City studies historic buildings in southeast Darlington

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

The City of Darlington is launching a research project to study historic buildings in southeastern Darlington, with hopes of expanding the project to other areas.
The city is working with historian Staci Richey of Access Preservation, who has 17 years’ experience in historic preservation, on this Historic Resource Survey. The survey will include photos and descriptions of the buildings and will evaluate them for potential eligibility on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This is one piece of a puzzle,” city planner Lisa Bailey said Jan. 20 after a community meeting to introduce residents to Richey and to explain the project.
“We have five Historic Districts in town,” Bailey said. “There is a tragic hole in the history of Darlington where African-American history was not recorded.”
Much of that history took place in southeastern Darlington, where Georgia-Pacific’s Dixie Cup operations are planning a $140 million expansion, Bailey said. “We’re going to have that development pressure. Before development comes, we need to know what’s here in terms of history, so we don’t just tear something down unnecessarily.”
The researchers are looking for “anything about the community in this section of town, basically from Wal-Mart to A Avenue, from South Main to Dixie Cup,” Bailey said. “Any kind of history or information, we want to capture that. It may not all end up in this actual report. This report may be more building-focused.”
“We need to know what’s here, or what was here,” she said.
The report Richey produces will be preserved at the S.C. Department of Archives and History, “and of course, at the city level and county level as well,” Bailey said.
This project will continue through most of this year. In the future, Bailey said, the city would like to do similar projects in other areas of town, such as southwest Darlington and the West End, where the Milliken cotton mill was based.
If you would like to offer information for the survey, you can contact Richey at 803-546-4888 or at or Bailey at 843-992-1561.

Author: Stephan Drew

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