“As handsome a court house building found throughout the state.”
125 West Main Street
City Directories and History: ca. 1823. Designed by the noted architect Robert Mills, the courthouse was constructed ca. 1823 at a cost of $10,000.00. The building has been continually used as a public courthouse since its construction. In 1883, the second story burned but damage was minor and repairs were completed within a year. In 1953-1954, wings were added to the rear of the courthouse and exterior remodeling was undertaken which included the addition of an exterior staircase and the removal of facade details.
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on Feb. 27, 1889 – “The County Courthouse at Kingstree was burned last Friday. The building was lost but the county records were saved. The courthouse was in the business section, and it was feared that the Coleman house and several stores might be lost, but the fire was successfully contained to the courthouse.”
The courthouse is a fine example of Roman Classicism with its raised first floor, pediment with lunette, and Doric columns. The main story has a central doorway flanked by four windows. The entablature once featured triglyphs and metopes but these were removed in the 1954 remodeling. Although the courthouse has been altered, it still reflects much of Mills’s original design. The courthouse grounds contain a
Confederate monument erected 10 May 1910 by the Williamsburg Chapter U.D.C. and citizens of the county. (SCDAH)
The Kingstree Historic District contains forty-eight properties situated along Main Street, Academy Street, and Hampton Street in the commercial area of downtown Kingstree (including the Courthouse). The district includes the courthouse, public library, railroad station, and numerous commercial buildings. The district is a fine collection of nineteenth-century vernacular commercial architecture. Details such as arched doorways and windows, cast-iron columns and pilasters, decorative or corbelled brick work and pressed tin interior ceilings are present on most of the district’s buildings. The Williamsburg County Courthouse, built ca. 1823, and designed by Robert Mills, is a fine example of Roman Neo-Classical design with its raised first floor, pediment with lunette, and Doric columns. In 1953-54 the courthouse underwent substantial remodeling on the exterior and interior,
though it still reflects much of Mill’s original design. With the exception of the courthouse, most of the buildings in the district were built between 1900 and 1920 when Kingstree enjoyed prosperity as a retail and tobacco marketing center of Williamsburg County. The majority of the buildings in the district are a visible record of this twenty-year growth and the historic fabric of the area remains substantially intact. Listed in the National Register June 28, 1982.
[Courtesy of the SC Dept. of Archives and History]
View a map showing the boundaries of the Kingstree Historic District.
Between 1732 and 1736 a colony of Ulster Scots settled on a bluff on the north side of Black River. At a spot several hundred feet back from the bank grew an unusually tall white pine tree of the kind reserved for the king in royal grants and used for making masts for British ships. This settlement, first called Williamsburgh, was referred to as being at the King’s tree and later came to be called Kingstree. Boddie locates it as lot number one on a plot made August 28, 1737.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
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IMAGE GALLERY via photographer Bill Segars – 2007