“Classic midlands architecture demolished in the name of progress.”
City Directories and History: Built in circa 1820, the Kennedy house, with its lovely “Carolina Rain Porch” was razed in the early 1950s to construct the new Camden City Hall on Lyttleton Street. The home was originally constructed by James Chesnut and it was reported that the lumber remained in storage, in the front yard, for seven years. This was a common practice in the 19th century to allow lumber to fully dry and cure prior to construction. In the 1880’s the Kennedy family acquired the home and it passed on to Mrs. E.C. Von Tresckow who later sold it to Mrs. Bland Williams Metz prior to WWII. The current City Hall was constructed in 1956.
“The construction of a new $410,000 Camden City Hall in the mid-1950s symbolized the blending of community interest in the past and the present. The removal of an antebellum dwelling between Lyttleton and Fair streets at the end of Rutledge Street provided the building site for the new city hall, begun in 1955 only a couple of blocks from former offices at the old opera house. The handsome colonial design, by the Camden architect Ralph Little, combined classic elements with modern features. A cupola, echoing the old town tower, was topped with a replica of King Hagler fashioned by the local metal artisan Ken Daniels. The cornerstone was laid with the Lafayette trowel associated with other significant are artifacts. Miss Bessie Young, granddaughter of the Camden silversmith Alexander Young, who had fashioned the trowel, was seated on the ceremonial platform. The modern features of Camden City Hall attracted attention at the 1956 open house. In addition to comfortable quarters for fire fighters, features included the nations first drive-in jail, which provided security for law-enforcement officers, and a drive-in window for utility payments. A photo at the time depicted an elderly customer in a mule-driven buggy pausing at the new window to pay his light bill.” (Information courtesy of A History of Kershaw County, S.C. by Joan A. Inabinet and L. Glenn Inabinet, 2001 – The Un. of S.C. Press)
The images on this post are from the Camden Archives and Museum including part of the Monarch Photograph Collection.
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