A History of Darlington, South Carolina

Darlington County Court House - Darlington, SC (2007)

Darlington is built on legends. Legend has it that Darlington farmland is so fertile, farmers once sold it by the wagonful. Regardless of whether or not its true, each fall the fields lining the roads are white with cotton. It is the county seat of Darlington County.

Another legend tells of Harold Brasington and his dream to make Darlington the center of the stock car universe. Though mocked at the time, Brasington refused to give up. He won the land for the racetrack on a play of cards and began building Darlington International Raceway, the country’s oldest paved superspeedway. Nowadays, Darlington International Raceway, with it's egg-shaped track, is known as the track too tough to tame. Twice a year, the sounds of racing engines fill the air and thousands of NASCAR fans descend on Darlington County. The Southern 500 has become a race that makes history and builds heroes.

Yet another legend speaks of a young Northern architect, J.L. Klickner, who was asked to design a house for Colonel Samuel Hugh Wildes in 1857. When the American Civil War erupted, Mr. Klickner joined the northern forces and was sent to South Carolina. In Darlington, the northern forces were about to burn down a house when one member of the unit, Mr. Klickner, suddenly recognized his own creation. He was able to intercede and the house was saved. Nowadays, the house still stands, tall and proud. It is undergoing an extensive renovation to bring it back to the showcase it once was.

Perhaps the best legends are the personal stories of the people that live in Darlington. These fine folk epitomize Southern hospitality and always seem to make visitors feel welcome.

Agriculture, racing, history, and hospitality are the cornerstones of Darlington. Visitors can be sure that they will experience Southern hospitality at its best while making memories for a lifetime.

Darlington International Raceway - Darlington, South Carolina

Centrally located in northeastern South Carolina, Darlington is known for its natural environs, a vibrant culture, and enduring traditions. The city is fifteen miles north of Florence and eighty miles from Myrtle Beach, a popular vacation and golfing destination. Locals are proud of the area's history, including the notable "Darlington War," a revolt fought in 1894 against liquor regulations. The tale is preserved at the Darlington County Museum, along with other local lore and artifacts.

Regional commerce is centered on agriculture, industry, and tourism. The fertile soil of the region is particularly conducive to growing tobacco, and Darlington is the state's largest producer of the leafy cash crop. Outdoor activities abound in local parks and surrounding preserves. Attractions include the NASCAR Stockcar Hall of Fame, which is home to numerous stock cars, trophies, and related memorabilia, and Darlington International Raceway. Thousands converge on Darlington each year to watch racing events at the Raceway, proudly described as "Too tough to tame."

In 1954, Goodyear Tire Company conducted tire tests at Darlington, SC, for the NASCAR Convertible Series, using a tire designed for police cars.
August 7, 1836 Evander McIvor Law was born.

Confederate General Evander McIvor Law was born in Darlington, South Carolina. Law had a distinguished career in the Confederate Army and earned a reputation as a brave and effective field commander. He studied in public school and attended the South Carolina Military Academy, graduating in 1856.

Law, who attended the Citadel and studied law after his graduation, built a pre-war career as a military instructor. After teaching briefly at the Citadel, Law instructed at Kings Mountain Military Academy in South Carolina. He then moved to Tuskeegee, Alabama, to open a new military school. When the war broke out, Law became a lieutenant colonel in the Fourth Alabama Infantry.

Law's unit saw immediate action at the First Battle of Bull Run in July of 1861. He was wounded, but was promoted to colonel shortly afterward, and fought at the Seven Days' Battles, Second Bull Run, and Antietam. His leadership at Antietam earned him a promotion to brigadier general in October of 1862. He was also cited for bravery at Fredericksburg, where he led his troops on foot after his horse was shot out from under him. Although he advanced quickly in the army, he also feuded with his corps commander, James Longstreet.

Law served in General John Bell Hood's division, and led the attack on Little Round Top at Gettysburg. He assumed command of the division when Hood was seriously wounded. Law and his troops, along with the rest of Longstreet's corps, were sent to assist fighting in the west. At Chickamauga, he took over after Hood was again wounded in battle. He then returned to Virginia, and fought in the campaign of 1864 before suffering a serious wound himself at the Battle of Cold Harbor. He spent most of 1864 recovering, and at the end of the war was in General Joseph Johnston's army, which surrendered to General William T. Sherman in North Carolina.

After the war, Law returned to his career as a military instructor, primarily at a school he founded in Bartow, Florida. He was the last surviving Confederate general at his death in 1920.

James Patrick Kilgo, an essayist and novelist, wrote with a reverence for the natural world and a deep and abiding sense of family and history. His essays on hunting, nature, family, and personal introspection won him national attention, and his novel, "Daughter of My People," earned him the Townsend Prize for Fiction.

The son of John and Caroline Kilgo, he was born and grew up in Darlington, South Carolina. He received his undergraduate degree from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kilgo joined the faculty at the University of Georgia in 1967, where he received five Outstanding Honors Professor awards and the Honoratus Award for Excellence in Teaching. He directed the creative writing program from 1994 to 1996 and retired from teaching in 1999. Kilgo, who battled cancer for more than ten years, died in 2002 at the age of 61.

As Darlington Court House, the town was granted a U.S. Post Office on October 1, 1801, and its first Postmaster was Mr. Jesse Dubose. In 1898, the Post Office Department officially changed its name simply to Darlington. It has been in continuous operation ever since inception.
Click Here to view / download a 2017 map of Darlington, SC. Adobe PDF file. Fairly large.

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