Growing up in Spartanburg County in the 80s and 90s, I often heard Spartanburg referred to as Sparkle City. I naively thought this nickname just meant things were really shiny in Spartanburg! Since moving back to Spartanburg about a year ago, after a decade away, I quickly found that Hub City is Spartanburg’s presently accepted term of endearment. So, where did Spartanburg get these nicknames?
The city of Spartanburg got her formal name from the Spartan Regiment, a local militia during the American Revolution made up of fiercely independent men from the upcountry of South Carolina. Spartanburg was formed in 1785 and incorporated in 1831.
Where Did Spartanburg Get the Nickname Sparkle City?
In 1956, four boys from Cowpens High School formed a rock band named The Sparkletones. 1957 they signed with the ABC Paramount record label after winning a local talent contest. The Sparkletones had multiple Billboard Top 100 hits, with “Black Slacks” becoming their most popular song. They worked with Paul Anka and performed on American Bandstand, The Nat King Cole Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. The group broke up in 1961 but did occasional reunion shows around South Carolina in the 1980s. Their glory days coined “Sparkle City” as their hometown’s nickname.
Why is Spartanburg Called Hub City?
Long before the Sparkletones sang their first note, Spartanburg was known for something else. In 1859, Spartanburg’s first railway connection began with a line from Union to Columbia. By the late 1800s there were seven different rail lines connecting Spartanburg to the rest of the Southeast and by the early 20th century, Spartanburg had become a transportation hub, with up to 90 passing through or stopping in the city and earning it the name, The Hub City. This nickname has seen a vast resurgence in popularity recently and you can find many area businesses with Hub City in the name. Our signs welcoming you into Spartanburg even bear the words.
Whatever you choose to call this city, Spartanburg, Sparkle City, or Hub City is rich in history and a great place to live!