HARTSVILLE, S.C. -- The premier historic site in Hartsville, if not the entire Darlington County, is turning 200 years old in 2020. The Thomas E. Hart House of Kalmia Gardens is preparing to celebrate its bicentennial next year (1820-2020).
The Hart House is a 19th-century plantation home that belonged to Hartsville’s founder, Thomas E. Hart. It is on the National Register of Historical Places.
Kalmia Gardens is considered the oldest and only public garden in the Pee Dee region, according to information from its present owner, Coker College. The Hart House is receiving an interior update to prepare for the celebration. Watch for the planned bicentennial celebration in 2020.
“Kalmia Gardens is so fortunate to have so many supporters within the community that have helped to make the Hart House renovations possible,” Director Mary Ridgeway said. “It is vital that we care for this historical venue. We could not care for the gardens without the support of the community.
With 38.6 acres of flora and fauna, Kalmia Gardens is home to a variety of plant life, including its namesake, Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel), and animal life, including numerous species of birds. The gardens are an environmental jewel to the state and community. There is a 60-foot drop in elevation leading to the Black Creek floodplain, where walking trails and boardwalks guide visitors through laurel thickets, pine-oak-holly uplands and a beech bluff.
The gardens are open from dawn to dusk.
The garden receives approximately 19,000 visitors each year and is often the site for local fundraisers to support the operational budget.