The town of Blythewood was once known as Doko for the old Doko Depot, a popular stop along the railroad between Columbia and Charlotte, North Carolina. Legend has it that “Doko” derived from a Native American word meaning watering place, and Doko Depot indeed supplied trains with water necessary for steam engines.
Like many South Carolina railroads at the end of the Civil War, the Columbia-Charlotte Railway was destroyed in 1865 by General Sherman. However, unlike many towns dependent on these railways, Doko was able to rebuild – and survive. The town changed its name to Blythewood in 1877 – a name taken from a local school, the Blythewood Female Institute – and was incorporated in 1879. Today Blythewood prides itself on its history and tradition, and its Visitor Center (pictured above) introduces people to Blythewood, past and present. The center operates from its home in the Langford-Nord House, deeded to the town by former owner Cindy Nord in May of 2011.
Another former residence, the Hoffman House, serves the town for public use. Now Blythewood’s city hall, Hoffman House is the oldest building remaining in the town. The home was built in 1855, three years after the completion of the Columbia-Charlotte Railway. The home’s first owner, George Hoffman, was a successful planter and businessman. Records show that in 1860 his inventory included six slaves working 34 acres of land, and later he owned and operated a sawmill. The Hoffman House is listed in the National Register.
The marker dedicated to Hoffman House is a fairly recent addition. Eighth grade students from Blythewood Middle School conducted research on the house as part of a South Carolina history project. While working with an archivist from the University of South Carolina, the students composed the body of information that can be read on the marker. After raising enough funds to add a marker to the Hoffman House, the students dedicated it in May of 2007.
Some of Blythewood’s history can be experienced in unlikely venues. South Carolina Picture Project contributor Jim Jenkins tells us that the store pictured above was once known as “De Sto” and was the hotspot in Blythewood for penny candy. Today it is a children’s store, still bringing smiles to the children of Blythewood.
The Blythewood Civic Center (pictured above and below) – also known as The Manor – is a modern venue for community events, but many of Blyethwood’s cultural activities are held outside in equestrian centers. The practice facility for the University of South Carolina Equestrian Team is in Blythewood, and several United States Olympic equestrian teams have trained in Blythewood as well.
Reflections on Blythewood
Jim Jenkins shares this memory about “De Sto”: “This store currently sells children’s clothes and toys. For many years it was a local favorite of children and families in the community. I hope viewers will add their rememberances to this location.”