The house is much older than the town in which it stands, and almost as old as the countryside. Its history dates back more than 200 years and, according to tradition, it once served as a stopping point for stagecoaches. Now, Lexington County Hartley House has been given new life as an event venue, thanks to the work of a local couple.
Owner and headquarters manager Crystal Mustard and her husband heard from her sister last year that the then owners of Hartley House in Batesburg-Leesville were interested in selling.
“We looked at it and fell in love instantly,” Mustard said. “And I had a vision for this place, which would be a great wedding venue.”
Not many 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 present form since 1830. The Bonds-Bates-Hartley owned it for more than 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 four rooms below are the same size and layout as the four rooms upstairs. And they’re about 300 square feet each, ”she explained. The setting allows for easy adjustments for small or large groups, and Mustard and her husband are working hard to make even bigger events possible.
“We are effectively renovating our entire yard and putting more than one hardscape area in place for a reception site,” he said, adding that they hope to finish that work by the end of this summer. “So if you have 150 to 200 people, you expand outwards. We are planning to take a really huge tent and then make some beautiful landscaping and gardens out there. “
Mustard, who has experience in event management and fundraising, is the only full-time employee at Hartley House, with her engineer husband helping out 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 off to visitors.
“Everyone in this town wants you to be here. Everyone is doing their best to get people to manifest themselves this way and show people what Batesburg-Leesville has to offer. This is the most supportive community I’ve ever experienced. In every restaurant you eat, in every shop you go to, there is always a smiling and friendly face. This is a great little town, “Mustard said.” Most people only know Shealy’s Bar-B-Que and the Poultry Festival. I wish people knew there is more to do out here, like some small ones. great and cute boutiques in downtown Leesville.
In addition to hosting weddings, the Mustards plan to throw a Christmas party at Hartley House this year, as well as other special events open to the public. Despite everything, they are making sure, especially with weddings, that they offer something that people can afford.
“We were able to renew it and offer it for such an affordable price too, because it’s next to impossible to organize a wedding on a decent budget these days,” Mustard said. “We are not like the economic headquarters, but our prices are very competitive.”
Hartley House offers all-inclusive event packages, but the owners are very flexible.
“It’s all inclusive if you want it, but we don’t require it. If you want to use your suppliers, that’s fine with us, but if you wanted us to do everything for you, we could too. So you really do have options here, ”Mustard said.
Before there was a Batesburg, a Leesville or a Columbia, there was Hartley House. Before the turn of the 19th century, a family welcomed guests into the beautiful house. Now, in 2022, the Mustards welcome them again.
For more information, visit hartleyhouseevents.com.