Hartsville receives historic-preservation award

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

Hartsville City Council member Tre Gammage.
Photo by Samantha Lyles

Hartsville City Council and the city’s African- American Cemetery Committee were honored at council’s April 9 meeting for ongoing efforts to reclaim and preserve the historic Marion Avenue Cemetery.

Jannie Harriott, executive director of the S.C. African-American Heritage Commission, presented City Council with the “Preserving Our Places in History” award.

Members of the Cemetery Committee were previously honored at a banquet held April 4 at the South Carolina Archives and History Center in Columbia.

“For a small city like us to be recognized for a state award like this means a whole lot to us,” said Council member Tre Gammage, chairman of the African-American Cemetery Committee.

Researchers have found that many notable Hartsville citizens are interred at this pre-19th century site, including 17 veterans of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, as well as some veterans of the Spanish-American War.

The Marion Avenue Cemetery is also the resting place of the Rev. Henry H. Butler, principal of Butler School from 1909 to 1946 and pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church. At least 42 people born into slavery were buried at Marion Avenue.

Gammage noted that volunteers meet every second Saturday to clean up and make improvements to the cemetery. To learn more about these efforts or how to volunteer, visit hartsvillesc.gov.

On the regular agenda, Council greenlighted an application for a National Recreation and Park Association / Disney Play Spaces Grant in the amount of $16,450. If received, this grant would require matching funds from the city. The $32,900 in total funds would be used to establish three new pocket parks in South Hartsville featuring play areas, basketball courts, and outdoor grills.

Final approval was granted for US Cellular to upgrade communications equipment installed on the Magnolia Cemetery Water Tower. Under the amended agreement with the city, US Cellular will remove three old antennas and install six new ones, along with three new hybrid lines and ancillary radio units. This amended agreement will provide the city with an additional $6,000 in rent each year.

Council also presented proclamations to the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault naming April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

A proclamation also set aside April 19 as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day. Two local parents who lost a child to this disorder accepted the proclamation from Mayor Mel Pennington. According to the proclamation, this life-threatening birth defect limits growth of the lungs and occurs in every 1 of 2,500 live births in the United States, accounting for 8 percent of all major congenital anomalies.

Author: Rachel Howell

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