Historical Commission considers county tourism guide

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

The Darlington County Historical Commission board of directors met Oct. 6 and discussed a number of agenda items, one of which could possible lead to the publication of a new local tourism book.

Board chair Bill Segars and DCHC director Brian Gandy said the book – proposed by tourism guide author Scott Lynch and Darlington County administrator Terence Arrington – would be called “Top 50 Things to Do in Darlington County” and would include local recreation highlights and historical locations of note.

DCHC would split the $7,343 cost of authorship three ways with county administration and the Darlington County Recreation Department, paying about $2,400 to have the book created. Segars and Gandy said that since this money is currently an unbudgeted expense, the project is entirely contingent on the county paying all ensuing publication and printing costs. The board opted to postpone any decision on this project until firm agreements are in place regarding publication expenses.

A request from Arrington for DCHC to look into repairing a fence and gate at the Henry “Dad” Brown cemetery was considered and refused for two reasons: DCHC has no money budgeted for cemetery work at this time, and this particular fence is located on private property. DCHC, by precedent, does not conduct preservation work on private property.

Segars noted only one exception: a single grave monument in the Norwood Cemetery in the Byrdtown community, where the family gave DCHC money to maintain the gravesite.

Gandy said projects using the DCHC’s new scanner are already underway, and he thanked donors Steve and Anita Nail for the generous gift that allowed for the purchase of the scanner and four flat screen televisions to display slide shows of photos and information around the building.

The scanner will be used to duplicate fragile older documents, allowing the public to view digital copies and eliminating handling damage. Gandy said it has already proven very useful in the scanning and preservation of fifty Civil War-era letters written by Mr. and Mrs. E.G. Parks.

“They are phenomenal,” Gandy said of the letters, noting that the eight-year correspondence between E.G. Parks and his wife chronicles Parks’ service in the Civil War and his fortune-hunting trip to California for the Gold Rush, right up until he died of cholera. The letters contain a treasure trove of authentic and detailed information, and Gandy said he had greatly enjoyed scanning and transcribing their stories.

Bobby Kilgo, a descendant of E.G. Parks, will read from these letters at the Oct. 22 meeting of the Darlington County Historical Society, which will take place at 12 noon at the Darlington County Club.

Gandy said that he is working on a temporary collection displaying non-government documents and gifts from various heads of state given to former SC Governor David Beasley.

The next meeting of the Darlington County Historical Commission board will be Nov. 15 at 10 am at the DCHC Building, 204 Hewitt Street in Darlington.

Author: Duane Childers

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