Lexington is the largest town in and the county seat of Lexington County, South Carolina, United States. It is a suburb of the state capital, Columbia. The population was 23,568 at the 2020 Census, and it is the second-largest municipality in the greater Columbia area. The 2021 estimated population is 24,208. According to the Central Midlands Council of Governments, the greater Lexington area had an estimated population of 111,549 in 2020 and is considered the fastest-growing area in the Midlands. Lexington's town limits are bordered to the east by the city of West Columbia.
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. In 1785, the name Saxe Gotha was replaced with Lexington County, in commemoration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. The county's first courthouse was built in Granby, but chronic flooding forced the courthouse to move in 1820 to its present location, establishing the community of Lexington Courthouse. The community was incorporated as the Town of Lexington in 1861. The Battle of Tarrar Springs was fought nearby on November 16, 1781.
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. 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.
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.
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 after James D. Garcia, a paramedic, was struck and injured at an accident scene on January 28, 1994. Garcia was listed at fault, leading to his work to create this law. South Carolina's version (SC 56-5-1538) passed in 1996 and was revised in 2002.
A Murphy Express gas station on Augusta Highway in Lexington sold a $400 million winning Powerball ticket on September 18, 2013. This ticket was the fifth largest winning ticket of any United States lottery.
National Register of Historic Places
Buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. include:
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.
On November 5, 2013, incumbent Lexington mayor Randy Halfacre lost a reelection bid to Councilman Steve MacDougall by 18 votes. A recount was initiated but the results remained the same. Steve MacDougall, who took office in December 2013, is the incumbent mayor of Lexington, currently serving his second term.
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. 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. The largest project completed was the conversion of South Carolina Highway 6 and Church Street to one-way streets in downtown Lexington in 2019. Future projects include the building of an overpass over Interstate 20 and the widening of SC Highway 6.
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. 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."
Lexington is located in northeastern Lexington County at (33.980975, -81.230839).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which are land and , or 1.21%, are water. 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 west of Columbia, South Carolina's state capital and second-largest city.
The lowest recorded temperature in Lexington was in February 1899. The warmest recorded temperature was in June 2012. July averages the most yearly precipitation. Lexington averages of rain per year; Lexington averages of snow per year.
In 2019, the unemployment rate was 1.7%, and the per capita personal income was $31,900. According to the Town's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
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.
Roads and highways
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 23,568 people, 7,907 households, and 5,270 families residing in the town.
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 . There were 4,025 housing units at an average density of . 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.
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.
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.
Lexington has a branch of the Lexington County Library.
Neighboring towns and cities
Municipalities within of the center of Lexington, listed clockwise:
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Lexington, SC, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.