Towns & Cities
The historic city of Laurens serves as the county seat of Laurens County. Formerly called Laurensville, the first record of the town being called Laurens appears on a charter issued in 1873. Today, residents and guests experience a unique mix of history and modern development. One of the city’s most notable features is the “Laurens Historic District,” a site comprised of the area of the public square and most of the surrounding streets. The district has been placed in the National Register of Historic Places. The city of Laurens has 8,887 residents and is governed by a Mayor/Council form of government.
Clinton’s past is traced to the arrival of Scottish-Irish immigrants two decades before the American Revolution. The town itself was officially incorporated in 1852, taking its name in honor of Henry Clinton Young, a lawyer from Laurensville, who helped lay out the first streets. Today, Clinton is the second-largest city in Laurens County, with 8,503 residents. A City Manager/Council form of government governs the city.
Joanna is the largest non-incorporated community in the county, with 1,609 residents. For many years the community was known as Goldville until its name was officially changed on August 1, 1948. During the War Between the States, the community around the railroad was known as Martin’s Depot. On the night of April 30, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his entourage spent the night at the nearby Lafayette Young House during their escape from Richmond at the close of the war.
The town of Cross Hill is located in southeastern Laurens County, bordered on the east by Newberry County and on the southwest by Lake Greenwood. The area was a north-south Native American path across the fish dams on the Broad River and leading to the fish dams on the Savannah River. Many years ago, someone crossed the first path on a hill and gave Cross Hill its name. Rosemont, the family plantation of Ann Pamela Cunningham, leader in the effort to save President George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Va., was located near the community. Today the town of Cross Hill is a modest community of 502 residents, and is governed by a Mayor/Council form of government.
The town of Waterloo is located 12 miles south of Laurens on the shores of beautiful Lake Greenwood and covers 1.4 square miles of Laurens County. The town was incorporated on December 4, 1885. The small community of 147 residents offers many outdoor sporting and recreational activities. Waterloo is governed by a Mayor/Council form of government.
The town of Ware Shoals is shared between Abbeville, Greenwood, and Laurens counties. Situated along the Saluda River, with a population of 2,155 residents, the Town of Ware Shoals provides an easy-going way of life. It’s home to the Irvin Pitts Park, also known as “The Shoals,” where many enjoy the large rocks, swimming holes, & fishing. The Saluda River was the natural resource that spawned the town of Ware Shoals. The dam, the mill and the town were born in the same year - 1902 - and the Ware Shoals Manufacturing Company (later renamed Riegel Textile Corporation) shaped the community and its citizens for more than 80 years until it closed in 1985.
The Hickory Community is located on Highway 76, a few miles north and west of the City of Laurens. The community, originally known as New Market, is believed to have been named for a tavern operated by Henry Burrows in 1800, The tavern was located in a grove of hickory trees. Today, Hickory Tavern is a thriving community with several businesses, churches and a school located there. Hickory Tavern is a center of growth for northern Laurens County as newcomers and residents of the more populous counties to the north relocate in that area.
The Community of Mountville, located on Highway 72 between the City of Clinton and the Town of Cross Hill, has the distinction of occupying two locations in its history. In its early days, a star mail route running from Laurens to Chappells resulted in the establishment of a post office in the Beaverdam community. The post office was given the name of Mountville, perhaps because of a steep, mountain- like hill rising from nearby Ginger Creek. In 1892, the Seaboard Railroad was completed through that section of Laurens County in a location about two miles from the original post office. Over time, a new railroad town developed that eventually supplanted the original location of Mountville. That location continues today as a quiet, well-established community in southern Laurens County.
Nestled in the northwest corner of Laurens County is the town of Gray Court, originally named Dorroh or Dorrohville in honor of a local family. On October 17, 1899, the name was changed to Gray Court and the town was chartered three days later. The town has a Mayor/Council form of government. A small community vibrant with history and well worth a visit, interesting information can be found at www.gcohistoricalsociety.org. The Gray Court-Owings Historical Society was organized in February, 2001, founded to preserve the history and historic structures of this small rural area.
Fountain Inn takes its name from the old inn with a fountain that attracted travelers seeking rest from the tiresome stagecoach journeys between Greenville and the Low Country. It is a charming small town highlighted by landmarks, interesting anecdotes and historic figures. “Peg Leg” Bates, the famous dancer and entertainer, was a native son. Fountain Inn has a population of 8,688 residents. It has a Mayor/Council form of government. While it is part of Laurens County, a large portion of the town is also located in Greenville County. Visit the Fountain Inn Chamber site for information https://fountaininnchamber.carrd.co/.