City donates $5,000 to memorial to ‘Old Mill’

By Bobby Bryant, Editor,

A citizens’ group is $5,000 closer to completing a memorial to “the Old Mill,” thanks to a donation from the city of Darlington.

City Council voted April 2 to give the nonprofit West End Heritage Corp. $5,000 from the city’s hospitality funds. The money will go toward a Pearl Street memorial to the Darlington Manufacturing Co., which was not just a job, but “a way of life,” for generations of employees from 1883 to 1956.

Peggy Sheffield, treasurer for the citizens’ group working to build the memorial to the textile mill, told council that the group needs $20,000 to $30,000 to finish the project, which should look like “a small park” when completed.

“I am here tonight to ask you for help,” Sheffield told council. “ … We have raised enough money to purchase the land at the corner of Cleveland and Pearl streets and to pay for the monument. … We are now trying to raise enough money to complete this memorial.”

“The cotton mill is a part of our history and our heritage,” she said.

When owner Roger Milliken shut down the mill in 1956 after employees tried to unionize, about 500 people were thrown out of work, devastating Darlington’s economy, she said.

In other business during a very short 45-minute meeting last week, council approved a $35,000 bid from Gardner Roofing of Hartsville to re-roof the old Carnegie Library building on Main Street.

City Manager Howard Garland said that the roof on the building, formerly the city’s main library, has been leaking since at least last summer.

Council also gave initial approval to a “corrective” rezoning plan for a section of Pearl Street that will switch the area from residential to commercial, reflecting the fact that the area is virtually all businesses now.

The zoning change will affect 201 Orange St., 105 N. Dargan St., 204 Pearl St., 208 Pearl St., 212 Pearl St. and 102 N. Sycamore St.

Also, Mayor Gloria Hines proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and council designated April as Fair Housing Month.

Author: Rachel Howell

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