Rock Hill, South Carolina is located in the north-central area of South Carolina, approximately 20 miles south along the I-77 corridor from Charlotte, North Carolina. Rock Hill offers unique options and benefits for business owners that other cities and counties in the Charlotte metro area simply can’t compete with. Rock Hill also has advantageous tax laws, award-winning employee training programs and lucrative incentives that make it easy for business to grow and prosper.
Deciding where to start or relocate a business depends largely on accessibility, and Rock Hill boasts numerous transportation advantages. I-77 runs directly through Rock Hill, and I-85 runs near the northwestern part of York County. Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is less than 30 minutes away, while the Port of Charleston, the busiest container port in the Southeast is only a short three hour drive away. Rock Hill is strategically located in the absolute center of the East Coast, and with only a two hour flight time or one day motor freight delivery time, businesses in Rock Hill can reach almost 60% of the nation’s general population and its industrial base.
In addition to business benefits, Rock Hill is a spectacular community that combines hometown charm with big-city amenities for its residents. Rock Hill’s proximity to Charlotte’s international airport, downtown nightlife, restaurants, professional sports and entertainment venues guarantees an exceptional quality of life long after the workday is over. Named one of America’s 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance, Rock Hill is justly proud of its excellent schools, superb parks, quaint downtown area and delightful offerings of arts and cultural venues. Rock Hill is also a lively college town that boasts three colleges with more than 10,000 students among its 70,000 residents. Excellent healthcare services, abundant shopping and a wide array of dining options make Rock Hill the perfect place to live with none of the typical big-city drawbacks.
Some could say that Rock Hill lives in the shadow of a Queen City. However, the glow of the Charlotte skyline reflects well on Rock Hill. Thanks to our neighbor just a few minutes north, Rock Hill is becoming the hometown choice for new corporate headquarters, business, growing families and greater opportunities for work and life.
Succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the Piedmont for thousands of years. The historic Catawba Indian Nation was here at the time of European encounter. Currently the only tribe in South Carolina that is federally recognized, its members live near Rock Hill.
Although some European settlers had already arrived in the Rock Hill area in the 1830s and 1840s, Rock Hill did not really start to become an actual town until the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad Company made the decision to send a rail line through the area. Engineers and surveyors decided to run the line two miles away by a local landmark. According to some accounts, the engineers marked the spot on the map and named it “rocky hill.”
Some of Rock Hill’s early founding families—the White family, the Black family, and the Moores—believed that having a rail depot so close to them would be advantageous, so they to give the Columbia and Charlotte Railroad the right of way through their properties. The first passenger train arrived on March 23, 1852. A few weeks later, on April 17, 1852, the first Rock Hill Post Office opened.
Shortly before the American Civil War began a census had been taken of the population in York County, where Rock Hill is located. Half of the district’s 21,800 residents were slaves, integral to local cotton production. The 4,379 white males in the county formed fourteen infantry companies; some of the men joined cavalry or artillery units instead. By the end of the war, 805 of these men were dead, and hundreds more were wounded. Men from Rock Hill and York County were involved in many of the major Civil War battles.
The Civil War changed the social, economic, and political situation in Rock Hill tremendously, as it did elsewhere in the South. Rock Hill grew as a town, taking in war refugees, widows and their families, and the return of the men who had left to fight the war. The formerly wealthy elite sold off their land to stay afloat financially. Town life began to become more important than rural life.
The town was not officially incorporated until 1870. Rock Hill celebrated its centennial in 1952 and its sesquicentennial in 2002.
The symbols of the city are the four Civitas statues, erected in 1991 at the Gateway corridor on Dave Lyle Boulevard. Each holds a disc that symbolizes the four drivers of the economy in the city (Gears of Industry, Flames of Knowledge, Stars of Inspiration, and Bolts of Energy). The Civitas statues are 22-foot-tall (6.7 m) structures made of bronze and created by the New York sculptor Audrey Flack.
The Gateway intersection where the four Civitas statues stand is circular to symbolize unity, teamwork and togetherness. The columns that stand beside the Civitas were a gift to the city from First Union Corporation, and are regarded as one of the area’s most treasured historical artifacts. They represent Rock Hill’s commitment to preserve and enhance the history of the city.
The city has a total land area of 43.16 square miles. Rock Hill is located along the Catawba River in the north-central section of the Piedmont of South Carolina near Charlotte. Rock Hill’s climate is characterized by humid summers and cool dry winters. Rock Hill is located approximately 25 miles (40 km) south of Charlotte, North Carolina and approximately 70 miles (110 km) north of Columbia, South Carolina.
Rock Hill is the fourth-largest city in the state of South Carolina. It is also the fourth-largest city of the Charlotte metropolitan area.
As of the 2010 census there were 66,154 people and 16,059 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 54.6% White, 38.3% Black, 1.7% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 0.1%Pacific Islander, 2.7% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races.
In the city, the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 14.7% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older.
Rock Hill’s economy was once dominated by the textile industry, but the restructuring of that industry in moving jobs overseas caused a decline in the local economy. The city is transitioning to a retail and manufacturing economy, and has been working to attract national and global companies.
Major Rock Hill employers include: Winthrop University, Piedmont Medical Center, Comporium Communications, City of Rock Hill, Rock Hill School District, and York Technical College.
Rock Hill has two local airports. The Rock Hill Municipal Airport is a municipal airport for the city of Rock Hill and serves non-commercial flights. The airport is located just minutes from Rock Hill’s Central business district. The other local airport, the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, is one of the busiest airports in the United States with over 130 non-stop destinations. It is located 20 miles from Rock Hill in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Rock Hill is well-connected with 6 exits off of Interstate 77 which runs between Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC. Numerous major roadways allow easy movement across Rock Hill and into neighboring communities. Rock Hill transportation routes also easily connect to Interstate 485 and Interstate 85.
The nation’s fourth busiest container port, the Port of Charleston, is located just 184 miles away.
Rock Hill is served by York County School District 3, which has twenty-seven total schools residing in Rock Hill, including seventeen elementary schools, five middle schools, and three high schools. The public high schools in Rock Hill include Rock Hill High School (first built high school in the city), Northwestern, and South Pointe (newest high school in the city). The district has a student enrollment of around 25,000.
There are three colleges within Rock Hill. The most prominent institution of higher learning in Rock Hill is Winthrop University, founded in 1886 as a women’s college. It is a thriving, public, co-ed four-year liberal arts college with an annual enrollment of well over 7,000 students. Clinton Junior College is a historically black, two-year institution founded by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1894. It is now a community college for the city of Rock Hill and York County. York Technical College opened in Rock Hill in 1964. This two-year community college offers associate degrees and provides continuing education for approximately 9,000 area residents annually and is growing each year.
Five museums are located in the city, and many more in the area.
The York County Museum of Rock Hill is a cultural and natural history museum located near the Rock Hill Airport.
The Comporium Telephone Museum is a historical museum located in Downtown about the history of technology in Rock Hill.
The Center for the Arts is an art museum also located in Downtown and owned by the York County Arts Council viewing local art.
The Main Street Children’s Museum is located in Downtown as well, specializing in children’s learning and educational activities.
The White Home is a museum and park on White Street and is on the National Register of Historical Places.
Museums outside Rock Hill include Historic Brattonsville, Catawba Cultural Center at the Catawba Indian reservation, and more museums located just outside of the city in the Charlotte area.
Rock Hill is home to thirty-one parks, four recreational centers, one botanical garden, along with the many nature trails.
There are also Nanny Mountain County Park and Ebenezer County Park, Kings Mountain State Park and Andrew Jackson State Park, and Kings Mountain National Military Park that are located just minutes away.
Rock Hill hosts two national championships: the United States Disc Golf Championship at Winthrop University and the US Youth Soccer National Championships. The Winthrop University Eagles are a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I team.
Rock Hill Galleria is a regional shopping mall anchored by Belk’s, Sears, JC Penney, Wal-Mart, along with around 60 specialty stores and a food court.
Manchester Village is another premier shopping center. The complex is anchored by nine national retailers, a Regal 14-screen movie theater, and many other specialty shops.
Additional shopping centers are located across the city that feature many other well-known national and local retailers.