The city of Camden is blessed with a rich cultural heritage and an appreciation for the arts, so it comes as good news that a new statuary monument -- a tribute to one of Camden’s long-time business and civic leaders -- is going to grace the new Town Green. This comes not long after the announcement that the Camden Archives grounds will be the site for statues of Bernard Baruch, a Camden native and international financier, and Larry Doby, who broke the color line in the American League.
The new project is a gift from John Argis Hagins Jr., a Greenville attorney who was born and raised in Camden. It will be given in memory of his father, John Argis Hagins Sr., who was president of Belk in Camden for many years and was active in the business and civic affairs of the community. He died in 1995. The elder Hagins organized the Camden Belk store and later oversaw its move to a large building which has since become the Kershaw County Government Center. The elder Hagins lived for decades with his wife, Mary, in Camden and contributed immeasurably to the progress of the town.
The statues will depict King Haiglar and Joseph Kershaw, both of whom are inextricably tied to the history of Camden and Kershaw County. They will be sculpted by local artist Mariah Kirby-Smith, who has also been commissioned to do the Baruch-Doby statues and whose work of a small girl reading can be seen in the Kershaw County Library. When finished, it will stand near the west end of the new Town Green.
This is truly a gift that will continue providing inspiration for many years to come and is a fitting way to honor both the history of this area and one of its outstanding citizens.