Hartsville and how it grew

Main Street in Hartsville circa 1914. PHOTO COURTESY BRIAN GANDY

Center Theater in Hartsville. This image is not dated, and it likely was used as a postcard. PHOTO COURTESY BRIAN GANDY

An undated advertisement promoting the city and its residents. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Story Courtesy City of Hartsville

We are Hartsville, one of the most dynamic small towns in the South.
We are a place where business and industry thrive. We are one of the smallest cities in America to be the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company.
Our businesses compete and thrive on a state level and a global stage. From multi-national corporations to locally-owned upstarts, we have nurtured a culture that fuels ingenuity and innovation throughout our community.
We are a place where a tradition of educational leadership is alive and well. We are the home of the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and South Carolina’s brightest students.
From the halls of Coker University to the stands cheering on the Red Foxes, from our classrooms to the preserved tales of the Butler School, education is ingrained in the fabric of our community.
We are a place where people work together to make our community stronger. We give our time, resources, and talents to support those things that fuel the passions of our friends and neighbors. We are a place where gardens bloom, theaters come to life, and around every corner awaits an undiscovered experience. Together, we are preserving our stories, sharing our talents, and forging partnerships that make us a truly connected community.
We are Hartsville, the home of visionary leaders in industry, education, and the arts. We are an exceptional Southern community working together toward a bright future.
Things to do in Hartsville: Discover cultural activities around Hartsville, from the ongoing displays and programs of the Black Creek Arts Council to the displays of the Hartsville Museum.
Tour the many offerings of Kalmia Gardens, from the historic home of Thomas E. Hart to the widely varied botanical garden and the steep elevation drop down to the cypress swamp through which Black Creek flows.
Experience Hartsville’s recreation opportunities, from the downtown green space of Burry Park to the fields, track, gym and splash pad of the Byerly Park Recreation Complex.
History of Hartsville: Hartsville traces its origins to Thomas Edward Hart, who came to the area in 1817 and built a plantation along Black Creek.
His son, John Lide Hart, developed Hartsville Plantation in what is now downtown, creating a carriage factory, steam-powered sawmill, grist mill and more.
Early community leader James Lide Coker played an extremely influential role in Hartsville’s development. He and his family would develop a seed company, oil mill, fertilizer plant and the iconic J.L. Coker & Company General Store, housed in a massive brick storefront which remains a downtown landmark.
The Cokers also created Welsh Neck High School, the forerunner of Coker University, as well as the Southern Novelty Company, the predecessor to Sonoco Products Company, a major provider of packaging, industrial products and more. Hartsville received its town charter on Dec. 11, 1891, in a period of growing industry, business, and a booming population.
Hartsville is today a center of industry, education, and reinvention – the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, for example, has been built on the site of the Hartsville Cotton Mill.
Possessing a downtown full of historic sites, access to Prestwood Lake and an ongoing array of quality-of-life projects from recreational facilities, special events and community development opportunities, Hartsville remains a small town full of innovation and opportunity.

Author: Stephan Drew

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