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 the legacy remains pristinely preserved. Abbeville is called the "Birthplace and Deathbed of the Confederacy", because it was here that Jefferson Davis made some of his most important decisions as President 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.
The Abbeville Opera House, historic downtown, and the Square are significant attractions in the region. Over 35,000 patrons attend sellout shows at the Opera House each year, making it the State's Rural Drama Theater. Abbeville's Victorian setting attracts thousands of visitors each year who combine an afternoon and evening of shopping, dinner, and then a show at the Opera House. Tourists are also drawn to the City's significant historic district which boasts dozens of restored homes and businesses, and by Abbeville's claim as the designation of the "Birthplace and Deathbed of the Confederacy."
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, and Hartwell, operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Lake 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.
Abbeville is part of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor which stretches from the coast near Charleston to the mountains of Oconee County. Abbeville has a rich heritage of textiles that continues to this day with its two thriving Sage Automotive plants. We are also blessed to have a number of other industries that have chosen to make the area home including Prysmian Cable, Flexible Technologies, and Thermaflex. The area also has several post-secondary education choices including Erskine College in nearby Due West and Lander University located in Greenwood. Piedmont Technical College is a two-year public institution in Greenwood with a satellite campus here in Abbeville. The new Abbeville Area Medical Center is located within the City, and boasts state-of-the-art facilities and medical care. Also located within 30 minutes of Abbeville is Self Regional Hospital in Greenwood.
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.