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Lancaster City

Lancaster City Hall is located at 216 South Catawba Street, Lancaster, SC 29720; phone: 803-286-8414.

Beginnings [1]

When Lancaster County was created in 1795, a temporary courthouse was established at a central location near Hanging Rock. When Kershaw County was created in 1791, a new county seat for Lancaster County was established near a small settlement called Barnettsville. In 1798 a post office, Lancaster Court House, was established there, and the town itself was renamed Lancasterville in 1802. Lancaster would be the only incorporated town in the county until after the Civil War.

By 1826 Robert Mills described Lancaster as "regularly laid out, five streets running each way at right angles ... The village contains about 30 dwelling houses and stores, and 260 inhabitants. The public buildings are a court-house and jail, and a handsome brick academy. The legislature, at the last session, made appropriations for building a new courthouse, which will prove a great ornament to the place." Mills designed the jail, built in 1821-22 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971. It has often been speculated that he also designed the third and present courthouse, built in 1826-27, also designated a National Historic landmark in 1971. Although his other public architecture in the state seems to have influenced it, there is no evidence to prove a Mills design.

  1. J. Tracy Power, Historian and Frank Brown III, Architectural Historian, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources of Lancaster County, S.C., nomination document, 1989, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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