Skip to main content

Hampton Town History

The Town of Hampton Courthouse, SC was incorporated December 23, 1879 on land donated, according to an early map, for "the town and courthouse of Hampton." The original town site was described as a "sandy oak ridge."

Even two months prior to incorporation The Hampton County Guardian was launched and remains today our largest and most constant source of local news.

The first building constructed was a two-story school to educate the children from Hoover's Station, DeLoach's Field and Mauldin's Mill.

The first election for intendant (mayor) and wardens (councilmen) was held in March 1880. The official seal was marked "Town of Hampton Courthouse, SC." It was not until later that the post office would list it as only "Hampton, SC."

The original form of government, mayor-council, is still in effect today. Initially, meetings were held in local business establishments, later in rented space. It was then that many valuable documents were lost in a fire. In 1952, the first Town Hall was erected. The second, built in 1967, was remodeled in 2000. With sound economic policy and the assistance of volunteers, Hampton was able to operate without a tax increase for a period of 24 years.

In 1932, a group of men organized the Hampton Fire Department. Over the years, the hand drawn fire cart has been replaced with modern fire engines and specialized equipment. The volunteers are well-trained and have achieved an ISO fire protection of four for Hampton.

Hampton's Watermelon Festival began in 1939 and is the oldest continuing festival in South Carolina. As of today, the week long event is planned and produced by an army of dedicated volunteers from all parts of Hampton County.

The sleepy town had just begun to yawn when it was rudely awakened by World War II. Changes were rapid. Native sons, farmers and businessmen alike, were sent across the globe to serve honorably in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Hampton became home to a prisoner of war camp. Many lives and families were changed forever.

Korea and Vietnam conflicts came later, once again involving and affecting many families. A long list of heroes, dead and alive, keeps our town focus on true patriotism. We honor them with public ceremonies on appropriate occasions.

Where agriculture and small business had reigned, industry came in on the heels of peace. A large plant, Plywoods-Plastics, was the earliest employer of an industrial workforce. It later became Westinghouse-Micarta, then International Paper. Today Nevamar is the industry located in the large complex.

Hampton, a stable community with a diversified economy, has established its own industrial park which is home to smaller industries.

Over the years, property has been donated to use for recreational facilities. Aware of the importance of recreation, Hampton has invested in the area of development and the donated land has been used for ball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, playgrounds and, most recently, a lighted walking park.

A town of friendly people, we are made up of natives and newcomers alike who claim Hampton as home.