is a city in and the county seat
of Darlington County
, in the northeastern part of the U.S. state
of South Carolina
. It is a center for tobacco
farming. The population was 6,720 at the 2000 census (12,066 total pop. of Darlington Urban Cluster) and is part of the Florence Metropolitan Statistical Area
. It is the county seat
of Darlington County
. Darlington, theorized to be named for the Revolutionary War Colonel Darlington, is known for its Darlington Oak
and Spanish moss
. Darlington County was named thus by an Act in March of 1785. Darlington is best known for Darlington Raceway
, a superspeedway
that is home to an annual NASCAR
race. Darlington is also the site of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame.
In June 1875 farmers from all over the county came to witness the infamous double hanging in front of the Darlington Jail. Spectators stayed overnight and there was a need for an extra passenger train to be added to the railway for this event.
Darlington Court House and Public Square
The public square and the Court House now sit in their present location because of an argument between two men, Colonel Lamuel Benton and Captain Elias Dubose in the late 1700s. The tale goes that the disagreement began over whether the courthouse should be located in Mechanicsville
or Cuffey Town South Carolina
. It was said that the two compromised, each beginning in their town traveling on horseback until reaching one another. The spot where they met is now the site of the Darlington public square and courthouse. A fire in March 1806 destroyed the original Court House. It was rumored at the time that an old woman was responsible for the flames in an attempt to burn papers connected to her coming court case. Between 1824 and 1825 it was rebuilt with brick due to a petition to build all buildings on the Public Square in brick to prevent the spread of fire.
In 1818 Darlington's growth proved time to build a school. The first schoolhouse built was named the Darlington Academy.in the year 1860, the name was changed to St. John's Academy. This building served educational purposes as well as the site for fund-raising and the lottery. St. John's Academy was later renamed St. John's High School, and later underwent renovation followed by another name change to Darlington High
when it combined with Mayo High School in 1995.
In September, 2006 work was finished on the Darlington County Institute of Technology, Darlington Middle, and Hartsville Middle
There is also a magnet school called Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology.
In the 1820s denominations, mostly the Baptists
met at the Court House. The Presbyterians
built the first church. With the help of donations from all denominations the church was built with the understanding that all denominations could have access to the building. The Baptists
built their church in 1831, which had been planned since 1829. The Methodists
built third in 1834 where the Methodist Cemetery is now located. The present day United Methodist church ([Trinity United Methodist Church]) sanctuary was constructed in 1901.
The Civil War
No battles during the Civil War occurred in Darlington. One of Sherman's lieutenants, a former architect, was sent to burn down part of Darlington. When he arrived and saw a house that he had designed, he left the house and the rest of the town standing. The Federal troops burned down the depot, cotton platforms and railroad trestles in 1865. During this time, St. John's Academy was used as a hospital. The also did some foraging. In 1865 Federal troops passed through Darlington and hanged a slave on the Public Square for insurrection. After the war, the town was occupied by troops which were not withdrawn until 1871. By 1865, Darlington was the Headquarters for the Third Separate Brigade of the Military District of Eastern South Carolina and the Freedman's Bureau
. In 1866, during the occupation the worst fire to ever hit Darlington burned down the Court House and the Jail. It was rumored that drunken Federal soldiers were to blame. It is to be noted that Evander M. Law
, confederate general, was born in Darlington.
The Darlington Guards
As the south readied itself for secession
, Darlington formed the Darlington Guards. When South Carolina seceded, they were the first called upon to defend Charleston. After their term of enlistment was over, the men returned to Darlington to reenlist in regiments going to Virginia. The Darlington Guards existed at this time for almost two years. They reorganized in later years and receive their own Armory in 1893. Governor B.R. Scarborough
called them to the scene of the Darlington Riot of 1894
. They were the first in the state to volunteer for the Spanish American War in May 1898. They were also seen by President William McKinley
in Savannah, Georgia
before being sent to Cuba
for occupation duties near Havana
. After coming home, they continued to serve in the National Guard
. In 1915 the group retired from service again only to be reinstated and sent to the Mexican Border in 1916. After returning home, they found themselves caught in World War I
. The last surviving member, Thomas W. Buchanan died in 1984.
Darlington is located at (34.301370, -79.868659).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11.1 km²), all of it land.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 6,720 people, 2,812 households, and 1,765 families residing in the city. The population density
was 1,565 people per square mile (604.8/km²). There were 3,140 housing units at an average density of 731.7/sq mi (282.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.04% African American
, 42.50% White
, 0.16% Native American
, 0.36% Asian
, 0.01% Pacific Islander
, 0.51% from other races
, and 0.42% from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race was 1.01% of the population.
There were 2,812 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.3% were married couples living together, 24.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 79.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 70.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $24,869, and the median income for a family was $33,971. Males had a median income of $28,110 versus $20,206 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,454. About 24.9% of families and 29.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.9% of those under age 18 and 29.5% of those age 65 or over.