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  • History

  • The rich history of Hartsville is woven into the fabric of what makes living here so unique. The characteristics of Hartsville today exemplify the same values of the residents that lived here centuries ago. From a legacy rich in agricultural and industrial innovation, Hartsville has maintained its status as a progressive city with a clear vision for the future. This is an authentically charming community that has maintained the best of the past while embracing the innovation of the future.


    The history of Hartsville

    The city of Hartsville centered around the plantation of Thomas Edward Hart (1796-1842). He moved his wife Hannah from nearby Society Hill to make their home here. The couple went on to have eight children, and their land yielded 1,223 acres of cotton, tobacco and other crops, as well as wild lands. Thomas Hart was the first postmaster of the area, a merchant, justice of the peace and a captain of a local militia company. The town became known as Hartville or Hartsville as early as 1837. This 19th century stead is the oldest home in Hartsville and is now home to Kalmia Gardens.

    In addition to the Hart family, the Cokers played a major role in the development of Hartsville. Major James Lide Coker (1837-1918) and his family arrived in the area in the mid-1800's. He was educated at The Citadel and attended Harvard to study the scientific principles of farming. He was engaged in farming before the Civil War, and after hip injury in battle, returned home to Hartsville. With the assistance of his father, he rebuilt farmlands destroyed by Sherman's army and converted a plantation commissary into a store, the J.L. Coker & Company. Major Coker went on to found a bank, several companies including what is known as the global packaging company Sonoco today, and the Welsh Neck School which is now Coker College. Later his son, David Coker, who was an expert in agriculture, developed strains of cotton and other crops at what is now known as the Coker Experimental Farms. 

    Although agriculture was an important economic driver in Hartsville's past, it now serves as an historical legacy. The city is now home to global packaging company, Sonoco, and other large businesses. 

    Historical landmarks

    Hartsville has a rich heritage that is designated through numerous historical landmarks. See what the South Carolina Department of Archives and History has to say about these National Registry properties:

    • A. M. McNair House
    • Arcade Hotel
    • C. K. Dunlap House
    • Coker Experimental Farms
    • Davidson Hall, Coker College
    • East Home Avenue Historic District
    • First Baptist Church
    • Hartsville Armory
    • Hartsville Community Center-Hartsville Community Market
    • Hartsville Passenger Station
    • Hartsville Post Office
    • J. B. Gilbert House
    • J. L. Coker Company building
    • Jacob Kelley House
    • James L. Coker, III House
    • John L. Hart House
    • Lawton Park and Pavilion
    • Magnolia Cemetery
    • Memorial Hall
    • Paul H. Rogers House
    • Robert R. Coker House
    • S. Pressly Coker House
    • Thomas E. House Hart and Kalmia Gardens
    • E. W. Cannon House and Store
    • Wade Hampton Hicks House
    • West College Avenue Historic District