By Mary Miller
On Friday, July 25, the SC State Board of Review met at the SC Department of Archives and History for the purpose of reviewing nominations of properties submitted for placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
Four buildings on the J.V. Martin complex were submitted by the Dillon Historic School Foundation for approval. Present from the DHSF were members Gerald Berry, Lorene Arnette, and Mary Miller. Dillon’s nomination was the first presented to the board
After his welcome, William L. Kinney, Jr., Chairman, introduced Caroline D. Wilson, the Upstate Preservation Consultant, who visited Dillon to view, inspect and prepare a written report of the history and condition of the JVM Auditorium, Gymnasium, Cafeteria, and the West Elementary School buildings. During her commentary, Miss Wilson used power point to call attention to the exterior, interior, and prominent features of each of the buildings.
The next speaker was Gerald Berry, Chairman of DHSF. He began with the creation of the group in 2010 and its dedicated purpose of renovating the auditorium for community use. At first DHSA had the support and cooperation of Supt. Ray Rogers, but it had recently been withdrawn.
Mr. Berry went on to emphasize the importance of saving our history so that future generations will appreciate our founding fathers and their visions for our community.
He emphasized the significance of Respect, Protect, and Preserve for our historic sites in Dillon.
Answering the invitation to any other speakers, Mr. Kinney recognized Mr. Bruce Davis who was attending the review with Richard Schafer, Chairman, and Doug Broome of the Dillon County Board of Education, and Ray Rogers, Superintendent of Dillon District Four Schools.
Mr. Davis introduced himself as the representative of the current owners of the properties and, per their instructions, urged the review board to do them the favor of denying the designation of “historic” to the buildings named in the nomination.
The reason he gave was the only building close to the criteria is West Elementary School built in 1896.
The other buildings, according to Mr. Davis, were not historic, just old and crumbling.
He further stated the entire facility of JVM would be abandoned when the administrative offices were moved to the DHS complex and would continue to rot and crumble.
Following a brief period of questions and answers, Mr. Kinney turned his attention to the board members, asking if there were any comments.
Dr. J. Edward Lee, Mayor of York and Professor of History at Winthrop, made the motion to approve the nomination, with second from Mrs. Elaine Harris, Mayor of Pacolet. Members of the board unanimously approved the nomination.
According to Chairman Kinney, the nomination will now go to the South Carolina Department of Interior.
After its review, notice will be given by the SC Department of Archives and History.
By Mary Miller