The Darlington County Historical Commission as it was created by Act of the South Carolina General Assembly has taken seriously its charge to mark historical sites within the county. Since the 1936 establishment of the South Carolina Historical Marker Program, the Commission have researched and marked 75 historic sites within Darlington County. It is said that the Darlington County has 561 square land miles, which calculates to a historical marker every 7 square land miles. The county is ranked number 4 out of the 46 counties in South Carolina in marking our historic building, churches, organizations and influential citizens. The County budgets for two historical markers per year as a capital expenditure. The process of researching, site selection and approval, text and text approval can get time consuming, so the Commission maintains a running list of approved sites. This list has been voted on and approved by the Board of Commissioners, the Counties sponsoring organization. In many cases pre-research has already been done. Currently, there are 75 Commission approved sites that are on a waiting list that, at the rate of two per year would span through 2053.
The Commission regularly communicates with organizations about this list and supports any endeavors on their part to raise the money needed to fund a marker submission prior to the counties budgeting ability. Markers may be sponsored by historical, patriotic, civic, or other organizations, or by institutions such as church congregations or schools and colleges. Though individuals may not sponsor markers, they may propose and pay for them provided the marker is sponsored through the Darlington County Historical Commission. The staff of the Darlington County Historical Commission is always more than willing to assist an interested group with any research and formulating the historical text for a marker.
The markers are intended to mark and interpret places important to the history of Darlington County as the sites of significant events, or at historic properties such as buildings, sites, structures, or other resources significant for their design, as examples of a type, or for their association with institutions or individuals significant in local, state, or national history.
The South Carolina Historical Marker Program has established criteria for what places may and may not be marked, and for the process by which accurate and appropriate marker texts are approved by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Though markers interpret historic places they are not an official historic preservation designation, such as is the case with the National Register of Historic Places or National Historic Landmark programs.
- Markers will only be approved for historic places that are at least 50 years old, places associated with significant events that occurred at least 50 years ago, and places associated with significant persons who died at least 50 years ago.
- Markers may be approved for buildings or structures that are either significantly altered or no longer standing under the same criteria as other historic places.
- Markers will not memorialize families or individuals associated with historic places. Markers may, however, interpret the lives and careers of significant persons associated with historic places, as evaluated in the context of local, state, or national history.
- Markers will not recognize living persons, even persons of statewide or national significance associated with historic places.
- Markers may be approved for historic properties or sites closely associated with deceased significant persons, but ONLY if: a) the property is the single property or site in the state which best represents the individual’s community of birth or residence, productive career, association with a particular institution, or association with a significant event, AND b) no other site in South Carolina closely associated with the individual and significant primarily for that association has already been marked.
- Markers will not include lists of significant persons associated with historic places or institutions.
- Markers for schools, colleges, or universities will not discuss the later careers and achievements of alumni, or list the fields of endeavor in which they gained significance. Markers will focus on the school as an institution and will not list or discuss any persons who attended or graduated from it.
- Markers may be approved for cemeteries based on their significance to a particular community; significant persons buried there, their association with significant events, or their significance in gravestone art. Markers will not be approved for individual graves or plots within cemeteries.
Individual components of a historic property already marked as an entity are not eligible for additional historical markers.