Lake Hartwell – Anderson County, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Anderson County Photos | Lake Hartwell
Lake Hartwell is a man-made reservoir created by the Hartwell Dam on the Savannah River. At 56,000 acres, its 962 miles of shoreline cover portions of both South Carolina and Georgia. It was completed in 1962 as a project of the United States Army Corps of Engineers and is one of the region’s largest man-made lakes. The original design for the lake would have flooded Memorial Stadium at neighboring Clemson University. The school protested the plan, and eventually two diversion dams were built to redirect the Seneca River, which feeds the lake, and thus the beloved football stadium was spared.
In South Carolina, Lake Hartwell spans Oconee County, Pickens County, and Anderson County. The lake is a popular recreation spot for fishermen due to the many varieties of fish that swim in its smooth waters. It is named for Nancy Hart, a Revolutionary War figure and native of adjacent Georgia. She is best known for capturing around six Loyalist soldiers who came to her backcountry Georgia home looking for a meal. She shot and killed two men, holding the others captive until her husband and neighbors arrived. As the legend goes, the local men hanged the Loyalists on a tree near the home as per Nancy Hart’s orders. In 1912, workers building a railroad less than a mile from the former Hart house discovered the remains of six or so men buried alongside each other, all with their necks broken.
Hartwell Dam is described by the United States Army Corps of Engineers as “a concrete-gravity structure flanked on both sides by embankments of compacted earth. The concrete section is 1,900 feet long and rises 204 feet above the riverbed at its highest point. The earthen embankments on each side of the dam lengthen it to over three miles.” The photographer, William L. Nickles, described how the curvature of the dam made it difficult for photographs to convey its true length from any position. He went on to say that this wide-angle view shows only about two thirds of the dam.
Tucked away on a corner of Clemson University’s campus, on the banks of Lake Hartwell, is Hopewell House, built 1785. Originally a frontier log cabin structure enlarged into the home seen today. The houses’ most notable resident was that of Revolutionary War hero, Andrew Pickens. Pickens is well regarded for his contributions during the Revolutionary War as General in the Battle of Cowpens as well as his peaceful negations with Native Americans. His negotiations with the “Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks and Chickamaugas were monumental in peaceful treaties and cohabitation with Native-Americans following the Revolution.”
Singing Pines Park – Lake Hartwell
Many thanks to photographer David Martin for submitting this picture he took while visiting Singing Pines Park. David says that he was on the South Carolina side of Hartwell Dam, and that this is one of his “We where at Singing Pines Park, Lake Harwell (Starr section of Anderson County) on the South Carolina side of Hartwell Dam. This park is only about a quarter mile from the dam on Hwy 29 South. This is one of our favorite spots for sunsets. Evenings with a few clouds is all anyone need at this locations. This place is the best we have found for viewing awesome sunsets.”
Coneross Campground – Lake Hartwell
Coneross Campground is located along the Seneca River on the northern part of Lake Hartwell. It offers 105 camp sites, 12 of which are primitive. Campers at Coneross have access to a boat ramp and courtesy dock for fishing, swimming, or just taking in the lake view.
Clemson Boathouse – Lake Hartwell
The below scene was taken from the boathouse at nearby Clemson University. The school’s rowing team practices on the picturesque lake, and an 11,500-square-foot training facility overlooks the water. The lake hosts a six-lane, 200-meter race course for the rowing team.
Reflections on Lake Hartwell
SCIWAY visitor Perry Fields of Clemson wrote us to say that “when the heat finally subsides on Lake Hartwell, the mornings are cool and the lake usually has ‘magical’ fog on it. The contrast of the trees, and the softness of the light from the fog is particularly nice.”
Contributor Daphne Singleton shares a very special moment for her family that is a forever part of her Coneross Campground memories: “I took this photo of the sunset while camping at Conoross Campground with my grandson, Jake. The next morning my husband drove up to the campground with news that Emory University Hospital had called my daughter, Jake’s mom, for a pancreas transplant for which she had been on a waiting list for a match for some time. I left for Atlanta, and my husband and Jake broke camp. Now she’s doing great, but that’s a camping trip I will never forget.”
Karen Creel, who took the above shot from the boathouse, says: “The Clemson boathouse on Lake Hartwell is a beautiful place to take in a breathtaking sunset.”
Lake Hartwell Info
Address: Singing Pines Recreation Area, Starr, SC 29684
GPS Coordinates: 34.376065,-82.818028
Lake Hartwell Map
Lake Hartwell Add Info and More Photos
The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Lake Hartwell, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!