Fort Mill Times

Group launches Fort Mill preservation project

How would you tell the story of Fort Mill?

Move Fort Mill Forward recently set up an Historic Preservation Committee to do just that. The committee headed by Elizabeth Ford is looking for old photos, documents and people who have stories to tell. Eventually, it plans to create a Fort Mill museum somewhere downtown.

"We have already done several things," Ford said. "We're doing some oral histories, we just got a grant from the Springs Close Foundation to do that, and we've found all the 'lost' cemeteries."

The committee has lots of plans, most of them interactive. It is working on a way to digitize cemetery and burial information so people returning to Fort Mill, or visiting for the first time, will be able to track down where their ancestors have been laid to rest. Eventually, the information will be added to a Web site the committee is creating, she said.

The committee is also looking for older Fort Mill residents to record their memories of what growing up in Fort Mill was like in days gone by. Former Fort Mill Times publisher William Bradford Jr. has already recorded one, as have several other longtime residents, Ford said.

"I want a broad sweep," Ford said. "We want to talk to the 'little people,' the person who slept on the little cot and turned on the fire siren all those years."

"Everybody knows Mr. Bradford; We want the folks people don't know, too."

By January, the first set of oral histories will be available on DVD, Ford said. The goal is to produce something middle school teachers can use when they teach South Carolina history.

The committee is also working on a "Fort Mill History Map" that will identify all the places in town of historical significance. That, too, will eventually make it to the Web site and the plan is to include GPS directions to the historic sites as well.

To make everything happen, the committee does need help, though. In addition to collecting documents, photos and oral histories, it needs a place to keep everything. E-mail Ford at lizabethford@comporium.net to get involved.

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