Blythewood may be one of the fastest-growing suburbs of metro Columbia, but it hasn’t lost its hometown feel or rural tradition. A 25-minute drive from the capital city, Blythewood feels a world away with its beautiful green pastures, horse farms and family-friendly festivals.
Settled by European farmers in the colonial period, the town originally was known as Doko, believed by many to be a Native American word for “watering hole.” The town took root in the mid-1800s when a railroad line was constructed between Columbia and Charlotte atop a natural ridge dividing the Catawba and Broad River watersheds. The Doko Depot became a popular stop for steam engines to restock with firewood and water.
While the rail line was destroyed by General Sherman in the Civil War, the town rebuilt and went on to change its name to Blythewood after the Blythewood Female Institute, a local private school. The name Doko is still used by the town, most prominently in its signature 22-acre Doko Meadows Park.
Proud of its history, Blythewood relocated its town hall and visitor center to the town’s oldest building, the historic Hoffman House, built in 1855 by George Hoffman, a successful planter who became the town’s first postmaster.
Visitors can learn more about Blythewood’s past at the Blythewood Historical Society and Museum, housed in another historic residence dating back to 1904. The Langford-Nord House is the first stop on the city’s self-guided walking tour of historic Blythewood.
With the surge of families moving to Blythewood in recent years, the town has focused on providing social activities for its residents. Each year, the town hosts a wide array of festivals, concerts and competitions, including the Blythewood Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks, Oktoberfest, Christmas Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade, Bravo Blythewood concert series and Doko Film Fest. Many of the events are held in Doko Meadows Park’s beautiful wave-roofed amphitheater.
The 10th Annual Blythewood DOKO Rodeo, held in April, is another big draw in a town that calls itself “the other horse country.” While Camden and Aiken may be better known for their equestrian events, Blythewood has its own equine bragging rights. The University of South Carolina National Championship Equestrian Team makes its home in Blythewood. There are also a number of horse farms in town that offer English and Western riding instruction for all ages.