Batesburg-Leesville is a town in Lexington and Saluda counties, South Carolina, United States. The town's population was 5,362 as of the 2010 census and an estimated 5,415 in 2019.
The town of Batesburg-Leesville was formed in 1992 by the consolidation of the neighboring towns of Batesburg and Leesville. Batesburg was "named for Captain Tom Bates, a prominent citizen of the community and a captain in The American Civil War." Leesville was "named for Colonel John W. Lee, a prominent resident of the community."
The D. D. D. Barr House, Batesburg Commercial Historic District, Simon Bouknight House, Cartledge House, Cedar Grove Lutheran Church, Church Street Historic District, Broadus Edwards House, Hampton Hendrix Office, Hartley House, Henry Franklin Hendrix House, Thomas Galbraith Herbert House, J.B. Holman House, A.C. Jones House, Leesville College Historic District, Crowell Mitchell House, McKendree Mitchell House, Mitchell-Shealy House, Old Batesburg Grade School, John Jacob Rawl House, Rawl-Couch House, Southern Railway Depot, and Rev. Frank Yarborough House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In February 1946, Sergeant Isaac Woodard, a black World War II veteran, was removed from a bus in Batesburg and severely beaten by local police officers, including Chief Lynwood Shull. The assault left Woodard completely and permanently blind. Woodard was traveling home by Greyhound bus after being honorably discharged from Camp Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, the bus driver having reported Woodard to local police in Batesburg-Leesville after a verbal argument between the two. Due to South Carolina's reluctance to pursue the case, President Harry S. Truman ordered a federal investigation. The sheriff, Lynwood Shull, was indicted and went to trial in federal court in South Carolina, where he was acquitted by an all-white jury. Such miscarriages of justice by state governments influenced a move towards civil rights initiatives at the federal level. Truman subsequently established a national interracial commission, made a historic speech to the NAACP and the nation in June 1947 in which he described civil rights as a moral priority, submitted a civil rights bill to Congress in February 1948, and issued Executive Orders 9980 and 9981 on June 26, 1948, desegregating the armed forces and the federal government. The attack was the subject of radio commentaries by Orson Welles in July and August 1946.
In early 2018, the town of Batesburg-Leesville, with Town Attorney Christian Spradley, Police Chief W. Wallace Oswald, and Mayor Lancer Shull (no relation to Linwood Shull ), reopened the Woodard case to consider dismissing the 1946 charges. During a regular term of municipal court on June 5, 2018, the Woodard case was reopened and the charges were dismissed by Town Judge Robert Cook. A permanent historic plaque now stands on the corner of West Church Street and Fulmer Street in old Batesburg commemorating the civil rights incident at the site of the original police station.
Law and government
Batesburg-Leesville is served by a council-manager style government. The town employs approximate 60 full-time employees, and 35 volunteer firefighters. The town operated from a $7.4 million budget in Fiscal Year 2018-2019.
Batesburg-Leesville's mayor is Lancer Shull.
The town council comprises eight elected council persons representing single-member districts. The current council members are:
William Theodore "Ted" Luckadoo is the town manager and oversees the day-to-day administrative functions of the town. Luckadoo was named the third town manager of consolidated Batesburg-Leesville in 2014. Jason "Jay" Hendrix was named the assistant town manager on August 8, 2019.
The Batesburg-Leesville Fire Department consists of two stations, five career staff members and 41 volunteer firefighters as of September 2019. The two stations are located in the town's two historic business districts and are still identified as the Batesburg station and the Leesville station. The department boasts an Insurance Services Office Class 3/3B rating.
The top employer in Batesburg-Leesville is Lexington County School District Three with four different schools and a district office. The next is Ansaldo STS, which has a manufacturing facility.
The town's economic dependence on poultry harvesting is apparent due to the presence of two large processing plants: Amick Farms and Columbia Farms. These assist in making Lexington County the top poultry producer in the state.
The South Carolina Poultry Festival (formerly the Ridge Poultry Festival) has been held on the second Saturday in May since 1987. The festival features live music, food vendors, craft vendors, a carnival, a parade, and to conclude the event a cake auction and fireworks show.
The public school system in Batesburg-Leesville is administered by Lexington County School District Three, which consists of:
All sports teams associated with School District Three use a panther as their mascot. The Panthers' colors are purple, gold, and black
Historic public schools
The Batesburg-Leesville Primary School opened in 1984. At that time the district began operating just four schools, as they consolidated smaller, older schools into the new school. Historical schools which closed in 1984 included Hampton Elementary School (1954), [http://www.scequalizationschools.org/uploads/1/1/7/0/11700188/113utopia_elementary_school_saluda_county.jpg Utopia Elementary School (1953)], [http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/schools/S112113000002663000/pages/S11211301425.htm Leesville Elementary School] and [http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/schools/S112113000002672000/pages/S11211302008.htm Batesburg Primary School].
The Batesburg-Leesville Elementary School opened 1996 and replaced the Old Batesburg Grade School [http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/schools/S112113000002663000/pages/S11211301437.htm] which had served the fourth and fifth grades and now serves as the Lexington School District Three Administrative Office. The new school allowed third grade to be shifted from the B-L Primary School to the new Elementary School give the current school breakdown by grade.
The Batesburg-Leesville Middle School opened in 1999. This led to the closing of the old middle school campus which had originally been built as Batesburg-Leesville High School in 1921 with numerous additions through the years.
The Batesburg-Leesville High School opened in 1975. The new school was built on the former Summerland College campus on Summerland Avenue. The construction of a new school had been spurred by integration and student population increases. With integration a former building of Summerland College was used as a middle school in the early 1970s but a fire heavily damaged the building and eventually sped up the construction of the new high school. The first class to graduate in Panther Stadium was the class of 1976.
Prior to racial integration statewide, the local African-American students attended Twin-City High School and Hampton School]. Twin-City High School was located on Maple Street in Batesburg where the Twin-City High School Park is now located. The park is owned by the Twin-City Alumni Association. The original two-story wooden Hampton School (1922) was replaced in 1954 by a single story brick structure on South Lee Street in Leesville. The original wooden building was subsequently torn down, but a marker remains under a large tree in the parking lot of Friendship Baptist Church on South Lee Street. Other "colored" schools included [http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/schools/S112113000002663000/pages/S11211301428.htm Leesville Colored Primary School] and [http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/schools/S112113000002672000/pages/S11211302009.htm Batesburg-Saluda Colored School.
There were other older schools which had closed previously to include Delmar School which was located a few miles outside of town. View the Delmar School historical marker at More photographs of these old school buildings may be seen at [https://www.sciway.net/hist/historic-sc-schools-pictures.html SC School Insurance Photos 1935-50.
W. Wyman King Academy and the Ridge Christian School are private, nondenominational Christian schools accepting students in grades K-12.
Colleges and universities
In 2008, Midlands Technical College opened a new Batesburg-Leesville satellite campus in the Leesville Historic District. The campus is within the boundaries of the Leesville College Park at the intersection of Main Street and College Street.
Batesburg-Leesville has a public library, a branch of the Lexington County Library.
Batesburg-Leesville is served weekly by The Twin-City News, which specifically focuses on local news, as well as that from immediately surrounding areas (mostly Gilbert and Monetta). It minimizes national or world news. The Twin-City News was established in 1925 and is Batesburg-Leesville's oldest continuously-operating business.
The town is also served by The State newspaper, which circulates amid most of the state.
In 2007, Lexington County Chronicle and The Dispatch-News began appearing at town stores and business to complement their subscribers in the area. This newspaper covers all county governments, state, national, and international news, to the extent such news concerns Lexington County residents.
Batesburg-Leesville has only one radio station transmitting from within its borders, WBLR 1430 AM. However, Batesburg-Leesville is in range of several radio stations broadcasting from the surrounding areas, including:
Over-the-air channels receivable in Batesburg-Leesville include:
Alternatively, digital cable providers Time Warner Cable and Pond Branch Telecommunications collectively cover the majority of the greater Batesburg-Leesville area.
Batesburg-Leesville is located in western Lexington County at (33.909767, -81.534296). A small portion of the town extends west into Saluda County.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which , or 1.19%, are covered by water.
Batesburg-Leesville is located along the Atlantic Seaboard Fall Line which separates the Piedmont region from the Atlantic coastal plain. Historically, U.S. Route 1 followed this line, and it presently separates the north and south sides of the duel town. Typically in this vicinity, the Piedmont area has a clay soil surface, while the Coastal Plain is sandy.
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 5,270 people, 2,046 households, and 1,458 families residing in the town.
As of the U.S. Census of 2000, there were 5,517 people, 2,167 households, and 1,482 families residing in the town. The population density was 751.4 people per square mile (290.2/km2). There were 2,446 housing units at an average density of 333.2 per square mile (128.7/km2).
The racial makeup of the town was 52.82% White, 45.66% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.40% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.61% of the local population.
There were 2,167 households, of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 22.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.6% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50, and the average family size was 3.03.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $32,865, and the median income for a family was $40,040. Males had a median income of $32,447 versus $22,196 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,078. About 16.1% of families and 18.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 12.5% of those age 65 or over.
Notable figures who were born in, lived in, or are otherwise associated with Batesburg-Leesville include:
Governmental and Military
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Batesburg, SC, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.