TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: Johnny Mantz won first Southern 500

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Historical marker for Darlington International Raceway

TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: On September 4, 1950, Johnny Mantz of Long Beach, California, won the first Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C. He drove a 1950 Plymouth Coupe, and his First Place Prize was $11,500. The track had been built under the leadership of Harold Brasington.

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Arcade Hotel opens for business

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On September 1, 1913, Hartsville’s Arcade Hotel officially opened for business. Here is a brief sketch of the hotel from Darlington County: A Pictorial History by Horace Rudisill:

The Hartsville Arcade Hotel Company was chartered on August 7, 1912, by J.J. Lawton and Associates. He awarded the building contract to his kinsman, J. Maner Lawton, and to Lawton’s colleague, A.E. Abbott of Abbeville, South Carolina, for $51,000.  They commenced working on the project on January 1, 1913, and eight months later the hotel opened its doors. The first manager was W. H. McFall who later moved to Darlington and bought his own hotel. The Arcade opened with forty-two rooms on the second and third floors. The first floor contained the lobby, dining room, kitchen, barber shop, and a sample room for traveling salesmen. The era of small-town hotels began to fade with the coming of motels after World War II.

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Spotlight On: Long Bluff

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One of the first settlements within the boundary of present day Darlington County was that at Long Bluff in 1748. It also was the site of the historical Long Bluff Courthouse established by the Circuit Court Act of the Legislature of 1769, making it one of six operating Courthouses established at that time outside Charleston.

On November 15, 1774, Circuit Judge William Henry Drayton delivered in this Courthouse his famous charge to the Grand Jury: (From History of Old Cheraws)

. . .”I know no master but the law, and I am a servant, not to the King, but to the Constitution; and, in my estimation, I shall best discharge my duty as a good subject to the King, and a trusty officer under the Constitution when I boldly declare the law to the people, and instruct them in their civil rights.”

This charge helped fan the patriotic flames in the back-country against the English crown.

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Spotlight On: Society Hill Library

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Old Society Hill Library is now located on the grounds of St. David’s Academy. The oldest lending library in South Carolina (exclusive of those in Charleston and Georgetown), it was built by the Society Hill Library Society, which was organized in 1822. The library has not functioned as such for many years, and is opened only on special occasions.

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Spotlight On: Williamson’s Bridge

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Site of a Revolutionary War skirmish between Tories and a band of Whig forces, led by Col. Lamuel Benton.

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We here at DCHC are dedicated to promoting the rich and varied history of Darlington County. So if you enjoy our posts, please Like us on Facebook by clicking here. And, by all means, follow our blog as well.