SC History Trail

Kalmia Gardens and Thomas Hart House

30 acres of cultivated gardens and a historic, early 19th century home, Kalmia Gardens and the Thomas Hart House are located on the campus of Coker College in Hartsville.


Kalmia Gardens and Thomas Hart House
1624 West Carolina Avenue, Hartsville, SC 29550
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Web Site:
Phone: 843-383-8145/Fax 843-383-8149
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Site Description
Located on the campus of Coker College in Hartsville, Kalmia Gardens and the Thomas Hart House are remnants of a 1,223-acre cotton and tobacco plantation established on the site by Thomas Hart in 1817. Hart was a local planter and militia captain who built this home on a bluff near Black Creek. He was also a local judge, chairman of the board of the local free schools and the area's first postmaster. The city of Hartsville is named for him.

The property eventually passed to David Robert Coker, whose wife Mary Roper Coker developed Kalmia Gardens, a garden of camellias, wisteria, tea-olives and azaleas which was named for the laurels planted along Black Creek - the kalmia latfolia. Today, Kalmia Gardens is managed by Coker College as an outdoor classroom and public gardens, and includes more than 30 acres of trails that wind through native and imported plants and foliage.

The Thomas Hart House, which is open to the public, has been restored to be compatible with the era of its habitation. Among its rooms are four that are original to its early construction and feature paneled wainscoting and mantels carved by Thomas Hart.
Access and Admission
Site Access: Public
Access Description: Open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk
Historic Registry: National Register of Historic Places
Ownership: Private