History of Camden, South Carolina
Did you know that Camden, SC is the oldest inland city within the state of South Carolina? In 1730, Camden became part of a township plan ordered by King George II. Originally laid out in 1732 as the town of Fredericksburg in the Wateree River swamp (south of the present town) when King George II ordered 11 inland townships established along South Carolina's rivers. In 1758, Joseph Kershaw, from Yorkshire, England came into the township, established a store and renamed the town Pine Tree Hill. Camden became the main inland trade center in the colony. Kershaw suggested that the town be renamed Camden, in honor of Lord Camden, a champion of colonial rights in the British Parliament.
In 1780, during the American Revolution, Lord Charles Cornwallis and 2,500 of his Loyalist and British troops marched to Camden and established there the main British supply post for the Southern campaign. The Battle of Camden, the worst American defeat of the Revolution, was fought on August 16, 1780 near Camden, and on April 25, 1781 the Battle of Hobkirk Hill was fought between 1,400 troops led by General Nathanael Greene and 950 Loyalists and British soldiers. The latter battle was a costly win for the British, and forced them to leave Camden and retreat to the coast.
After the Revolution, Camden's prominence and wealth grew as a major interior trading town with direct ties to Charleston and the world. Regional products were transported from Camden to Charleston on flat-bottom riverboats that plied the adjacent Wateree River before the railroad arrived in 1842.
Starting in the mid-1880s the Camden area became an increasingly popular destination for wealthy northern families to spend the winter. Eventually, 3 resort hotels provided state of the art winter tourism activities well into the 1930s and beyond. The town became associated with many equestrian activities, and is now the home of the third oldest active polo field in America. In the winter, more than 1,500 thoroughbreds call the area home. According to Kershaw County's web site, "Horse related activities became very popular. That interest in equine activities has continued and today the horse industry is a major part of the county economy. For that reason, the city is known as the 'Steeplechase Capital of the World'.”
Because of its long history and many years of wealthy winter visitors and deep-pocket northern owners, Camden has an enviable inventory of antebellum homes and charm that remains unique among towns of its size in South Carolina and elsewhere. Browse Homes For Sale in Camden, SC >
Living in Camden Today
Today, Camden is the largest city in Kershaw County and is home to The Carolina Cup and The National Steeplechase Museum. The city continues to prosper with successful local businesses, delicious restaurants and a growing population. Nestled nicely in between Sumter and Columbia, and not far from the edge of Lake Wateree, makes Camden an inviting place to live. The area hosts some of the best public schools in the State as well as the Camden Military Academy.
Home To The Carolina Cup
The Carolina Cup is an annual event held on either the final Saturday in March or the first Saturday of April. The first race was held March 22, 1930 and has been held every year since, with the exception of 1943 and 1945, during World War II. The races have become a South Carolina tradition, and normally draw a crowd of over 70,000 spectators. "The Cup" has become a premier social sporting event in Camden and in South Carolina. The race is held at the Springdale Race Course, just north of Camden. The National Steeplechase Museum is located near the course.
Among major steeplechase horse races, it is unique that in South Carolina state law prohibits gambling on horse racing.
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