Museum can borrow City Hall cornerstone

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

In front of Darlington City Hall sits a rectangle of bricks topped by a marble slab. This is the cornerstone for the original City Hall on the Public Square.
The date on the cornerstone slab is 1901. It lists the mayor at the time, W.M. Haynsworth, the city “aldermen,” N.L. Harrell, A.J. Baird, L.S. Welling and T.E. Slich, the architect, Frank Milburn, and the builder, W.J. Wilkins.
Last week, Darlington County historian Brian Gandy asked if he could borrow it for eventual display at the county’s new historical museum, which is now being built, and City Council agreed.
“As much as it is a county museum, it is somewhat equally a city museum, to a certain extent,” Gandy told City Council during its April 5 meeting. Gandy, director of the Darlington County Historical Commission and Museum, said a two-story atrium is being planned for the “expanded” museum building.
The atrium will feature the façade of the 1875 Courthouse, life-size, Gandy said, along with an 1890 rendition of “the approach coming up Pearl Street to the Courthouse” and a Victorian carriage. He said they’ve been given one of the clock faces from the original City Hall, “and it would be mighty nice to have the cornerstone underneath that.”
He asked council to loan out the cornerstone to the museum once it’s ready to receive it, and council endorsed the idea.
In other business last week, council gave initial approval to a measure that would move up its regular monthly meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 6, partly to bring council’s meeting time more in line with other local governments (such as County Council and the school board) and partly to help avoid meetings that go late.
Included in that measure was some language that would have ratified an ordinance council discussed, but never passed, in 2019, setting two minutes as the amount of time members of the public would get for speaking to council at the beginning of sessions. Some council members objected, saying they wanted to keep allowing the public to get up to five minutes as they do now, and the measure was changed to five minutes. The total time for public comment would be capped at 30 minutes.
Also, council agreed to spend $5,250 to rent 10 floats representing the city and City Council in May’s parade promoting next month’s NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway. This parade will take the place of the September Southern 500 parade, which has been sidelined by the pandemic for two years.

Author: Stephan Drew

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