Quality of Life
The Sumter Gallery of Art, located in the Patriot Hall Cultural Arts Center, features 14-16 exhibits each year, classes on the arts for kindergartners through senior citizens, and a gift shop. Patriot Hall is known as the cultural center of Sumter County and houses a 1,200-seat auditorium excellent for recitals, plays, concerts, and even large business meetings. The Sumter Little Theatre, located on the same grounds, puts on several performances each year. The little theatre is special because it brings to life critically acclaimed works but also plays written by locals, all while providing a venue for community members to express their thespian side.
In addition, Sumter has numerous civic groups and associations such as the Rotary, Lion's Club, and Kiwanis. While Sumter has too many groups to list here, it's also home to the Sumter YMCA Touchdown Club, the Master Gardeners' Association, the Black Heritage Club, the Sumter Crafters' Guild, the Retired Officers' Association, and the Air Force Association.
Sumter also has numerous annual festivals and special events, beginning with the world-renowned Iris Festival each May. In addition to the Iris Festival, Sumter residents enjoy many other cultural events including Sumter-Shaw Streetfest, Scottish Country Fair, The Poinsettia Festival and Fantasy of Lights, Black Cowboy Festival, the Mary McLeod Bethune Birthday Celebration, the Rub O' the Green Golf Tournament, Sumter County Fair and much more.
In the heart of the Bible Belt, Sumter residents attend more than 120 churches, representing many different denominations. You can find a congregation that fulfills your needs and helps create a sense of community.
Quality healthcare is one of the cornerstones of a happy and long life. For residents of Sumter and the nearby communities, it is synonymous with one name –Tuomey. While incorporated in 1901, what is now Tuomey Healthcare System, has broadened its range of services and it commitment to caring for the entire patient. Starting out as a 30-bed center in the same location, Tuomey has grown into a beautiful 301-bed facility. With land purchases and numerous additions, the medical facility has made care in the area more accessible.
Medical Office Building One brought local physicians literally next door to Tuomey. Completed just a few years ago is Tuomey's second Medical Office Building, which houses a new Outpatient Surgery Center. OSC is located on the first floor of the new building, and provides the hospital with four new operating rooms.
Tuomey offers outstanding acute care and highly proactive and specialized health and wellness programs to the area. Among these services are day surgery, home health services, orthopedic rehabilitation, cardiac rehabilitation, sports medicine, physical therapy and sub-acute care.
The Birthing Center at Tuomey Regional Medical Center is so much more than just a place to have a baby. With its warm surroundings and experienced staff, it is the expertise and emergent care needed to take care of you and your little one in the event of a challenging birth. The Birthing Center offers the comfort and convenience of luxurious private birthing suites that provide the utmost in personalized care to you during your labor and delivery.
Tuomey's obstetrical staff is among the finest anywhere and is equipped to handle virtually any birthing situation, from routine to high-risk. Tuomey's Level II Neonatal Intermediate Care Nursery means your baby is in good hands. Also offered are a complete range of services designed to help you and your family adjust to the challenges a newborn represents.
Tuomey has a highly reputable Cancer Treatment Center as well and with the medical park in Sumter, it is the second-largest employer in the county with more than 2,000 on staff.
Sumter Medical Community
In addition to the medical services provided by Tuomey Healthcare System, the Sumter area also boasts a number of excellent healthcare professionals, which currently practice in the many offices and healthcare groups around the county.
Sumter has a number of excellent general physicians, as well as those specializing in their chosen fields. A patient requiring a checkup, in-office surgery, care at the local hospital, rehab services or long term care, need only look in their hometown of Sumter to be offered a plethora of choices that will satisfy their need.
The Sumter area also has several nursing homes and assisted-living communities that offer a variety of home-health and caregiver services. Assisted living is a concept that allows older adults a safe environment while at the same time allowing them to remain as independent as they want to be.
For those seniors living at the facilities as well as around the community, Sumter has more than its share to offer. Sumter Senior Services, the local council on aging and the Shepherd's Center offers a variety of daytime activities and counseling. Many local churches also focus on their seniors, offering activities as well as travel opportunities.
Sumter County is rich in tradition and history, right down to its very name, much of which comes from a crucial member of America's fight for independence, Gen. Thomas Sumter. Also know as the “The Fighting Gamecock” for his fierce tenacity in warfare, Sumter was an important leader in South Carolina during the Revolutionary War.
Prior to the war, the English settled the Sumter area along the Wateree River in the 1740s. The Church of the Holy Cross and High Hills Baptist Church were founded in the 1770s and the local landmarks stand to this day. The Church of the Holy Cross is the burial site for Joel Roberts Poinsett, first Ambassador to Mexico and a famous botanist for which the poinsettia plant is named.
Gen. Thomas Sumter's efforts helped the American campaign during the war against the British as he served in several regiments and fought in many battles and skirmishes. Sumter even defeated Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, a leader of the British dragoons and feared solider, at Blackstock's Ford in 1780. Sumter was wounded in the back and the chest in that conflict and retired to Statesburg, where he continued his service to the young nation. Until his death in 1832 at the age of 98, the last remaining general of the Revolutionary War, fought for his state's rights during a crucial time in the U.S. history. His tomb at Sumter Memorial Park, near his home in Stateburg, is now a national landmark.
In 1845, the town of Sumterville was established as a plantation settlement. It was only 10 years later that the name was shortened to Sumter.
The area once again became important during the Civil War. Citadel Cadet George Edward “Tuck” Haynsworth, a Sumter native born and buried here, arguably fired the first shot of the war. One of the final skirmishes of the war took place in Sumter as Potters' troops fought on the same day Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.
Several landmarks came about after the Civil War, including the initial construction in 1872 of the Sumter Opera House and its 100-foot high clock tower. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Opera House is currently the setting for local council meetings and host lots of local entertainment activities.
Perhaps one of the most important developments to Sumter County came in 1941 when Shaw Field, later renamed Shaw Air Force Base, came into existence. The base has opened up the county's economy and diversified the population.
The Sumter County Museum Complex includes the Genealogical and Historical Research Center, Williams-Brice House and Gardens, and the Carolina Backcountry Homestead. Visitors here can trace the history of Old Sumter District through exhibits, artworks, and presentations. Of particular note is the Carolina Backcountry Homestead exhibit. This living history area is composed of eight structures, two original buildings relocated to the site and six reconstructed buildings. The Homestead is used for living history demonstrations, tours, and special events.