Blythewood, South Carolina, (population 1,465) was formerly named Doko. One tradition holds that Doko is a Native American name meaning “watering place,” while another source states that Doko was an African name meaning “where the iron horse drinks.” Settlement formed around the Doko railroad depot that served as a connector along the new railroad from Columbia, South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina.
In approximately 1877, the community was renamed Blythewood, after the local private school, the Blythewood Female Institute. On December 24, 1879, the village community was incorporated by an act of the South Carolina General Assembly as the town of Blythewood.
The railroad was the catalyst for the town’s economic development, transporting out local cotton, lumber, produce, and turpentine. The railroad was destroyed by the Union Army on February 20, 1865. After the Civil War, the railroad was rebuilt and served Blythewood for 98 more years until train service declined.
During their South Carolina History class, eighth graders at Blythewood Middle School researched and raised awareness of the Hoffman House, which serves as the town hall and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After learning about historical markers, the students worked with a South Carolina University archivist to prepare text for a historical marker, and raised money for it. The marker was dedicated on May 22, 2007. The eighth grade students also created informative brochures about the Hoffman House.
Blythewood is known as a community of horse enthusiasts. In the 1960s, J.J. Ranch was founded as a Texas-style ranch. Today, Blythewood is home to the University of South Carolina’s equestrian team. Large horse farms are located throughout the area, with many riders participating in the popular Annual Christmas Parade. The parade also features antique farm equipment, mules, wagons, and antique cars. Additionally, Santa rides on a locally bred and raised mule.
Blythewood draws upon its agricultural heritage when planning community events. The Bounty of Blythewood Festival allows local restaurants and the Blythewood High School Culinary School to showcase their specialties and highlight local fare, such as grits and barbecue. The Farmers Market held each month from June–December only features local vendors, with locally grown or made products.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2009.