An effort is underway to create a local museum spotlighting the Dutch Fork area on the north side of Lake Murray, home to some of the earliest colonial settlers in the Midlands.
A coalition of history and genealogy groups is planning to open a facility to display artifacts and become a center for oral and written records passed among generations of area families.
It would focus on life in northern Lexington, northwest Richland and southern Newberry counties, an area still largely rural with a few small towns that include Chapin, Prosperity, Little Mountain, Peak and Pomaria.
“This is history that should be saved,” said Kenneth Robison of the Hilton area, an organizer of the effort. “There is a lot in this area.”
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The tri-county area is known locally as Dutch Fork because many German families – Deutsch in their native language – immigrated to the area between the Broad and Saluda rivers in the early 1700s.
That influence remains today, with the Dutch Fork name applied to a major road as well as elementary, middle and high schools in Lexington-Richland 5. Dutch Square mall also alludes to it.
Descendants of many colonial settlers remain in the area, ready to pass along materials and family heirlooms, Robison said.
In addition, there is interest in life among Native Americans before that, he said.
The coalition is looking for possible sites for a facility before embarking on a fundraising effort to acquire and open it, Robison said.
Opening a small museum devoted to local history is doable, Lexington County museum director J.R. Fennell said. He has offered advice on operations and record preservation to the groups.
Plans call for the Dutch Fork museum to be privately run but open to the public for research and education, Robison said.
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.
Want to get involved?
Contact Kenneth Robison, (803) 394-9487, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.