Abbeville's History

Photo Credit: Shelley Reid


Founding Abbeville

Abbeville was settled in 1758 by a group French Huguenots. In 2008, Abbeville celebrated its 250th anniversary. The City was officially incorporated as a municipality within the State of South Carolina on December 20, 1832. Since then, Abbeville has experienced many exciting and turbulent events. The city played a key role during the Civil War, and that legacy remains pristinely preserved. Abbeville is known the "Birthplace and Deathbed of the Confederacy".  On what is now known as Secession Hill, the meeting which launched the state's secession from the Union took place on Nov. 22, 1860. Five years later in 1865, Jefferson Davis and his cabinet decided to dissolve the Confederacy at the Burt-Stark Mansion, a stately home right off from Abbeville's Historic Court Square.

Historic Buildings & Attractions

The Abbeville Opera House, Historic downtown, Festivals, and numerous other events are significant attractions in the region.  Abbeville's unique combination of Historical Attractions in a thriving Downtown setting make it perfect for residents and visitors alike.

State Parks & Lakes

The region is home to a number of state parks, as well as the Sumter National forest. Also nearby in the Savannah River Basin are Lakes Thurmond, Russell, Hartwell, Greenwood, and Lake Secession, which is owned and operated by the City of Abbeville. Located thirty miles to the south of Abbeville is Savannah Lakes Village, a resort community with 4,000 home sites. Abbeville is located within a fifty-mile radius of major highways, including Interstates 26, 385, 85, 185, 20 and 520. In addition, Abbeville has US and State highways and railroad lines, making the city very accessible to both visitors and industry.

Old 96 Tourism Commission

Nestled in the Upper Western section of South Carolina, the Old 96 District is home to amazing outdoor adventures, a haven for history buffs and the location of the most remarkable attractions and places of interest. Come see our miles and miles of hiking, biking and walking trails. Or paddleboard across one of our pristine freshwater lakes. Step back in time to relive a time in history that changed our culture and country.


South Carolina’s Old 96 District, located in the western section of South Carolina, provides outdoor adventures, history and heritage, arts and culture and family fun for travelers! Comprised of Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick Counties with 3 of 5 counties bordering Georgia, this region offers you an opportunity to experience rural beauty and Old South mystique.

Preserve American Community

In January of 2008, First Lady Laura Bush designated Abbeville as a Preserve America Community. This initiative recognizes those communities that demonstrate they are committed to preserving their cultural and natural heritage. The City of Abbeville was honored by this prestigious award and we will continue to make sustainable historic preservation a priority.