Dillon, South Carolina

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Dillon, South Carolina
First Presbyterian Church in Dillon
First Presbyterian Church in Dillon
Motto: "Quietly Progressive"
"Your First Stop in S.C."[1]
Location of Dillon in South Carolina
Location of Dillon in South Carolina
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Country United States
State South Carolina
County Dillon
 • Type Council-Manager Form of Government
 • Mayor Todd Davis
 • Total 5.23 sq mi (13.56 km2)
 • Land 5.23 sq mi (13.53 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation 112 ft (34 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 6,788
 • Density 1,299/sq mi (501.6/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 29536
Area code(s) 843
FIPS code 45-19420[2]
GNIS feature ID 1222024[3]
Website www.cityofdillonsc.us

Dillon is the county seat of Dillon County in eastern South Carolina, in the United States. It was established on December 22, 1888. The name of the city and county comes from John W. Dillon, a key figure in bringing a railroad through the area. The population was 6,788 in the 2010 U.S. census.[4] Todd Davis is the mayor of Dillon, which operates under the council–manager form of municipal government.


Dillon is located near the center of Dillon County in the Pee Dee region of northeastern South Carolina. The Little Pee Dee River, a tributary of the Pee Dee River, runs just east of the city.

U.S. Routes 301 and 501 pass through the city as Second Avenue, leading northeast 7 miles (11 km) to Interstate 95 at South of the Border along the North Carolina line, and southwest 6.5 miles (10.5 km) to Latta. Interstate 95 passes northeast of the city, with access from Exits 190 and 193. I-95 leads northeast 25 miles (40 km) to Lumberton, North Carolina, and southwest 28 miles (45 km) to Florence. South Carolina Highway 9 passes through the center of town, leading northwest 26 miles (42 km) to Bennettsville and southeast 13 miles (21 km) to Lake View. South Carolina Highway 57 follows SC 9 through Dillon but leads north 14 miles (23 km) to the North Carolina border and south 17 miles (27 km) to Mullins. SC 9 and 57 follow Main Street southeast out of town. South Carolina Highway 34 follows Main Street northwest out of town, leading west 33 miles (53 km) to Darlington.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Dillon has a total area of 5.3 square miles (13.6 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.21%, is water.[4] The Little Pee Dee River flows southwards 2 miles (3 km) east of the center of town.


Dillon gained prosperity when the town's founding fathers allowed the railroad to come through it. Little Rock, a smaller, neighboring town, was the original choice, but its residents believed the railroad would do more harm than good.

Dillon had the good fortune of being located along a frequently-used railway line, and was at one time a prosperous town, as evidenced by its large and ornate courthouse. The Dillon County Courthouse was designed by architect William Augustus Edwards. A federal grant in the early 2000s allowed for a significant renovation of the courthouse and led to the creation of the City of Dillon Historical Overlay District in 2003. The district has seen mixed success, with some local residents believing that it has improved quality of life in downtown Dillon and others believing that it has driven businesses from downtown Dillon to the I-95 corridor, Dillon's other major retail center. For decades early in the 20th century Dillon's economy was based on the profitable tobacco- and cotton-production and sales industries, a source of income that has slowly shrunk over the years as production and transport systems for these commodities have become more efficient and less centralized. Now, outside of service industry and state jobs, gainful employment is scarce in Dillon. Despite this, the city infrastructure is well-maintained and there is a large, modern hospital and medical complex—formerly Saint Eugene Hospital, now McLeod Medical Center of Dillon, and a city-owned 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2) Wellness Center that has over 900 members, which was opened in March 2007.

The City of Dillon's population has remained at about 7,000 since the early 1970s, meaning that its population has steadily shrunk proportionally to South Carolina as a whole. The city is a good example of an economic situation found in many smaller cities and towns throughout the United States, in that its geography once made it important in the local/regional economy, but with changes in agriculture, the rise of the interstate highways and interstate trucking, globalization, and the information economy, it has become more or less defunct as an economic entity.

Dillon is home to the second largest yarn producing factory in the United States. In early 2007 the factory, and its textile division, was sold by Dillon Yarn Corporation to yarn powerhouse Unifi. The other Dillon divisions continued to run in the factory. After Unifi shut the factory down, an affiliate of Dillon Yarn Corporation decided to buy back the factory, keeping the existing Dillon divisions in place.

In 2001, Harbor Freight Tools, a California-based tool retailer, built a large distribution center near Dillon, bringing many much-needed jobs to the city.

Interstate 95 and South Carolina Highway 9 intersect at Exit 193, with Highway 9 passing through the heart of downtown and becoming part of Main Street for a few miles. Exit 193 is the one most used from the I-95 corridor by travelers to Myrtle Beach, a popular vacation spot. Exit 193, Dillon's second and more-used I-95 exit, was recently named after the Honorable William James "Bill" McLeod, Sr., a World War II veteran, former state representative, and retired family court judge.

Dillon also is home to Twin Lakes Country Club. The overpass overlooking the golf course and the once famous rail line is named after William Bledsoe (W.B.) Hawkins, a former state representative, WWII veteran, and respected attorney.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 82
1900 1,015 1,137.8%
1910 1,757 73.1%
1920 2,205 25.5%
1930 2,731 23.9%
1940 3,867 41.6%
1950 5,171 33.7%
1960 6,173 19.4%
1970 6,391 3.5%
1980 7,060 10.5%
1990 6,829 −3.3%
2000 6,316 −7.5%
2010 6,788 7.5%
Est. 2014 6,658 [5] −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

The population grew 7.5 percent from the 2000 to 2010. The city is 53.1% Black or African American, 42.8% White or Caucasian persons, 1.6% American Indian or Alaska Native persons, 1.2% persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, and 1.2% persons reporting two or more races.

There was a recorded 2,454 households, averaging between two and three (2.57) people per household, as well as 2,916 housing units within the city. Of the 2,916 housing units 13.7% were multi-unit structures. The average value of a housing unit was $101,800 for owner occupied units. The census also showed that the population density of Dillon was 1,299.1 persons per square mile. The land area of the city of Dillon was 5.23 square miles. The median household income was found to be $30,455 with a rate of 30.4% of people living in poverty.[7]

Notable people



  • McLeod Hospital

Wellness center

The city of Dillon offers a public wellness center, located at 1647 Commerce Drive. The $4.1 million facility was built in 2008. It is a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) building that offers exercise equipment, a sauna, gymnasium, walking track, and meetings rooms. It also offers rooms for rental. The exercise facilities can be used for a fee of $5, or memberships are available at monthly rates.[10]


Dillon District Four Schools consists of all public schools in the city of Dillon and the town of Lake View. The town of Latta has its own school district (District Three).

Public schools:

  • East Elementary
  • South Elementary
  • Stewart Heights Elementary
  • Lake View Elementary
  • Gordon Elementary
  • Dillon Middle School
  • Dillon High School
  • Lake View High School

Private schools:

  • Dillon Christian School

Dillon High School has about 1,000 students. Their mascot is the wildcat, and the colors are black and gold. Football is the most popular sport; in the two years after the departure of tenured coach Paul A. Chapman in 1989, the Wildcats' performance was lackluster at best, but the arrival of former assistant sixth grade PE coach Jackie Hayes in 1992 launched a football juggernaut. Hayes had the help of two longtime Dillon Assistant Coaches, Jason Gunter and the late Willie Fred Daniels. Gunter and Daniels both coached Hayes when he played football in high school.

Daniels died prior to the Wildcats winning their first of two consecutive state championships but was definitely a factor in building such a dominating football program. Derrick Hamilton along with countless other talented athletes played for Coach Hayes and the Dillon High School football team.

The Dillon Christian School also won a state championship, the same year that the Wildcats won their first title. The late and great Coach Marion "Bull" Lee, a longtime Dillon High junior varsity coach, is credited with helping build the program.

Secondary education

  • Northeastern Technical College



Downtown Dillon is the intersection of US 301, US 501, SC 9, SC 34 and SC 57. I-95 has two exits to Dillon, and it is planned that I-73 will serve Dillon as part of a future southward expansion.


Amtrak, the national rail passenger carrier, provides daily service from Dillon with the Palmetto, which runs between Savannah, Georgia, and New York City. Trains stop at the Dillon station, originally opened for passenger use by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1904. CSX owns both railroad lines which cross Dillon.


The Dillon Herald is the city of Dillon's newspaper. The paper was established in 1894 and is the oldest "continuously operated" business in Dillon County.[11]



  1. City of Dillon official website
  2. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Dillon city, South Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 5, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Census Quickfacts".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Gabe Friedman. "11 Facts About Jewish South Carolina from Politicians to the Hebrew Hammer". forward.com. Retrieved September 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Alfred W. "Red" Bethea (information taken from gravestone)". findagrave.com. Retrieved May 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. http://www.dilloncitysc.com/pksrec_wellnesscenternew.html
  11. "The Dillon Herald".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links