Hartsville, South Carolina

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Hartsville, South Carolina
City of Hartsville logo

Location of Hartsville, South Carolina
Location of Hartsville, South Carolina
Coordinates: 34°22′10″N 80°4′51″W / 34.36944°N 80.08083°W / 34.36944; -80.08083Coordinates: 34°22′10″N 80°4′51″W / 34.36944°N 80.08083°W / 34.36944; -80.08083
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Darlington
 • Total 5.0 sq mi (13.0 km2)
 • Land 5.0 sq mi (12.9 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 217 ft (66 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 7,764
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 29550-29551
Area code(s) 843
FIPS code 45-32560[1]
GNIS feature ID 1231367[2]
Website www.hartsvillesc.gov

Hartsville is a city in South Carolina and is the largest city in Darlington County. The population was 7,764 at the 2010 census. The current mayor is Mel Pennington.

Hartsville is the home of Coker College.

Hartsville is home to several major corporations including Sonoco Products Company and Duke Energy Progress. Agrium Inc. maintained a Rainbow Fertilizer plant in Hartsville until it was destroyed by fire on February 14, 2011. Agrium has chosen not to rebuild in Hartsville despite efforts from local and state government officials.

Main Street Hartsville[edit]

Main Street Hartsville logo

The Main Street Hartsville program is a partnership of the City of Hartsville and Main Street SC, a program of the National Main Street Center. The organization seeks to build a vibrant downtown in Hartsville, focusing on thriving businesses, entertainment, recreating and historic preservation. It follows the Main Street Four Point Approach of Organization, Promotion, Design and Economic Restructuring.[3]


Hartsville has several parks within the city and continues to add more.

Byerly Park[edit]

Byerly Park is a 93 acre multi-use recreational park. In addition to its 6 soccer fields, 8 softball/baseball fields, 2 football fields, 6 tennis courts, 8-lane 400 meter track and field facility, 12 horseshoe pits, 2 playgrounds, picnic area, and concession stands, Byerly Park is home to the Piratesville Splash Pad. Piratesville is one of the largest splash pads in the state of South Carolina and operates Tuesday through Sunday when Darlington County Schools are out-of-session for summer vacation.[4]

Burry Park[edit]

Burry Park is an open green space in the heart of Hartsville. It is home to the Hartsville Veterans Memorial and Veterans Walk. Burry Park also hosts Hartsville's 'Screen on the Green' which shows movies (similar to Delta Airline's Screen on the Green in Atlanta) and Main Street Hartsville's Good Living Marketplace.[5]

Centennial Park[edit]

Centennial Park was developed for the 1981 centennial of Hartville being incorporated on December 11, 1891. The park features covered sitting areas as well as a large fountain and, during Christmas, hosts a large metal-frame lit Christmas tree.[6]

Lawton Park[edit]

The Pavilion at Lawton Park

Lawton Park and Pavilion is located on 3.5 acres of lakefront property along Prestwood Lake. Lawton Park offers tennis courts, picnic shelters, a boardwalk and pier, and playgrounds. It is also home to the Lawton Park Pavilion, a historical building constructed in 1938 by the City of Hartsville with funding from the Works Progress Administration. The facility is an example of New Deal-era recreation facilities. It was renovated in 2007 and 2008. It is available for private events and includes elevators and a caterer's kitchen.[7]

Pride Park[edit]

Pride Park features a picnic shelter, playground, restrooms and an outdoor stage used for events such as the annual Gospel in the Park series.

The park is built on the site of the Hartsville Graded School, the first public school for black children in Hartsville, operating from about 1900 to 1921, as well as the later Butler School, named for the Rev. Henry H. Butler, longtime principal of the school. Park signage and a South Carolina Historical Marker placed at the park also make note of the Rev. T.J. James, who began a Sunday School at the site in 1922 which grew into Mt. Pisgah Presbyterian Church. James also established the Mt. Pisgah Nursery School in the old graded school structure. James’ family donated the land to the City of Hartsville for Pride Park, which was established in 1986.[8]

The Vista which connects Coker College to the Governors School for Science and Mathematics

The Vista[edit]

The Vista is a pedestrian corridor built along Railroad Avenue between Coker Avenue and Second Street, connecting the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics and portions of the Coker College with downtown Hartsville. The space was redeveloped in 2009-10 by the City of Hartsville from a portion of the former Hartsville railroad yard which once connected Hartsville’s downtown with major rail lines.

The green space in The Vista features a walking path, a pond including fountains and park benches.[9]


The area surrounding Hartsville was once home to several Native American tribes. These tribes inhabited the region until European settlers arrived. Several tribes were present, such as the Pee Dee, Catawba, Chicora, Edisto, Sane, and Chicora-Waccamaw. These tribes were ultimately wiped out due to diseases brought in by settlers.

Hartsville's first true settlement began around 1760. The town is named for Captain Thomas E. Hart. Hart was described as a kind and gentle man and he eventually owned most of the land in the community. Hart was also able to start a successful mercantile business but he lost both his business and his land during the economic depression of 1837-1838.

In 1845, Thomas Hart's son, John Lide Hart, purchased 495 acres of land in what is now downtown Hartsville from Colonel Law. John Hart went on to establish a carriage factory, steam-powered saw mill, grist mill, general store, and Hartsville Baptist Church. Caleb Coker purchased the carriage factory for his son James Lide Coker in 1855.

James Lide Coker came to Hartsville in 1857 with plans to implement new farming methods taught to him at Harvard College. His plans were interrupted by the start of the American Civil War in which he became a Major for the confederacy while serving. He returned to Hartsville injured and only to find that his plantation was in shambles. He made plans to reconstruct his plantation and bring prosperity to the town of Hartsville.

Major Coker established Welsh Neck High School which later became Coker College. He also went on to establish a seed company, oil mill, fertilizer plant, the Coker and Company General Store, a bank, and the Southern Novelty Company, now known as Sonoco Products Company. Even with his own successes in business, Coker and his family were unable to convince other business owners in the area to build a railroad spur and so they decided to build their own which became the Hartsville Railroad and was completed in 1889.

The railroad would eventually come to be a part of the South Carolina Central Railroad and the Southern Novelty Company and Carolina Fiber Company merged to form Sonoco Products Company. Sonoco would eventually expand to a global scale and become a Fortune 500 company.

Historic sites[edit]

All of these locations are listed on the National Register of Historical Places

City Government[edit]

The City of Hartsville operates in the Council-Manager form of government. City Council, Hartsville’s legislative body, is made of a mayor elected at large, as well as six council members elected in single member districts, with one member elected by his/her peers as Mayor Pro-Tem. Regular meetings take place on the second Tuesday of the month.[10]

City Hall is located at 133 W. Carolina Avenue in a building previously occupied by the Bank Of America. The new city hall opened in mid-2013. It is praised by the citizens of Hartsville as a significant upgrade for the downtown area.

The new City Hall at 133 W. Carolina Avenue in downtown Hartsville.


The public schools in Hartsville are governed by the Darlington County School District.

Public Primary education[edit]

  • Carolina Elementary
  • Hartsville Middle
  • North Hartsville Elementary
  • Southside Early Childhood Center
  • Thornwell School of the Arts
  • Washington St. Elementary
  • West Hartsville Elementary

Public Secondary education[edit]

Higher education[edit]

Coker College, a private baccalaureate-granting institution, is located in Hartsville. Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts, as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review.

Private Schools[edit]

  • Thomas Hart Academy (grades 3K-8) is located in Hartsville but is outside of the city limits.
  • Students from Hartsville attend other private schools in the area including Emmanuel Christian School (grades 2K-12), Robert E. Lee Academy (grades 3K-12), and Trinity Byrnes Collegiate School (grades 7-12).

Notable people[edit]

Points of interest[edit]


Hartsville is located at 34°22′10″N 80°4′51″W / 34.36944°N 80.08083°W / 34.36944; -80.08083 (34.369474, -80.080783).[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.0 square miles (13 km2), of which 5.0 square miles (13 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.60%) is water.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, considering primary zip code (29550), the population of Hartsville in 2000 was 31,313.[12] As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 556 people, 44 households, and 235 families residing in the city. The population density was 317 people per square mile (585.8/km²). There were 499 housing units at an average density of 702.4 per square mile (271.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.00% White, 42.47% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.

There were 744 households, of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% were married couples living together, 22.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 78.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $16,063, and the median income for a family was $18,877. Males had a median income of $12,295 versus $12,583 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,318. About 21.6% of families and 25.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.5% of those under age 18 and 21.7% of those age 65 or over.


Major employers in the area include Sonoco Products Company, Nucor Corporations steel mill, Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, and Duke Energy's H. B. Robinson Nuclear Generating Station


External links[edit]