Just minutes from our home sits the small town of Darlington, population 249. Darlington is one of those one-horse towns that are frequently driven through but rarely visited. Currently Darlington is home to two gas stations, a convenience store, our mechanic and veterinarian, a handful of churches, and a whole lot of history!
Located within the town limits, multiple historic buildings can be found that have been converted into a place of historic preservation. Over the last decade I have passed these charming old buildings hundreds of times, but had never stopped in for a visit. It hasn’t been for lack of desire, however. The history-lover in me has been itching to explore the treasures hidden behind those 200 year old walls and learn a bit more about the local history of the area we call home.
Miss Corrina, a fellow mom in our co-op, was next in line to plan our co-op activities for the month of March. The first outing she planned finally gave me the excuse I needed to do a little local exploration, when she booked a tour with Darlington’s local historical Society. As part of our tour we were led through three different historical buildings in the town.
Because of the large size of our group we were split into two smaller groups, with Molly joining her friends in group A, while the rest of the McCleery clan stayed together in group B. Our first stop on our tour of historic Darlington was to the Greersburg Academy.
“The Greersburg Academy, a two story stone structure, was established in 1802 by Rev. Thomas E, Hughes.
In its earliest history it was a prep school for men entering the ministry and later became a classical academy. It is Beaver County’s earliest educational institution, and is the oldest standing public building in the county. Those who attended include William McGuffey and John Brown.
In 1882 it was transformed into a passenger/freight train station, and is the oldest standing railroad station in the nation.
Today, the first floor contains the Meeting Room, Greersburg/Train Room and the Research Room. One of the main displays on this floor presents the history of the Underground Railroad of which Darlington was a central hub.”
Next we walked over to the Little Beaver Museum, where we continued gaining an education on the history of the area.
“The Little Beaver Museum, a two story brick structure, was built to carry on the tradition of the Greersburg Academy.
The building was erected in 1883 after the Academy closed. It later became a two-year high school, graduating its first class in 1910.
The building and grounds of the Little Beaver Museum were deeded to the Society in 1964. Today it houses two floors of artifacts and displays.”
Our final stop on the tour was also the last addition to the Little Beaver Complex…
The log cabin.
“This historic cabin originally came from Fredrickstown, Ohio. In 2009 it was donated and moved to Darlington. It features a beautiful working stone fireplace and chimney.
The cabin houses a number of traditional artifacts and is used to display and demonstrate traditional cloth arts like wool dying and spinning.”
It was a wonderful outing.
Who knew so much history played out in our own back yard!