The house is much older than the city where it is located and almost as old as the country. Its history goes back more than 200 years and, according to tradition, it once served as a stagecoach stop. Today, Lexington County’s Hartley House has been given new life as an event venue, thanks to the work of a local couple.
Last year, venue owner and manager Crystal Mustard and her husband learned from her sister that the owners of Hartley House in Batesburg-Leesville were interested in selling.
“We watched it and fell in love instantly,” Mustard said. “And I had a vision for this place, that it would be an amazing wedding venue.”
Few places can offer the history of Hartley House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally built around 1790, it has remained in its current form since 1830. The Bonds-Bates-Hartleys retained ownership of it for over two centuries before selling it in 2015.
Mustard says the house lends itself perfectly to hosting weddings and other events.
“The house itself is a Greek Revival farmhouse. So the bottom four pieces are the same size and layout as the top four pieces. And they’re about 300 square feet each,” she explained. The setup allows for easy adjustments for small or large groups, and Mustard and her husband work hard to make even bigger events possible.
“We are in the process of renovating our entire backyard and developing more of a hardscape area for a reception site,” she said, adding that they hoped this work would be completed. by the end of this summer. “Then if you have 150 to 200 people, you expand outwards. We plan to get a really big tent and then do some really nice landscaping and landscaping there.
Mustard, who has a background in event management and fundraising, is the only full-time employee at Hartley House, with her engineer husband lending a hand when needed in the new family business. The Mustards are both originally from the Midlands and now live in Batesburg-Leesville, a place they are happy to call home and eager to show visitors.
“Everyone in this town wants you here. Everyone is doing their best to get people to come out this way and show people what Batesburg-Leesville has to offer. It’s the most supportive community anywhere I’ve ever lived. Every restaurant you eat at, every store you walk into, there is always a smiling, friendly face. It’s such a beautiful little town,” Mustard said. “Most people only know about Shealy’s Bar-B-Que and the Poultry Festival. Wish people knew there is more to do here than that, like great cute little shops in downtown Leesville.
As well as hosting weddings, the Mustards plan to hold a year-end party at Hartley House this year, as well as other special events open to the public. Through it all, they make sure, especially with weddings, that they offer something people can afford.
“We were able to renovate it and offer it at such an affordable price, because it’s almost impossible to have a wedding on a decent budget these days,” Mustard said. “We don’t like the budget place, but our prices are very competitive.”
Hartley House offers all-inclusive packages for events, but the owners are very flexible.
“It’s all-inclusive if you want it, but we don’t need it. If you want to use your own suppliers, that’s fine with us, but if you want us to do it all for you, we can do that too. So you really have options here,” Mustard said.
Before there was a Batesburg or a Leesville or a Columbia, the Hartley House was there. Before the turn of the 19th century, a family hosted guests in the beautiful house. From now on, in 2022, the Mustards welcome them again.
For more information, visit hartleyhouseevents.com.