and the median income for a family was $65,694. Males had a median income of $44,883 versus $29,020 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,416. About 5.2% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 14.5% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Main article: Lexington County School District One

Public education in Lexington is administered by Lexington County School District One, which has an enrollment of over 27,000 students and employees 3,900 faculty and staff.[51]

Public schools[c]
Elementary schools Enrollment
Pleasant Hill Elementary School 948
Midway Elementary School 947
Meadow Glen Elementary School 908
Carolina Springs Elementary School 800
Lake Murray Elementary School 759
Saxe Gotha Elementary School 752
Rocky Creek Elementary 730
Deerfield Elementary School 723
Oak Grove Elementary School 715
White Knoll Elementary 711
New Providence Elementary School 672
Lexington Elementary School 644
Red Bank Elementary School 579
Middle schools Enrollment
Pleasant Hill Middle School 1,208
Meadow Glen Middle School 1,029
Lakeside Middle School[d] 992
Carolina Springs Middle 930
Beechwood Middle School 850
White Knoll Middle School 787
High schools Enrollment
Lexington High School 2,105
River Bluff High School 2,047
White Knoll High School 1,955
Lexington Technology Center [e]
Adult education Enrollment
Rosenwald Community Learning Center 100

Library

Lexington has a branch of the Lexington County Public Library.[52]

Neighboring towns and cities

Municipalities within 15 miles (24 km) of the center of Lexington, listed clockwise:

Notable people

Notes

  1. ^ Haley served as the representative from Lexington's 87th District in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2005-2011.
  1. ^ The town of Lexington is named after Lexington County, which derives its name from the battles of Lexington and Concord.
  2. ^ Approximately six miles in each direction from the town center
  3. ^ Schools within another municipality's boundaries are not included.
  4. ^ Formerly Lexington Middle School
  5. ^ No fixed enrollment

References

  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Lexington, South Carolina
  3. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  4. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "QuickFacts Lexington town, South Carolina". www.census.gov. U.S. Government. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  7. ^ "QuickFacts Lexington town, South Carolina; United States". census.gov. July 1, 2022. Retrieved May 21, 2023.
  8. ^ "Central Midlands Region Population Projection Report" (PDF). Central Midlands Council of Governments. March 2018. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  9. ^ "West Columbia Zoning". Lexington County GIS. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  10. ^ "Lexington, SC Annexation". Lexington County GIS. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c "Lexington History". lexsc.com. Town of Lexington. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  12. ^ "The American Revolution in South Carolina". carolana.com. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  13. ^ "A History of Lexington".
  14. ^ "Town of Lexington - History". Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  15. ^ "ERSI MEMBER LEADS MOVE OVER LAW BATTLE IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND WINS!". respondersafety.net. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  16. ^ "South Carolina Code > Title 56 > Chapter 5 - Uniform Act Regulating Traffic On Highways - LawServer". LawServer.
  17. ^ Jenkins, Scott. "What Is the Move Over Law, and Which States Have It?". Motorbiscuit. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  18. ^ "South Carolina State Climatology Office". SC.gov. July 17, 2018.
  19. ^ Saeed Ahmed and Chuck Johnston, CNN (September 19, 2013). "$400 million Powerball lottery ticket sold in South Carolina - CNN.com". CNN. ((cite web)): |author= has generic name (help)
  20. ^ "Winner of $400M Powerball may remain anonymous". USA TODAY. September 19, 2013.
  21. ^ Casey Vaughn (September 19, 2013). "Winner of $399M Powerball ticket sold in Lexington unknown".
  22. ^ Ardis, Susan. "'My babies should be alive:' Mom of 5 SC children who were killed testifies". WLTX. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  23. ^ "Lexington dams close to being repaired after 2015 flood". WLTX. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  24. ^ "Lexington celebrates reopening of Gibson Park with community cookout". WLTX. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  25. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  26. ^ "Mayor & Council".
  27. ^ https://www.abccolumbia.com/2023/12/06/town-of-lexington-makes-history-at-swearing-in-ceremony-with-first-woman-mayor/
  28. ^ "Town of Lexington - Highlights". Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  29. ^ "Newly-elected Lexington mayor sworn in Monday | Politics | Lexington News". Archived from the original on December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  30. ^ a b Stevens, Matthew (September 7, 2015). "Lexington officials pass 2% hospitality tax". WatchFox57. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  31. ^ "Downtown Improvements". Town of Lexington. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  32. ^ "Traffic and Tourism Projects". Town of Lexington. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  33. ^ Mallory, Laurel (July 2, 2020). "Town of Lexington announces face masks are now required in all retail businesses". WISTV. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  34. ^ "Town Council July Meeting, 2020". Town of Lexington. July 6, 2020. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  35. ^ "Mayor & Council". Town of Lexington. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  36. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  37. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  38. ^ "Distance between Lexington, SC and Columbia, SC".
  39. ^ "Lexington, SC (29072) 10-Day Weather Forecast - The Weather Channel". Weather.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  40. ^ "Average Weather for Lexington, SC - Temperature and Precipitation". Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  41. ^ "Lexington County, South Carolina Climate". Bestplaces.net. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  42. ^ "The Weather Channel". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on March 6, 2014. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  43. ^ a b "Town of Lexington 2022 Comprehensive Plan". lexsc.com. Town of Lexington. Retrieved November 20, 2022.
  44. ^ "Town of Lexington 2020 Comprehensive Report". Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  45. ^ "97 Batesburg-Leesville Rural ReFlex" (PDF). Catch the Comet.
  46. ^ "Lake Murray, South Carolina". Sciway.net. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  47. ^ "Our next performance... Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 7:30 p.m., Lexington One Performing Arts Center at Lexington HS". Lexingtoncommunityband.org. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  48. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  49. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  50. ^ "The 15 fastest-growing cities in the US". Business Insider. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  51. ^ "Lexington One Schools". Lexington School District One. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  52. ^ "Locations". Lexington County Public Library. Retrieved September 28, 2022.
  53. ^ Barone, Michael; Ujifusa, Grant (1987). The Almanac of American Politics 1988. p. 1084. ((cite book)): |work= ignored (help)
  54. ^ Lexington Chronicle and Dispatch News, 28 May 2020, vol 149, 32nd edition, page A1