Today in Darlington County History on Tuesday, June 29, 1920 the Segars’ Bathing Resort in Hartsville, is chartered.
Here in Darlington County, as the mercury rises, so does our interest in places that offer a cool and refreshing reprieve from our summer heat. Today, we have the benefit/curse of air-conditioning and kids typically do not venture outdoors. They are to be found indoors, in front of the television, engrossed in the newest video game or wrapped up in internet streamed entertainment that never slows or stops. As a kid, I remember the agony caused by rainy days and feeling trapped inside like a prisoner enduring a life sentence. The feeling of seeing the sun finally piercing though the clouds was wonderful. Finally, I was able to escape the indoors so that I could enjoy the wilds of nature.
In the 1920’s, you would have been longing for a cool spring, a shade tree, or a place like Segars’ Bathing Resort. The resort was chartered on June 29, 1920 by H. K. Segars, E. H. Segars and J. C. Hungerpiller and quickly gained a reputation as Hartsville’s most popular place to beat the summer heat.
The swimming area was 40 feet wide and 90 feet long and unlike the typical swimming
holes found in most creeks, Segars’ Mill was mechanized. There was a continuous belt of machine driven, heavy rope that ran the length of the pool on pulleys. This system would allow swimmers to “Ride the Ropes” the lengths of the pool. Swimmers could also enjoy a water powered merry-go-round. We know that the swimming area was boarded up to about waist high and that along the sides of pool were narrow walkways that were lined with benches. The swimming area was graded from shallow to deep so that it could easily accommodate anyone. On the shallow end, there was a sliding board that undoubtedly provided hours of enjoyment.
Along with swimming, other amenities were offered. On the east side of the resort stood a two-story pavilion that had dressing rooms available for rent on first floor and a dance hall on the second. On the west side of the resort, shaded by huge trees were a number of picnic tables that were available by reservation. Mr. Segars also ran a small store on site that offered refreshments, picnic items, candy and cold drinks.
The tales of times spent at Segars’ Mill still fill the air as groups of aged adults reminisce about the “good old days” of yesteryear. In their stories you can still hear the excitement that a trip to Segars’ Mill would bring. I only have the historical record to look at, but that record clearly tells a story full of fun, merriment, excitement and relaxation. All offering reprieves from the fierce summer heat.
Below are photos from 2001, taken by Bill Segars (whose birthday condenses with the chartering of the resort….June 29th).