City Directories and History: The Lawton Park and Pavilion built in the Colonial Revival style during the WPA, ca. 1941 period. Later Segars Construction Company, ca. 1987 remodeled the facility.
Lawton Park, built 1939-1941, was planned as early as 1938. In that year Joseph J. Lawton (1861-1941), prominent Hartsville businessman and manufacturer, donated three-and-one-half acres on Prestwood Lake to the town specifically for use as “a play-ground or recreation park and/or swimming and bathing place. ” The Hartsville town government applied to the Works Progress Administration for Federal funds and labor to build the park, named in honor of Lawton, and its facilities. The plans included “a two story club house [Lawton Park Pavilion], a keeper’s house, playground and equipment, picnic grounds with open air ovens, and swimming facilities. Dressing rooms and baths will be located in the ground floor of the main club house, while the second floor will be one large room suitable for dances and community gatherings. ” Although work began in the fall of 1939 and the W.P.A. quickly approved Hartsville’s proposal, Lawton Park was not completed and opened to the public until the spring of 1941. “This area is of unusual natural beauty,” the Hartsville Messenger observed, describing the park. “Many junipers, some large ones, line the shore in this section and the lake here is specially adapted for growing lilies. Throughout the park there are pines, hickory, dogwood and myrtle bushes, all of which lend beauty to the recreation area.”
Information courtesy of the NR Nom/ S.C. Dept. of Archives and History
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