Hartsville, South Carolina

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Hartsville, South Carolina
Downtown Hartsville, SC
Downtown Hartsville, SC
Official logo of Hartsville, South Carolina
"A small town with a big heart" [1]
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; -80.08083
Latitude and Longitude:

34°22′10″N 80°4′51″W / 34.36944°N 80.08083°W / 34.36944; -80.08083
CountryUnited States
State South Carolina
County Darlington
Town of HartsvilleDecember 11, 1891
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • MayorMel Pennington
 • Total6.39 sq mi (16.55 km2)
 • Land5.92 sq mi (15.34 km2)
 • Water0.47 sq mi (1.21 km2)
217 ft (66 m)
 ( 2010)
 • Total7,764
 • Estimate 
(2019) [3]
 • Density1,273.34/sq mi (491.66/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 ( Eastern (EST))
 • Summer ( DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
29550, 29551
Area code(s) 843, 854
FIPS code45-32560 [4]
GNIS feature ID1231367 [5]
Website www.hartsvillesc.gov

Hartsville is the largest city in Darlington County, South Carolina, United States. It was chartered on December 11, 1891. The population was 7,764 at the 2010 census. [6] Hartsville was chosen as an All-America City in 1996 and again in 2016. Hartsville has also been a National Arbor Day Foundation Tree City since 1986.

Hartsville is home of Coker College and a branch of Florence–Darlington Technical College. It is also the home of the South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics, a public boarding high school.

The city is served by the Hartsville Regional Airport.

Hartsville is home to several major corporations including Sonoco Products Company, Duke Energy's H. B. Robinson Nuclear Generating Station, Novolex, and Stingray Boats.


The area surrounding Hartsville was once home to several Native American tribes, including the Pee Dee, Catawba, Chicora, Edisto, Sane, and Chicora-Waccamaw, who inhabited the region until European settlers arrived.

Hartsville's first settlement began around 1760. The town is named for Captain Thomas E. Hart, who eventually owned most of the land in the community. Hart started a successful mercantile business, but lost his business and his land during the economic depression of 1837–1838.

In 1845, Thomas Hart's son, John Lide Hart, purchased 495 acres (200 ha) 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 he had learned at Harvard College. This was interrupted by the start of the Civil War, in which he became a major for the Confederacy. He returned to Hartsville injured and found that his plantation was in shambles. He planned 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 established 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, so they decided to build their own, which became the Hartsville Railroad, completed in 1889.

The Town of Hartsville received its first charter on December 11, 1891, during a period of bustling economic activity and growth. [7]

The railroad eventually became part of the South Carolina Central Railroad, and the Southern Novelty Company and Carolina Fiber Company merged to form Sonoco Products Company. Sonoco eventually expanded to a global scale and became a Fortune 500 company.

Historic sites

Locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

Points of interest


Hartsville is located in northwestern Darlington County at 34°22′10″N 80°4′51″W / 34.36944°N 80.08083°W / 34.36944; -80.08083 (34.369474, −80.080783). [8] U.S. Route 15 bypasses the city to the southeast; it leads northeast 17 miles (27 km) to Society Hill and 47 miles (76 km) to Laurinburg, North Carolina, and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Sumter. South Carolina Highway 151 bypasses the city to the southwest; it leads southeast 14 miles (23 km) to Darlington, the county seat, and northwest 14 miles (23 km) to McBee. Columbia, the state capital, is 70 miles (110 km) to the southwest.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Hartsville has a total area of 6.2 square miles (16.0 km2), of which 5.7 square miles (14.8 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km2), or 7.11%, is water. [6] Prestwood Lake, an impoundment on Black Creek, is on the northern border of the city. Black Creek is part of the Pee Dee River watershed.


Hartsville enjoys a mild climate year-round. It experiences 213 sunny days on average. The number of days with measurable precipitation is 106, and the city receives about 46 inches (1,200 mm) of rainfall per year. The average low is 31 °F (−1 °C) in January, and the average high is 92 °F (33 °C) in July. During the winter months, Hartsville can receive snowfall. [9]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)7,542 [3]−2.9%
U.S. Decennial Census [10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Hartsville in 2010 was 7,764. [11] As of the census [4] of 2010, there were 7,764 people and 3,225 households residing in the city. The population density was 1356.6 people per square mile. There were 3,704 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 51% White, 46.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.5% Hispanic or Latino, and 1% two or more races.

There were 3,225 households, of which 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.5% were married couples living together, 22.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.2% were non-families. 38.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.3% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 20 to 24, 10.7% from 25 to 34, 11.6% from 35 to 44, 14.4% from 45 to 54, 6.8% from 55–59, 3.1% from 60–64, and 18.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. The population is made up of 3,640 (46.6%) males and 4,166 (53.4%) females.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,242, and the median income for a family was $48,594. Full-time, year-round working males had a median income of $35,333 versus $30,013 for full-time, year-round working females. The per capita income for the city was $21,815. About 15.3% of families and 22.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.8% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.


Major employers in the area include Sonoco Products Company, Nucor Corporation, Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, Novolex, Stingray Boats, North Industrial Machine, and Duke Energy's H. B. Robinson Nuclear Generating Station.

At 4.3%, the unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average of 3.9%. Job growth over the next decade is expected to be approximately 27.4% which is significantly lower than the US average of 33.5%. The household median income is $29,276/year which is significantly lower than the national median income of $53,482/year. [12]

Arts and culture

There are many festivals, parades, and other events that residents of Hartsville look forward to each year.

Annual events

  • Screen on the Green is a summer event in which the city sets up a 25-foot (7.6 m) screen on the grounds of Burry Park and shows licensed movies. This is a family event that is free to the public. The Screen on the Green is sometimes held outside of its normal season, such as during the holidays. [13]
  • RenoFest is an annual bluegrass festival held at the Centre Theatre in downtown Hartsville. The festival is held to honor South Carolina native and bluegrass legend, Don Reno. [14]
  • The "Hartsville Christmas Parade: a Miracle on Carolina Avenue" is an annual parade held in December of each year where members of numerous local and regional schools, businesses, and other organizations parade down the main street of the city. Santa Claus is usually found at the end of the parade as a symbol of Christmas coming soon. [15]
  • The Annual Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting is held at Burry Park. There are musical and dance performances, and the Santa Mailbox, in which local children can submit letters to Santa Claus, is unveiled at this event. [16]


Hartsville has several parks within the city.

  • Byerly Park is a 93-acre (38 ha) multi-use recreational park. The park has six soccer fields, eight softball/baseball fields, two football fields, six tennis courts, an eight-lane 400-meter track and field facility, twelve horseshoe pits, two playgrounds, a picnic area, concession stands, and 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. [17]
  • Burry Park is an open green space in the heart of Hartsville. It is home to the Hartsville Veterans Memorial and Veterans Walk and the Tales on the Town bronze sculpture. [18] Public restrooms are available. Burry Park hosts Hartsville's "Screen on the Green" film series, festivals, and other events. [19]
  • Centennial Park was developed for the 1981 centennial of Hartsville's incorporation. The park features covered sitting areas as well as a large fountain. During the Christmas season it hosts a large metal-frame lit Christmas tree. [20]
  • Lawton Park and Pavilion is located on 3.5 acres (1.4 ha) of land along Prestwood Lake. Lawton Park offers tennis courts, picnic shelters, a boardwalk and pier, and playgrounds. It is home to the Lawton Park Pavilion, a historic 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. The playground at Lawton Park was replaced in 2015 to make it safer and more accessible. [21]
  • 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 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. [22]
  • 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 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, fountains and park benches. [23]
  • The Hartsville Dog Park is an as-of-yet unbuilt but planned dog park which the city will begin construction on in the near future. Plans for this park were unveiled in early 2016. Land for this park has been acquired by the city at the corners of Coker Avenue and Railroad Avenue, near The Vista. Dogs will be allowed to roam freely without a leash and the park will be divided by fencing into two separate areas: one for large dogs and one for small dogs. The city will require that owners provide proof of current vaccinations for their pets in order to utilize this public space. The park will also be equipped with a washing station, covered benches, and waste bag receptacles. At present there is a fenced-in area at Byerly park for dogs. There are two sections (big dogs and small dogs) plus a water station and waste bags. [24]

City government and programs

Hartsville has a council–manager government. The city council, Hartsville's legislative body, is made of a mayor who is elected at large, and six council members who are 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. [25] City Hall is located at 100 E Carolina Avenue in a building previously occupied by the Bank of America. The new city hall opened in mid-2013. It has been praised by the citizens of Hartsville as a significant upgrade for the downtown area.

Main Street Hartsville

The Main Street Hartsville program is a partnership of the City of Hartsville, the Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville, and Main Street South Carolina, 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. [26] Main Street Hartsville administers a Sign and Paint grant for local businesses. It also oversees the Hartsville Farmers Market, Start-Up Hartsville, and Hartsville for the Holidays. They periodically hold contests for local businesses.


The public schools in Hartsville are governed by the Darlington County School District. For the 2019–2020 school year, the district approved a fiscal budget of $95,383,423.13. [27] The district-wide student-to-teacher ratio is about 16:1 [28] and the district spends about $14,178 per student. [29]

Public primary education

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

Public secondary education

Private schools

  • Thomas Hart Academy [30] (grades 2K-8) is located 5 miles (8 km) south of the city and has a Hartsville mailing address.
  • Emmanuel Christian School (grades 2K-12), located just east of downtown Hartsville.
  • Students from Hartsville attend other private schools in the area, Robert E. Lee Academy (grades 2K-12), and Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School [31] (grades 7–12).

Higher education

Coker University, a private, baccalaureate-granting institution, is located in Hartsville. It offers a 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. In its 2016 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Coker as the 20th Best College in the South, and the 15th Best College for Veterans. [32] The Princeton Review, for the 11th consecutive year, named Coker a "Best College in the Southeast" in 2016. [33]

Florence–Darlington Technical College, based in nearby Florence, South Carolina, maintains a satellite campus in Hartsville.


Hartsville has a public library, a branch of the Darlington County Library System. [34]


Hartsville is served by several local, regional, and state media outlets. The Hartsville Messenger, an affiliate of SCNow, is the local newspaper, with The State serving as a source for statewide news. WBTW News 13, WPDE-TV News 15, and WFXB Fox TV are the news channels that serve the Hartsville area as well as the entire Pee Dee and Grand Strand regions.


Downtown Hartsville and most neighborhoods in Hartsville are designed around a standard grid layout whose use began when the city first developed. However, in newly developed sections of the city, such as around Hartsville Crossing, the road layout is less orthodox.

Hartsville is located 14 miles (23 km) north of Interstate 20 and 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Interstate 95.


The City of Hartsville maintains garbage and recycling services for residents within the city limits, as well as water services. Electric services are provided by Duke Energy and Pee Dee Electric Cooperative. Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&T, and Spectrum serve television and internet needs.


Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center is a large medical complex located on the edge of Hartsville. The hospital has 116 beds available for patients, not including those located in the hospital's Level III capable trauma/ER unit.

Notable people


  1. ^ Hartsville official website. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Hartsville city, South Carolina". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "History of Hartsville". City of Hartsville - Visitors. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  9. ^ Hartsville, South Carolina Climate. Bestplaces.net. Retrieved on April 29, 2016.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "Quick Facts". U.S. Census. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015.
  12. ^ Hartsville, South Carolina Economy. Bestplaces.net. Retrieved on December 11, 2019.
  13. ^ City of Hartsville – Screen on the Green. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  14. ^ RenoFest Bluegrass Festival 2016 – Hartsville SC. Bluegrassfestivalguide.com. Retrieved on April 29, 2016.
  15. ^ City of Hartsville – Hartsville Christmas Parade. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 29, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title ( link)
  17. ^ City of Hartsville – Byerly Park. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  18. ^ City of Hartsville – Tales on the Town. Hartsvillesc.gov (February 15, 2017). Retrieved on 2016-08-16
  19. ^ City of Hartsville – Burry Park. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  20. ^ City of Hartsville – Centennial Park. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  21. ^ City of Hartsville – Lawton Park. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  22. ^ City of Hartsville – Pride Park. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  23. ^ City of Hartsville – The Vista. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  24. ^ "newsandpressonline.net". www.newsandpressonline.net. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  25. ^ City of Hartsville – Government. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  26. ^ City of Hartsville – Main Street Hartsville. Hartsvillesc.gov (April 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2016-04-29.
  27. ^ Second Read Draft (June 10, 2019) Darlington County School District Proposed Budget 2019-2020. Darlington County School District. Retrieved on December 11, 2019.
  28. ^ Darlington County School District (N.D.) Teachers: Student-Teacher Ratio. Niche.com. Retrieved on December 11, 2019.
  29. ^ SC Department of Education (September 30, 2019) Revenue Per Pupil Report by School District for FY 2019-20 Excluding Bond Revenue. SC Dept of Education. Retrieved on December 11, 2019.
  30. ^ "Thomas Hart Academy". Thomas Hart Academy. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  31. ^ "Private School Florence SC - Trinity-Byrnes". trinitybyrnes.org. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  32. ^ http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/coker-college-3427/overall-rankings
  33. ^ "The Princeton Review Once Again Names Coker a Top Southeastern School - Coker College". coker.edu. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  34. ^ "South Carolina libraries and archives". SCIWAY. Retrieved June 8, 2019.

External links