City Directories and History: The Mont Clare Mission was built in 1933 by volunteers and the WPA.
Mont Clare Community Center – Written and contributed by Bill Segars, 2015
If you thought this series of article is written about churches, it is and this building does have religious significance. Other than the religious significances of this building, it exemplifies what the yield can be when a community works together for a common good. Located at 1632 Mont Clare Road, it had its begin in 1933 by the citizens of the Mont Clare area of Darlington County. Their idea was to have a “community center” for the people to use, so the people ban together to build it.
When the original idea was conceived to build such a building, R. G. Donald built a miniature log building as a model of what this 34’ X 62’ building would look like in the near future. The idea and the model is all this small community needed to leap into action.
The prime movers in this endeavor were E. M. Williamson Sr. who donated land from his Mont Clara Plantation and T. C. Cox who donated logs and other timber cut from his Skuffel Plantation. The Donald and Winters families and many other locals also contributed countless hours of work for the betterment of their community. The building was completed with some help of the W.P.A. workforce. The sandstone used in the foundation and the fireplace came from Skuffel Plantation between Mont Clare Firetower and Gilmore’s Mill.
The interior contained a large stage for performances on one end of the log structure. A mural of the Darlington County 1905 Court House with commercial advertisement around the perimeter was painted on canvas as a backdrop behind the stage. This rustic structure proudly hosted innumerable family reunions, children’s parties, wedding receptions, a voting precinct and other events of interest to community citizens. Even Slim Mims & His Dream Ranch Boys preformed here.
As a part of this community interest, it was a natural for the Mont Clare Mission to hold their weekly Sunday School meetings here. This non-denominational mission had its beginning in 1913 at the nearby Mont Clare School. The first minister was a Baptist, Rev. F. W. Putney and followed by Rev. W. S. Jones, another Baptist. Several Presbyterian and Methodist preachers served this group through the years as their leader. The Mission group enjoyed their stay here at the Community Center from 1933 until 1960 when the Mont Clare Baptist Church was formally founded and the present church building was built next door.
In the 1970’s Mont Clare Baptist Church obtained control and care of the Center, assuring its perpetuation. The closeness of the people in this community continues, centered on this building. For more convenient use, in 2005 they pulled together again to raise funds and construct restroom facilities in keeping with the rustic style of the original building.
Then on April 26, 2008, Darlington County’s 57th Roadside Historical Marker was unveiled commemorating the life of the Mont Clare Community Center, again by interested citizens.
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