Buildings on Howell Street in 2018
|o Total||5.11 sq mi (13.23 km2)|
|o Land||5.09 sq mi (13.18 km2)|
|o Water||0.02 sq mi (0.04 km2)|
|Elevation||801 ft (244 m)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||878/sq mi (339.0/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0331924|
Hartwell was founded in 1854 as seat of the newly formed Hart County. It was incorporated as a town in 1856 and as a city in 1904. The town was named for Revolutionary War figure Nancy Morgan Hart.
Hartwell is located in central Hart County at  It sits 4 miles (6 km) southwest of Lake Hartwell, which acquired its name from the city. Hartwell is in the Piedmont region of Georgia, or the Upland South, and lies 30 miles (48 km) southeast of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains at Toccoa.(34.352738, -82.931161).
U.S. Route 29 passes through the center of Hartwell, leading east 7 miles (11 km) to the South Carolina border at Hartwell Dam on the Savannah River, and southwest 12 miles (19 km) to Royston. Anderson, South Carolina, is 23 miles (37 km) to the northeast via US 29, and Athens, Georgia, is 43 miles (69 km) to the southwest. Georgia State Route 51 also passes through Hartwell, leading north 7 miles (11 km) to Reed Creek and west 9 miles (14 km) to Bowersville.
As of the census of 2010, there were 4,469 people. There were 2,266 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 61.33% White, 34.53% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 1.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.07% of the population.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,128 and the median income for a family was $45,909. The per capita income for the city was $18,937. About 15.4% of families and 23.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.5% of those under age 18 and 20.6% of those age 65 or over.
Hartwell is located in the humid subtropical climate zone of the Southeastern United States. It is in the Piedmont Plateau region, along the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains, at an elevation just above 800 feet (240 m). Due to some of the highest of elevations in the Appalachians being between Hartwell and Canada, this allows for slightly warmer conditions than areas further south such as Atlanta. One exception to this rule is called the "wedge" or cold air damming. This is due to a large high pressure system in eastern Canada driving colder drier air down against the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountain range. When this phenomenon is joined by gulf moisture, it frequently causes ice storms or freezing rain in the region. This same geographical feature can also cause frequent drought.
Hartwell averages 51.96 inches (1,320 mm) of precipitation annually. The average snowfall is 2 inches (51 mm), although more can fall, and the city is just as likely to have no measurable snowfall in any given year. The 1993 Storm of the Century brought 6 inches (150 mm) of snow to the area.
The Hart County School District holds pre-school to grade twelve, and consists of three elementary schools, a middle school, a high school, and an academy school. The district has 230 full-time teachers and over 3,564 students.
The Hart County Public Library was begun in 1938 with rooms over Homer Herndon's drug store, then moved to the County Courthouse in 1941 until 1968 when the courthouse burned down. It was then located in the County School Board building until funds were raised for a permanent building in 1975.