Central is a town in Pickens County, South Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,159, roughly 3,000 of whom were considered permanent residents. Contrary to its name, it is not near South Carolina's center. It received its name from being halfway or the central point between Atlanta and Charlotte along the former Atlanta and Richmond Air-Line Railway line. Southern Wesleyan University's main campus is east of downtown Central.
Central was founded by the Atlanta and Richmond Air Line Company in a railroad boom that began in 1873. The town's name represents the fact that it is midway between Atlanta and Charlotte. Central was incorporated as a town on March 17, 1875.
In 1897, Southern Railway moved its headquarters from Central to Greenville; trains no longer stopped to change engines, and soon all shops and offices were closed. The establishment of Issaqueena Mill and, in 1906, Wesleyan Methodist Bible Institute (now Southern Wesleyan University) brought people back to the town.
Two buildings on Church Street in Central are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Central High School and Morgan House. The Central Roller Mills on Madden Bridge Road was listed in 2013.