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“D” is for Darlington

South Carolina A to Z larger logo

“D” is for Darlington (Darlington County; 2020 population 5,844). Darlington, the “Pearl of the Pee Dee,” lies on a bluff overlooking Swift Creek. Following the formation of Darlington County in 1875, the settlements of Mechanicsville and Cuffey Town vied to become the county seat. As a compromise, rival supporters rode on horseback toward each other and built the courthouse on the spot there they met. In the first century of its existence, the town was devasted by three major fires that destroyed much of the business district. With the introduction of tobacco culture, Darlington blossomed and became the largest tobacco market in the state. In 1950 the Darlington Speedway opened on the outskirts of town. The first race, held on Labor Day 1950, inaugurated a period of NASCAR-induced prosperity. In December 1985, Darlington celebrated its 150th anniversary.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.