Hartwell was once called the “Center of the World” by the Cherokee; today it is known as the “Best Town by a Dam Site.” Incorporated in 1856, Hartwell is the county seat for Hart County, the only county in Georgia named for a woman, Revolutionary War Heroine and spy Nancy Morgan Hart.
Hart County Schools provides a quality education to children living in Hartwell. Nearby colleges and universities include North Georgia Technical College, Truett-McConnell College, Clemson University, Emmanuel College and University of Georgia at Athens.
Hart County Recreation Department oversees more than 12 acres of park facilities for Hartwell and surrounding communities with ball fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts, basketball courts and batting cages. Programs and activities include tennis, basketball, football, cheerleading, dance classes, adult softball leagues and Little League. Hart County Botanical Gardens feature native and exotic plants in a peaceful setting.
Three state parks in Hart County offer additional recreation and relaxation for Hartwell residents. Hart State Park on Lake Hartwell is the place to catch large mouth bass, hybrid bass, striper, black crappie, bream, rainbow trout and wall-eyed pike. Boat ramps, docks and a swimming beach make getting your feet wet easy and fun. Most of the cottages and camp sites in the park are along the lake’s shore. Tugaloo State Park also has cottages and camp sites along Lake Hartwell, and fishing is excellent all year. Two nature trails meander through forests of oak, walnut, mulberry and cherry trees. Victoria Bryant State Park is in the rolling hills of the upper piedmont region. Trails wind through forests and along creeks. A delightful picnic area is along a silvery creek, providing a perfect resting spot.
Hartwell isn’t short of any cultural or community activities. Annual Hartwell events appeal to all ages and include home and garden tours, the Hartwell Lake Festival, ARTS in Hartwell Festival of Heritage and Fine Arts, Loch Hartwell Highland Games and Scottish Festival, 4-H Events, Fourth of July celebration, Easter Egg Hunt, the Polar Bear Plunge at Hart State Park, parades, Lake Hartwell Dam Run, the Antique Boat Festival, Spring Fever Regatta, Challenge of the Centuries Bike Ride, and Lighting the Tree Festival.
Lake Hartwell was built on the Savannah River by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control and hydro-electric power production. It was completed in 1963 and today offers recreation, water supply, and fish and wildlife management. A visitor’s center is located near the three-mile long dam.
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