SC History Trail

Kingstree Historic District

Encompassing much of the historic riverside city, the Kingstree Historic District includes numerous historic homes, commercial structures and public buildings. The most familiar landmark is the Williamsburg County Courthouse, built in 1823, and designed by South Carolina architect Robert Mills who also designed the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.


Kingstree Historic District
147 West Main Street, Kingstree, SC 29556
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Phone: 843-355-9321
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Site Description
The historic city of Kingstree, the seat of Williamsburg County, was so named for a large, white pine on the east bank of the Black River. It was marked by a surveyor about 1730 when South Carolina's colonial governor, Robert Johnson, ordered a series of townships established across the colony to spread out South Carolina's population and make Charleston less vulnerable to attack by enemies.

The "King's Tree" became the center of Williamsburg Township, which evolved into Williamsburg County with Kingstree as its county seat. In 1732, a group of Scots-Irish immigrants settled the township and Kingstree began to grow. It was a hotbed of Patriot sentiment during the American Revolution.

South Carolina's infamous and deadly "fever" - later discovered to be malaria - slowed development in the swampy region, but growth was aided by the arrival of the Northeastern Railroad from Charleston in 1856. Kingstree was the center of Williamsburg's cotton plantations in the Antebellum Era, and became a principal tobacco market in the 20th century, until the decline of the tobacco market system in the 1980s.

Today, the tree-shaded Kingstree Historic District consists of 48 properties along Main Street, Hampton Street and Academy Street in the center of the city. Historic structures include numerous houses, a vintage railroad station and numerous commercial buildings. Kingstree's downtown Confederate Monument, erected in 1910, is unique among similar Southern monuments: It is topped by a statue of a Northern soldier and is believed to have been accidentally switched with a statue in Maine.

The most familiar landmark in Kingstree is the Williamsburg County Courthouse on Main Street. Designed by South Carolina architect Robert Mills, who also designed the Washington Monument, the courthouse was built in 1823. It is a classic example of Mills' architecture, featuring Roman Neo-Classical design and Doric columns. The site of the courthouse was a Colonial Era muster ground, according to a 1737 survey. The Williamsburg HomeTown Chamber of Commerce, located nearby at 131 N. Academy St, offers detailed information on Kingstree's historic sites.
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