A History of Camden

Chronological listing

Prepared by staff of the Camden Archives and Museum, March 19, 2013

1700s | 1800s | 1900s | 2000s


1730    King George II ordered Royal Governor Robert Johnson to establish townships in South Carolina

1731    Governor Johnson issued orders to survey eleven townships including Fredericksburg (later known as Pine Tree Hill, renamed Camden in 1768)

1733    James St. Julian hired by resolution from Royal Council to survey township on Wateree River (will become Pine Tree Hill, renamed Camden in 1768)

1750    Arrival of Irish Quakers under Samuel Wyly, 1750-1751

1756    State begins appropriating money to make the Wateree River navigable

1757    St. Mark’s Parish established in northern portion of Craven County; includes what is now Camden plus radius of approx. 50 miles

1758    Arrival of Joseph Kershaw from Charleston; establishment of a town at Pine Tree Hill (later Camden)

1760    Birth of first white person in Camden — Samuel Mathis born March 22, 1760

1763    King Haiglar slain by raiding Shawnee Indians (August 30)

1768    Area of town known as “Log Town” granted to Joseph Kershaw (area on both sides of Broad Street, between DeKalb and Chesnut)

1768    Pine Tree Hill name changed to Camden to honor Lord Camden, champion of colonial rights

1768    Statute created Camden District; included Clarendon, Sumter, Lee, Richland, Fairfield, Chester, York, Lancaster, and Kershaw Co.

1769    Circuit Court established in Camden (one of seven in South Carolina) — to serve all counties in this area

1771    Courthouse completed in Camden (corner of Broad and King Streets)–burned in 1779

1771    Jail completed in Camden (corner of Broad and King Streets, opposite Courthouse)–damaged by fire in 1779

1772    First session of Court for Camden District held

1772    Beaver Creek Meeting House built in Liberty Hill (later torn down and rebuilt on Lancaster stage road)

1774    Citizens receive permission to hold bi-annual fairs at Camden; first fairs in S.C. (held on east side of Fair St., near Bull and Meeting)

1774    Presbyterian Church building constructed near present-day Quaker Cemetery; demolished by British to build barracks

1775    Baptist services held for first time at Camden; Rev. Richard Furman, Sr. presided

1777    Powder Magazine constructed on grounds of present-day Historic Camden; destroyed by British in 1781

1779    Fire damages Courthouse and Jail

1780    Agnes of Glasgow died (February 12)

1780    Battle of Camden; Baron DeKalb mortally wounded (August 16)

1780    British forces occupy Camden (June 1, 1780–May 10, 1781)

1780    Joseph Kershaw builds Arsenal on Mulberry Street (just below Wateree Street); dismantled in 1794

1781    Battle of Hobkirk Hill and subsequent withdrawal of British troops from Camden (April 25)

1781    Andrew Jackson held prisoner by British in Camden jail

1781    Much of the town, including courthouse and jail, destroyed by fire as Lord Francis Rawdon and British troops leave town (May 9)

1785    Camden District subdivided into Lancaster, York, Chester, Fairfield, Richland, Claremont, and Clarendon Counties

1785    First form of municipal government created in Camden–Commissioners of Streets and Market

1785    Presbyterian Church building constructed, near present-day Quaker Cemetery (ca. 1785); building destroyed before 1804

1785    First known recorded temperature, kept by Richard Lloyd Champion in June-July; 91 degrees on July 7 and 64 degrees on July 1

1786    Camden Orphan Society organized (July 4); incorporated February 27, 1788

1787    First Methodist services held in Camden; Bishop Francis Asbury presided (April 4)

1788    Camden Orphan Society acquires 8 lots facing Campbell, York, and Gordon Streets, to build Orphan Houses and Academy

1789    Earliest recorded duel, between Jacob Brown and Thomas Baker

1791    Richard Champion, well-known English potter, dies in Camden

1791    Charter issued to incorporate the Town of Camden–Town Council form of government created, with intendant and 4 wardens

1791    Kershaw County created from Camden District; Camden named county seat

1791    President George Washington visits Camden on his Southern tour (May 25-26)

1791    Joseph Kershaw dies at his home (December 28)

1791    Camden Orphan Society opens its first school in Camden (located on land on Campbell, York, and Gordon Streets); used until 1805

1791    Jail rebuilt at corner of Broad and King Streets (destroyed by fire in 1812)

1792    Town lottery introduced, to raise funds to construct a church in Camden

1792    Courthouse in Camden rebuilt–corner of Broad and King Streets; torn down to build Mills Courthouse

1793    French Minister Edmond Charles Genet visits Camden (April 24)

1794    Joseph Kershaw moved Arsenal from Mulberry Street to corner of Fair and Bull Streets–destroyed after 1830

1798    County courts abolished; Circuit Courts established in each county, thereafter termed Districts

1798    Earliest known ordinance regarding fire prevention; property owners required to have well, good bucket, and ladder

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1802    First of the Camden (horse) Races held (January)

1802    First known printing of a newspaper in Camden (May)

1802    Methodist Church constructed in Camden, on King Street between Church and Campbell (built between 1800-1804)

1805    Camden Library Society established; books housed in the old Market (corner of Broad and King Streets); Society disappears in 1852

1805    Camden Orphan Society home and school operates in the Joseph Kershaw house (1805-1822)

1805    Presbyterian Church of Camden, called “Bethesda,” organized (July 6)

1805    Presbyterian Church building constructed, near present-day Quaker Cemetery

1809    Baptist Church building completed, corner of Market and York (bought by City ca. 1835 ; used as theatre until torn down/burned in 1850)

1810    Camden Orphan Society establishes a Free School (discontinued in 1812)

1812    Two main town squares, including the original town market at corner of Bull and Market Streets, destroyed by fire (October 23)

1813    Episcopal services held in Courthouse by Rev. Andrew Fowler; he was withdrawn in 1817

1814    Baptist Church of Camden incorporated (December 21)

1816    Town market built at site of old jail (corner of Broad and King Streets) — sold in 1859

1816    Camden Jockey Club organized

1816    First mention of the Camden Independent Fire Company

1816    Sidewalks on lower Broad Street paved, from Bull Street to Big Ditch

1816    Camden Gazette begins publication; becomes the Camden Gazette & Mercantile Advertiser in 1818

1818    First race course in Camden; ran around the blocks bounded by Lyttleton, DeKalb, Mill, and Laurens Streets

1818    Meeting held to organize “Wateree & Santee Steamboat Co.” to run boats from Camden to Charleston; first boat runs in 1835

1818    Establishment of the Kirkwood area of Camden by John Kershaw (north of Chesnut Street)

1819    First Sunday school organized in Camden (non-denominational; held at Court House)

1819    Sidewalks on Broad Street paved, from Big Ditch to DeKalb Street

1822    Establishment of first bank in Camden (branch of the S. C. State Bank); falls into bankruptcy in 1865

1822    Bethesda Presbyterian Church constructed on DeKalb Street–designed by Robert Mills; remodeled 1890

1822    Two Academies (one for males; one for females) built on DeKalb Street (near Presbyterian Church) by Orphan Society

1822    The Camden Chronicle begins publication; name changed to The Southern Chronicle in 1824

1825    Steeple over Town Market completed (corner of Broad and King Streets)

1825    Old Town Clock and bell arrive from Philadelphia–placed in steeple over town market (corner of Broad and King Streets)

1825    General Lafayette visits Camden, lays cornerstone of DeKalb Monument in front of Bethesda Presbyterian Church (March)

1826    Mill’s Courthouse (Kershaw District Courthouse) constructed in Camden (re-modeled in 1847)

1826    King Haiglar weathervane raised over the Camden Market (corner of Broad and King Streets)

1826    The Camden Journal founded by Charles A. Bullard; publication suspended in March, 1837

1827    First time Wateree River known to have frozen over (January 3)

1828    First bridge over Wateree River at Camden completed [washed away in flood, 1831]

1828    New Methodist Church building constructed on West DeKalb Street, facing Church Street (sold to black congregation in 1872)

1828    Camden Debating Club organized

1829    Independent Fire Engine Company incorporated

1829    Great Fire destroys Camden’s commercial district–85 buildings burned (November 23)

1829    Camden Anti-Dueling Society organized (following death of Henry G. Nixon in duel with Thomas A. Hopkins); re-organized ca. 1878

1830    Camden Library’s collection purchased by Camden Orphan Society; moved to one of their academies on DeKalb Street

1830    Hook and Ladder Fire Company formed

1830    Episcopal congregation formed and incorporated under title of “Grace Church”

1831    $300,000 worth of damage to crops by unprecedented freshet; washes away 1828 Wateree Bridge

1831    Wateree Bridge Company begins operating ferry; discontinued in 1838

1832    Grace Church constructed in Camden (west side of Broad Street, below DeKalb)–burned in 1867

1832    Baptist revival results in 32 baptisms and organization of Sunday School

1833    Stella Phelps and Miss Mallory open school for girls in home of J.K. Douglas (Lyttleton Street, near York Street)

1833    Hydraulion Fire Company formed

1835    Presbyterian Church constructed at Liberty Hill

1835    First Presbyterian Manse mentioned, northeast corner of Mill and DeKalb Streets

1835    First steamboat arrives in Camden; the “Cheraw,” from Charleston

1836    Bank of Camden established, corner of Broad and Rutledge Streets (October); falls into bankruptcy in 1865

1836    Dedication of new Baptist Church on Broad Street, just above DeKalb; became Kershaw Guards Armory in 1907 (demolished 1919)

1838    Dekalb Cotton Factory established (burned 1855)

1838    Pine Grove Academy opens in Hampton Park; first used by Orphan Society, later by Leslie McCandless (demolished 1909)

1838    Bridge over Wateree River rebuilt (replaced ferry that had operated since first bridge washed away in 1831)–burned by Sherman, 1865

1839    Leslie McCandless opens private school in Camden

1839    The Camden Journal newspaper restarts publication (suspended 1861, when proprietor/editor T.J. Warren went to war)

1840    Formation of the Dekalb Rifle Guards

1841    Wateree Agriculture Society organized at Swift Creek Baptist Church

1843    The DeKalb Lyceum incorporated; composed of members of DeKalb Rifle Guards and the Alarm Corps (who patrolled during Christmas)

1843    Collection of Orphan Society Library loaned to DeKalb Lyceum; moved to hall of DeKalb Rifle Guards

1844    Library collection returned to Orphan Society by DeKalb Lyceum

1847    Death of last Revolutionary soldier in Kershaw District; Maj. Samuel Jones dies at his home on Lynches’ Creek

1847    Mills Courthouse remodeled inside and out; six portico columns replaced with four Doric ones

1848    Railroad reaches Camden (November 1)–branch of the South Carolina Railroad

1848    Infirmary for Chronic Diseases formed by Dr. W.J. McKain and Dr. C.J. Shannon (lasted only a short time)

1849    The Cadets of Temperance organized, for boys between 12-18 years

1853    Lecture room added to Baptist Church on Broad Street, for use of black Sunday School

1854    McCandless School opens on Laurens Street; discontinued 1861

1856    Col. J.P. Dickinson monument erected in Monument Square, at Dickinson’s burial site

1857    Presbyterian Church acquires Manse, corner of Fair and Union Streets (later sold to Camden Hospital Association)

1859    Town Market relocated to west side of Broad Street, a little north of Rutledge

1859    King Haiglar weathervane, town clock, and steeple moved to new town market (near corner of Broad and Rutledge)

1859    State’s only Episcopal Theological Seminary opens on Broad Street opposite Bishop Davis House (burns 1865)

1859    Charles H. Peck begins operating Peck’s Academy for boys, in one of the Orphan Society school buildings; closed in 1863

1860    Boating accident on Boykin Mill Pond takes 24 lives (May 5)

1862    Richard Kirkland becomes hero at Battle of Fredericksburg by giving enemy troops water (December 14)

1862    Confederate Hospital open in Camden, in old hotel on corner of Broad and King Streets; George Rogers Todd Clark a surgeon there

1864    The Camden Journal newspaper again begins publication as the Camden Weekly Journal

1865    Kershaw-Cornwallis House destroyed by fire (February 24)

1865    Fires set by Gen. William T. Sherman’s troops destroy east side of Broad Street between DeKalb and Rutledge (February 24)

1865    Camden occupied by Federal troops under Gen. William T. Sherman (February 24-25)

1865    Battle of Boykin’s Mill (April 18)

1865    First issue of Camden town currency (May)

1865    Town Council relieved of duty during Federal occupation (June 14th); resumed offices on November 1

1865    Camden occupied by Federal troops (June 14, 1865-March 24, 1866)

1865    Wateree River Bridge burned by Sherman’s troops; Bridge Co. begins operating ferry (until 1872)

1866    Mt. Moriah Baptist Church organized; Rev. Monroe Boykin first pastor

1867    Episcopal Church on Broad Street burns (May 29)

1867    Land on DeKalb Street, between Gordon and Campbell, granted to B.F. Whittemore for Negro school (later Jackson School)

1868    Pine Grove Academy leased to Episcopal congregation after destruction of their Church (used until 1872)

1868    Public school system created by State Constitution

1872    Methodist Church (W. DeKalb and Church Streets) sold to black congregation

1872    Camden Temperence Society formed (August)

1872    Legislation passed to include Kirkwood in city limits (city limits reduced to exclude Kirkwood in 1878; again increased in 1906)

1872    Pine Grove Academy rented to School Trustees of Kershaw County as free school for girls

1872    Pine Grove Academy sold to Methodist congregation; converted into place of worship

1872    Wooden bridge over the Wateree River completed (State deemed it a hazard and ordered its destruction in 1878)

1873    Consecration of new Episcopal Church, corner of Laurens and Lyttleton Streets

1874    First street lighting in Camden — 20 gasoline lamps installed

1874    Fire destroys west side of Broad Street, between DeKalb and Rutledge Streets

1875    Fire destroys buildings in area of Broad and Rutledge Streets

1877    End of Reconstruction and redemption of local currency

1877    Fire destroys area around Broad and Rutledge Streets

1878    Bridge Company operates ferry across Wateree River, until 1883 when a new steel bridge is completed

1879    Dedication of Methodist Church on Lyttleton Street

1880    Cash-Shannon duel (July 5); William M. Shannon killed by Col. E.B.C. Cash–last duel in South Carolina

1881    First Y.M.C.A. organized in Camden

1882    Legislature passes law against roaming cows and other stock

1883    Confederate Monument erected at intersection of Broad and Laurens Streets (moved to Monument Square in 1949)

1883    Steel bridge constructed over the Wateree River (raised 5′ in 1902 to protect it from damage during floods)–washed away 1908

1883    Enterprise Building and Loan Association organized

1884    The Wateree Messenger begins publication

1884    Hobkirk Inn opened for tourists by F.W. Eldredge on north Lyttleton Street (sold in 1940 and converted to private residence)

1885    The Graded School system of education partially inaugurated in Camden

1886    Camden Opera House completed, corner Broad and Rutledge Streets; (remodeled in 1934)

1886    Town Market constructed on Broad Street, one lot south of Opera House; demolished in 1901

1886    King Haiglar weathervane and town clock moved to town tower at Camden Opera House (corner of Broad and Rutledge Streets)

1887    Mather Academy (later Boylan-Haven-Mather Academy) opens; corner of DeKalb and Campbell Streets

1887    “Three C’s” railroad line constructed; Southern Railway took it over in 1902

1888    New Bank of Camden chartered, first since the Civil War (closed in 1933)

1888    The Camden Chronicle begins publication (May)

1888    Town of Kershaw incorporated

1889    Upton Court opened by Mrs. C.J. Perkins on Mill Street, at the foot of Laurens Street; became the Court Inn in 1900 (razed 1964)

1890    Camden Cotton Mill established; reorganized as Hermitage Cotton Mill in 1905

1890    New charter issued establishing the City of Camden, with Mayor and City Council form of government

1892    Fire destroys parts of downtown Camden (December)

1893    Black school building replaced with larger frame building, when school was taken into the Graded School system

1893    Orphan Society Schools (DeKalb St.) and McCandless School (Laurens St.) deeded to Trustees of Camden Graded Schools

1894    McCandless School building moved to opposite side of Laurens Street

1894    Dedication of Camden Graded School on Laurens Street; converted to Camden High School in 1922

1896    First telephone service in Camden

1897    Camden Water, Light, and Ice Company established (furnished water and electricity to the city); power house burned May, 1902

1898    Camden’s first polo team established

1899    Seaboard Railroad line established through Camden

1899    Farmers and Merchants Bank established in Camden; closed in 1903

1899    Most extreme cold temperature ever recorded: -12 degrees below zero

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1900    Dekalb Cotton Mill (later Pine Creek Mill; later Wateree; later Kendall) established

1900    Sunday School annex added to Methodist Church on Lyttleton Street

1900    Northwestern Railway builds line connecting Camden with Sumter; later owned by Atlantic Coast Line

1900    Camden Library Association begins subscription library on corner of Broad and DeKalb Streets; destroyed by fire in 1912

1900    First car comes to Camden (in a parade for Field & Hanson’s Minstrel Show)

1900    Town of Bethune chartered

1901    New jail constructed between DeKalb and Lafayette Streets (later becomes County Health Department)

1901    Infirmary built adjoining the Laurens Street home of Dr. John W. Corbett

1902    Fire destroys part of the square on the west side of Broad Street, between DeKalb and Rutledge

1902    Cotton Seed Oil Company built; branch of Southern Cotton Oil Company

1903    Kirkwood Hotel opens in Camden on west Greene Street (closed 1943)

1903    Leitner property on Monument Square purchased and used as Camden High School (until 1920)

1903    Sacred Heart (Catholic) Church constructed on Lyttleton Street [now the Jewish Synagogue]

1904    Camden Historical Society organized

1904    Commercial Savings Bank and Trust Company opens (later Commercial Savings Bank; later First National Bank of Camden)

1904    Lafayette Hall burns

1905    Courthouse built on site of Lafayette Hall, corner of Broad and Lafayette Streets

1906    City limits again extended to include Kirkwood

1907    First movie theater in Camden (set up by C.E. Boynton)

1908    Grace Church remodeled; front and corner tower added

1908    Town of Blaney incorporated (January 23)–name changed to Elgin in 1962

1908    Dedication of new Baptist Church building, corner of Broad and Lafayette Streets (February 2)

1909    Pine Grove Academy (located in Hampton Park, next to Methodist Parsonage) demolished

1910    New bridge over Wateree River opens; free to traffic (September 15); washed away 1916

1910    Camden-Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce founded

1911    Last public hanging in Kershaw County

1911    Pantheon monument in Rectory Square dedicated (May 10)

1911    Loan & Savings Bank established

1911    Richard Kirkland Fountain installed in intersection of Broad and DeKalb Streets (later moved to Hampton Park)

1912    Free mail delivery begins in Camden (June)

1913    Presbyterian Manse, corner of Fair and Union Streets, sold to Camden Hospital Association

1913    Camden Hospital opens, corner of Fair and Union Streets (December 1); main building destroyed by fire in 1921

1914    City of Camden begins providing electricity from its new public power plant (August 18)

1914    Camden Milling Company organized (corn meal and hominy are main products)

1915    Camden Post Office building constructed, corner of Broad and Dekalb Streets (renovated 1965)

1915    St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Lyttleton Street consecrated [now Our Lady of Perpetual Help]

1915    Camden City Library built with Carnegie funds, at 1314 Broad Street

1916    Catawba-Wateree flood; Wateree Bridge washed away (July 16)–replaced by ferry

1919    Wateree Dam constructed and Lake Wateree created; Wateree Power Company builds power plant

1919    Murder of Robert Latta, City of Camden policeman

1919    First private plane lands on polo field (November 14)

1920    Wooden toll bridge across Wateree River opens; replaces ferry (February 3)

1920    Camden High School moves from Monument Square to Reynolds House (facing Lyttleton, Laurens, and Fair Streets); burned 1921

1921    Camden High School, housed in Reynolds Mansion, burns

1922    Camden Grammar School built on the Reynolds lot, corner of Lyttleton and Laurens Streets [demolished 1982]

1922    Camden Graded School (Laurens Street) converted into High School

1922    Factory School constructed between the two cotton mills

1922    Street-paving program begins in Camden

1922    Kershaw County’s first black lawyer admitted to the bar (Herbert F. McGirt)

1922    New Camden hospital opens on site of 1913 building (corner of Fair and Union Streets)

1923    Brick high school for blacks constructed on DeKalb Street (Jackson High School)

1923    Cleveland School fire in the Charlotte Thompson community (May 17)

1924    Murder at Wateree toll bridge; Smith killed by bridge keeper Owens (December 1)

1926    Ernest Woodward donates land for airport to Camden; airfield later named in his honor

1926    Construction of Highway 97 begins

1929    First Washington’s Birthday Race (steeplechase), held at the new Springdale Racetrack

1929    Camden Airport (Woodward Field) officially opens (November)

1929    Plans announced to build U.S. Highway 1 through Camden

1930    First running of the Carolina Cup Steeplechase at Springdale Course (March 22)

1930    Associated Charities buys property at 814 Fair Street to set up a children’s home (burned 1942)

1930    County’s first fire observation tower built on Horatio Lloyd’s property north of town

1931    Camden High wins State Football Championship

1932    Fire kills horses and destroys polo stables near the Kirkwood Hotel (February)

1932    State’s first polo game between all-local teams with local mounts played in Camden (September)

1933    Camden celebrates city’s Bicentennial

1933    County’s first Civilian Conservation Corps camp opens near Blaney (July)–named Camp Hilton

1934    Tolls on Wateree River Bridge lifted after the State purchases the bridge from the County (April)

1935    Truck/train wreck at Dusty Bend kills nine members of Jordan and Baker families (August 3)

1936    Camden High School Building (600 Building) constructed on Laurens Street [demolished in 1990’s]

1936    New Jackson High School building constructed on Campbell Street

1936    Camden High wins State Football Championship

1936    Marion duPont Scott purchases land at western end of Chesnut St. to construct race track; becomes one of South’s top mile tracks

1939    Camden Chiefs (amateur baseball club) formed

1939    Hobkirk Inn closes; sold in 1940 and reverts to private residence

1941    Southern Aviation School established at Woodward Field to train British and American pilots (closed August 1944)

1941    Carolina Maneuvers (combat training exercises) held in Kershaw County (Oct. 6-Nov. 29); Kirkwood Hotel used as headquarters

1942    New concrete Wateree River Bridge opens to traffic (May 1)

1942    Children’s Home opens in house on corner of Fair and Laurens Streets (closed 1980s)

1942    New jail constructed on Lafayette Street (early 1940s)

1943    First large-scale parachute jump in U.S. history takes place in Kershaw Co., by Fort Bragg’s 505th Parachute Infantry Reg. (March 29)

1945    Prison camp operates at former Southern Aviation School facilities; several hundred German POWs held (April-December, 1945)

1945    City Transit Company begins bus service in Camden (service ended in 1963)

1946    Camden Jaycees established (Camden Junior Chamber of Commerce)

1947    Jaclyn Hosiery Mill opens in Camden

1947    Black library opens in section of teen canteen building on Jackson School campus

1947    Kershaw County Library established (operated out of Agricultural Building)

1948    Kershaw County Farmers’ Market opens near Agricultural Building, at corner of DeKalb and Church Streets (June)

1948    Local radio station WACA begins broadcasting in Camden (July 22)

1949    Bernard Baruch Day in Camden (April 27)

1949    Camden Junior High School opens, next to elementary school (moved to High School building on Laurens Street in 1959)

1950    Dupont’s May Plant opens in Kershaw County

1950    New jail constructed behind City Hall (Rutledge Street)

1950    Camden Academy (military prep school) opens in former Southern Aviation School facilities (becomes Camden Military Academy in 1958)

1950    Construction begins on new black library on DeKalb Street (southwest corner of Jackson High School property)

1950    Greyhound bus station opens in Camden (DeKalb Street)

1950    City formally assumes ownership of Camden Airport (May)

1950    Restoration begins on tower atop the Camden Opera House; King Haiglar weathervane restored, and town clock converted to electricity

1951    Ground-breaking for first home in Kirkover Hills (January 1)

1952    Fire at Dupont Company in Lugoff; two chemical tanks exploded

1953    Camden-Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce re-established after two years of non-activity

1954    Kershaw County Historical Society established

1954    New Jackson High School building opens on Chesnut Ferry Road

1954    Tic Tac, a garment assembly plant, opens on Dicey’s Ford Road (December)

1955    Speaks Oil Fire on East Dekalb Street kills two people, Glenn Speaks and J.T. Haynes (August 13)

1956    City Hall constructed on Lyttleton Street at foot of Rutledge Street; includes country’s first drive-in jail

1956    Blaney High School destroyed by fire (June 2)

1956    Kendall Corporation opens new finishing plant in Bethune (expanded in 1962)

1956    Assault on Camden High band director Guy Hutchins, possibly by Ku Klux Klan (December 27)

1956    Y.M.C.A. of Kershaw County established

1958    Camden Academy becomes Camden Military Academy

1958    Kershaw County Memorial Hospital opens on Roberts Street

1959    Camden Memorial Nursing Home opens in the old Camden Hospital (later becomes Karesh Wing)

1959    Camden High School moves into new building on Laurens Street; Camden Jr. High moves into high school building

1962    Blaney, S.C. name changed to Elgin (October 10)–in honor of the Elgin Watch Company

1963    Rhame Arena built on corner of Broad and Bull Streets

1963    Elgin Watch Company’s plant begins production (February)

1963    Fire destroys Hill Packing Company, a pet-food company located at the foot of King Street (April)

1964    Camden High wins State Football Championship

1964    Court Inn on Mill Street demolished after efforts to save the structure failed

1964    Camden High School’s Phelps Auditorium constructed

1964    Nursing school at Kershaw County Hospital graduates its last class of nurses

1965    First desegregation of Camden’s public schools (Project Head Start)

1965    Joseph Kershaw Academy opens (grades 1-8)–closed 1985

1966    Pine Grove Elementary School in Lugoff destroyed by fire (December 25)

1967    Jackson Junior High School opens (opposite Jackson High on Chesnut Ferry Road)

1967    Lugoff Elementary School opens

1967    Kershaw County Courthouse built on site of the 1905 courthouse (corner of Broad and Lafayette Streets)

1967    First jet landing at Woodward Field (February)

1967    Elgin Watch Company plant sold to B.F. Goodrich, a tennis shoe manufacturer

1967    Formation of the Camden District Heritage Foundation (May)

1967    Harwicke Chemical Company breaks ground for chemical manufacturing plant near Elgin (September)

1968    Kershaw County Vocational Center opens near airport (later becomes ATEC)

1968    Howard F. Speaks Bridge over Wateree River dedicated (April)

1968    Blaney Drag Strip opens (Spring)

1969    Pine Tree Hill School burned (February 2)

1969    Lugoff Fire Department begins operation (January 1)

1970    Watershed rights in Peck Woods donated to the City of Camden by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lloyd

1970    First running of the Colonial Cup (November 14)

1970    Fire at Hatfield Fireworks, US Hwy 1 North, Camden; Carl Hatfield and his son Johnny killed; other family injured (December 17)

1970    Historic Camden opens

1970    Camden High School and Jackson High School consolidated (Laurens Street)

1970    Camden Jr. High and Jackson Jr. High consolidate into Camden Middle School (Chesnut Ferry Road); moves to Laurens St. in 1992

1970    Lugoff-Elgin High School constructed (consolidates with Blaney School)

1970    Wateree School in Lugoff becomes Lugoff-Elgin Middle School

1970    Jackson Elementary School becomes Jackson School, a districtwide special services school

1971    John Carl West inaugurated as Governor of South Carolina

1972    Karesh Wing (long-term care) at Kershaw County Memorial Hospital dedicated (March 19)

1972    City builds Walter M. Crowe Animal Shelter on Fair Street

1973    Kershaw County Library opens at 1304 Broad Street; county, city, and black libraries merged

1973    Development of N.R. Goodale State Park

1974    Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County established

1974    Interstate #20 completed in Kershaw County

1974    Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority created

1975    Camden Archives opens

1975    First Catfish Stomp held in Elgin

1976    North Central High School opens on Lockhart Road

1977    John Carl West appointed Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

1977    Camden Junior Welfare League holds its first Candlelight Tour of Homes

1978    Town of Kershaw annexed to Lancaster County

1979    Montessori preschool program begins at Joseph Kershaw Academy; later moved to Battleship Road

1980    City obtains $1 million grant from UDAG; money loaned to Camden Forest Products/New South to build plant

1980    Dialysis Center at Kershaw County Hospital opens

1981    Kershaw County Hospital remodeled

1981    Jackson School building on Campbell Street demolished

1982    Downtown mural painted by Blue Sky

1982    Camden Grammar School, corner of Lyttleton and Laurens Streets, demolished [built 1922]

1983    Airport runways resurfaced

1983    Carroll K. Bassett Memorial Building at Fine Arts Center completed

1983    Historic Camden made an affiliate of National Parks Service

1983    Camden celebrates 250th Anniversary of its founding

1983    Boylan-Haven-Mather Academy announces its closing

1983    Marion duPont Scott donates Springdale Race Course and $1 million to State to ensure continuation of horse racing

1984    Tornado hits upper part of Kershaw County (March 28)

1985    Fire on Red Fox Road; homes and 2,000 acres destroyed; eight horses killed (March 12)

1988    Brook Benton dies (April 9)

1989    Hurricane Hugo hits Camden (September 22)

1989    First Chicken Strut takes place in Bethune

1990    Kendall Mill Dam collapses after heavy rains (October 10)

1990    Camden High wins State Football Championship

1991    Amtrak Train wreck in Lugoff (July 31)

1991    Historic Camden changed to Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site

1992    Camden High School moves from Laurens Street to Erenchlou Drive

1992    Camden Middle School moves to Laurens Street (to old Camden High School)

1992    New Lugoff-Elgin High School building constructed

1993    Boylan-Haven-Mather Academy buildings demolished

1994    Kershaw County Memorial Hospital name changed to Kershaw County Medical Center

1994    First Christmas Parade in Boykin

1995    Daniels Arts Education Building at Fine Arts Center completed

1995    First Market Day and Crafts Fair held at Historic Camden

1996    First Jammin’ in July festival

1998    Larry Doby inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame

1998    First Colonial Christmas celebration at Historic Camden

1998    First Bluejeans, Bluegrass, BBQ & Oysters festival

1998    First Carolina Downhome Blues festival

1999    City of Camden opens water plant near Lake Wateree (May 4)

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2001    Camden High wins State Football Championship

2001    Central Carolina Technical College opens branch campus in downtown Camden

2003    Larry Doby dies (June 18)

2003    Dupont May Plant in Lugoff sold to Invista, Inc.

2005    Kershaw County Farmer’s Market opens in downtown Camden (Church Street, between Broad and Rutledge)

2006    Restoration of Cedars Cemetery

2007    Burns Hardware closes its doors (January)

2007    Redfearn Motor Company purchased by James Ervin

2007    Gang-related shooting of Michael Joseph Smith (December 7)

2009    Kershaw County Medical Center name changed to KershawHealth

2009    Camden Middle School moves from Laurens Street to McRae Road

2012    Statues of King Haiglar and Joseph Kershaw unveiled on Town Green

2012    Camden Middle School buildings on Laurens Street demolished

2013    Statues of Larry Doby and Bernard Baruch unveiled on grounds of Camden Archives (March)

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Main sources: HISTORIC CAMDEN, Vols. I and II,Camden, SC newspapers, various publications, etc.

Experience Camden Like a Local

Experience The Battle of Camden

Experience The American Revolution Up Close!

This all outdoor, family friendly event is the largest force-on-force reenactment in the nation! You will see hundreds of Crown and Patriot reenactors, full scale battles, period entertainment including fire-erupting cannons and a host of other incredible American Revolution experiences. Bring the kids, bring the family and bring your appetite. Food vendors onsite and downtown camden eats and treats are just minutes away.

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Walk Through History at Camden’s Revolutionary War Park

Experience The Southern Campaign of the American Revolution Like Never Before

Camden is dripping with Revolutionary War History. It’s one of the most significant battle sites in the entire Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. Plan a weekend of history, hospitality and incredible experiences with a trip to Camden’s Revolutionary War Park. Explore the Colonial Village at Historic Camden. Meander through the pines on the 3+ mile nature trail with interpretive signage. Learn about South Carolina’s leading role in turning the tide of war at the Revolutionary War Visitor’s Center. And don’t forget to stop off in downtown Camden for a bit to eat after all that history!

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Visit The Revolutionary War Visitors Center at Camden

earn About The Real Turning Point in The American Revolution - The Southern Campaign

The Revolutionary War Visitor Center at Camden is the gateway to both South Carolina’s pivotal role in the American Revolution and the multitude of things to do and see in Camden-Kershaw County. The Center tells the story of the real turning point of the Revolution – The Southern Campaign. Discover Friends and Foes of the cause as well as the hard-fought battles by determined patriots with their hearts set on liberty.

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