Batesburg-Leesville – South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | Batesburg-Leesville
Batesburg-Leesville is located in western portion of Lexington County. Until they consolidated in 1993, Batesburg and Leesville were two separate towns. Each began as a trading post on the early road between Augusta and Columbia. In 1869 the Charlotte, Columbia, and Augusta Railroad laid tracks through the two villages and established a depot in each. Leesville was incorporated in 1875, and Batesburg in 1877.
Though divided by only a narrow strip of land, the two towns developed distinct identities. Batesburg faced west and served as a market and distribution center for farmers in Edgefield, Aiken, and Saluda counties. Leesville faced east and its services were oriented toward western Lexington County.
Over a period of decades, joint ventures between the two towns gradually pointed them in the direction of consolidation. A joint high school opened in the 1920s. A shared Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1946. A downturn in the economy during the 1980s sparked the final push, as civic and business leaders sought to streamline local government services and strengthen the tax base. Voters in both towns approved the merger referendum in 1992, and the two became one by the end of the following year.
Each May, Batesburg-Leesville hosts the statewide Poultry Festival, drawing thousands of visitors to South Carolina’s “Twin Cities.”
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