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Preserving history

Blaney-Elgin Museum committee planning museum

Posted: August 22, 2014 2:20 p.m.
Updated: August 25, 2014 6:00 a.m.
Tenell Felder/C-I

Sonny Goff stands in front of his family’s store, Goff’s Feed and Tacks, which was the old train depot for Elgin. Goff’s father bought and moved the depot to the current location in the 1970s.

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A hard working group of Elgin community members is diligently working to establish Elgin’s first museum. Members of the Blaney-Elgin Museum Committee have sold wreaths, hosted yard sales and even written a book to raise the money to fund the museum.

The town recently chose a property right across from Elgin’s branch of the Kershaw County Library as the future site of the train station shaped museum.

“We feel the importance of recording and preserving what we have. The past of our community is important to us,” said Museum Committee President Shirley Miles.

According to Miles, a museum is needed in Elgin to maintain and honor the rich history of the town.

“We want to preserve our history for future generations, so that they know what happened here years ago. Most of us were born and raised here, so we have an appreciation for the town and we want to preserve it. If we don’t record this now and keep it somewhere it’s going to be lost forever,” Miles said.

Elgin celebrated its centennial in 2008, recognizing 100 years of history and community in the town of Elgin. The Blaney-Elgin Centennial Committee, of which some members now make up the Blaney-Elgin Museum Committee, planned events for the town’s important milestone.

“During the centennial celebration, we had four successful events including the entire community, the school children, veterans and local churches,” Miles said.

The committee honored Elgin’s oldest living citizens and raised enough money to have a mural painted on the side of the oldest building commemorating the history of the town.

As the centennial committee planned for the celebration, the idea of a museum was also discussed.

“We did a lot. We raised enough money to put a mural on the oldest building in Elgin, then we put the town hall clock in front of town hall … we reached all of our goals except for building a museum,” Miles said.

Work towards the museum was temporarily halted when Miles’ husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. The committee continued to move ahead with the project in early 2012, one year after Miles’ husband passed away.

The committee decided to build the museum in the style of a railroad station in recognition of an essential part of the town’s history.

“Blaney was a railroad town and the railroad was very important in the early days to our community. In fact, Blaney was named in 1908 by a gentleman that worked for the railroad. The old depot, which was beside the railroad track in Elgin was bought by Mr. Olin Goff and moved two miles down the road right off of Highway 1 and now it is now a business run by Mr. Goff’s son,” Miles said.

The museum will also focus on another important part of historic Elgin -- farming.

“Our museum will exhibit early artifacts of farming, the farming community, and the country life of our local area.

Miles shared some of that history.

“The Blaney-Elgin community was predominately a farming community in the ’30s and ’40s. Cotton was one of our main crops and Blaney had a busy Cotton Gin located where the post office is now, it was owned by Mr. E.T. Bowen,” Miles said.

The museum will also have an exhibit looking at members of the community who have contributed to Elgin.

“We want to highlight the former members of our community who have strived to preserve this land for us today. We also hope to have a gift shop there as well,” Miles said of future plans.

Miles wants people to be on the lookout for fundraisers that will be coming up for the museum.

Past fundraisers have included sales of A Sandhills Revelation -- The History, Legacy and Legend of Blaney-Elgin, South Carolina, written by committee member Madge Strickland.

“Ms. Strickland wrote the history book for Blaney-Elgin. All she asked for was publishing costs and we have repaid that, so now the proceeds will go towards the museum.” Miles said.

The museum committee will also be selling wreaths for the third year in a row this October.

The committee is hopeful that its hard work will pay off with the construction and establishment of the museum.

“I think anything is achievable, you have to be dedicated and work hard and you can accomplish anything …we have done quite a lot but we still have a long way to go. We will keep plugging along.” Miles said.

(For more information about how to join the committee or to make a donation, contact Blaney-Elgin Museum Committee president Ms. Shirley Miles at 438-1068.)


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