HMRA is comprised of a Board of Directors and an Executive Director who are all committed to maintaining the downtown business district while encouraging the Marion and neighboring communities to partake of the small-town charm with the "progressive" attitude it takes to keep an economy viable. We not only want our community to be prosperous, but to have fun along the way.
One of our main goals is to obtain grant monies for the Historic District of downtown Marion. We continue our efforts to add directional signage and maintain the overall beauty of our historic home. We will also work to encourage newcomers, including tourists, families and retirees, to visit and to relocate to Marion. Presenting a downtown that is viable and pleasing to the eye is part of that plan.
Another of our more ambitious goals is to continually seek and bring new businesses into the downtown, filling empty properties, and to continually help existing businesses on Main Street in Historic Downtown Marion to grow and reach their full potential. It is our goal to recruit and retain viable businesses.
Who We Are
The Historic Marion Revitalization Association is a volunteer organization established to enhance Marion's business environment while preserving the beauty of the city. The HMRA is 501©3 organization that receives funding from the City of Marion, grants and private contribution. HMRA strives to stimulate economic development within the context of historical preservation. Beginning in 1992, local citizens, merchants, and city officials sought guidance from the South Carolina Downtown Development Association. Working with the City of Marion and the Marion Chamber of Commerce, a Master Plan was completed for the downtown area. This plan was the result of the Charrette that was completed in the Fall of 2005. From the Master Plan, downtown Marion realized a renovated streetscape with new paving and street lamps in addition to stamped brick in-laid side and cross-walks aesthetic improvements. In 2010, the Master Plan was reviewed and one recommendation such as the addition of way-finding signage was undertaken as a project of HMRA. One of our more ambitious goals is to seek new businesses to relocate to Main Street in downtown Marion. In addition, HMRA also awards matching grants up to $2,000 for work done on commercial facades located within the Historic Business District. If you are interested in applying for a grant please contact our office for more information.
The foundation of the HMRA program is the preservation and management of change in the built environment. HMRA is committed to sponsoring programs and activities which fulfill the following purposes: historic preservation, community education, lessening the burden of local government and combating community deterioration.
What We Do
The City of Marion's Historic Revitalization Association works with the City of Marion and the Marion Chamber of Commerce to ensure that a master plan developed for the Historic Downtown is accomplished. We are committed to leading the revitalization of downtown Marion, making it a desirable place to live, work and play. Our future depends on building a community that provides a higher quality of life for its citizens, one that respects the past and looks forward to the future.
The City of Marion is named for Revolutionary War General Francis Marion (the famed Swamp Fox) and is often proclaimed "the prettiest little town" in eastern South Carolina. Rows of ancient oaks, crepe myrtles, dogwoods and elms line its streets and the spacious public square in the center of the town is as charming as an old Southern garden. Many homes in Marion date to the end of the Victorian Era and the late 1800s.
Marion is situated between the resort area of South Carolina's Grand Strand along the coast and Interstate 95. The Swamp Fox City lies 22 miles east of Florence and 45 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean. We are an hour and a half from the capital city of Columbia and only two hours from historic Charleston, as well as the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina. Marion is 15 miles from Francis Marion University and 35 miles from Coastal Carolina University.
Our little hometown is steeped in history and heritage and filled with warm, friendly smiles. Shopping, dining, antiquing and friendly people await. Come visit for a day and see why many stay.
Gen. Francis Marion, "The Swamp Fox"
Gen. Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," was a Revolutionary War hero who gives his name to the beautiful city of Marion. Francis Marion was a member of the South Carolina Provincial Congress and voted in favor of the Revolutionary War against the British.
The title "Swamp Fox" was given to Francis Marion for his tactics of hiding with his men in the swamps that he became familiar with, then ambushing the British when they least expected it. After the troops attacked the British, Francis Marion would order them to retreat, often into the swamps, before the British knew what hit them. Often using clever, cat-and-mouse play, he became credited with being the father of guerrilla warfare.
Gen. Francis Marion led volunteer armies in numerous battles and skirmishes during the Revolutionary War and when General Horatio Gates and General Thomas Sumter were defeated, Francis Marion's troops were the only troops left fighting in South Carolina. The number of men left fighting was down to so few that Francis Marion organized his men into guerrilla units. They provided their own food, horses and supplies. Blacksmiths took old saw blades and created swords for the men, their ammunition was created out of pewter plates.
Francis Marion and his troops took on local loyalist troops, forcing them to surrender in a truce in present day Marion County. He and his band of partisans camped along the Great Pee Dee River at what is now Dunham's Bluff, across from his famous hideout on Snow's Island. His men raided the British supply units and rescued captured soldiers. Although the British tried, they could never catch the clever Swamp Fox. Francis Marion is remembered not only in the South, but throughout America as an incredible war hero. Originally named Gilesborough around 1800, in honor of the Revolutionary War Col. Hugh Giles from the Catfish Creek area of present day Marion County who fought with Gen. Marion, the city was renamed.
Here, in South Carolina, his legacy burns the brightest for the streets traveled today cover the dirt trails he traveled years ago. The City of Marion is proud of this strong, historical figure. In an effort to better remember the contributions of the men who served with Gen. Francis Marion, and to educate today's generations about life in the area from 1779-1781, HMRA has partnered with a group of local reenactors as their sponsoring agency.
The members of the Britton's Neck Regiment of Militia, a company of reenactors, work to depict the life and times during the American Revolution. To learn more about the reenactors, call Denley Caughman at 843-423-5220.
Marion, the county seat, has thrived as a judicial center for the area since the early 1800s. A crossroads town that expanded with time and new industries, among them farming, transportation, soft drink bottling, banking and manufacturing, Marion has become "by-passed" in recent years. The Historic Marion Revitalization Association exists to help move Marion into the future while building on its unique and wonderful history, heritage and humility.