Though Columbia County is fairly old - it will celebrate its 216th birthday this year - there's little to show for it.
Just a handful of historic structures remain, including Old Kiokee Baptist Church and the county's old courthouse in Appling, or Cedar Grove in Martinez. Most of the county's buildings, like most of its residents, are relatively new.
Almost as hard to find are monuments to those bygone eras. The plaques on the wall of the Appling Courthouse and a stone outside list fallen soldiers of long-ago wars, while a monument at Patriots Park lists more.
A granite memorial to former school Superintendent John Pierce Blanchard and an obelisk in memory of Daniel Marshall stand in Appling, while a marker in Harlem denotes the birthplace of Oliver Hardy.
Other than those small, scattered monuments, there aren't many outward signs that Columbia County recognizes its history - much less celebrates it.
Fortunately, that's changing:
The city of Grovetown, which this year celebrates its 125th birthday, will soon erect a wall on which the names of fallen soldiers will be inscribed. Grovetown has long had a close relationship with the military because of its proximity to Fort Gordon, and the veterans wall at the city's new park will be a visible reminder.
The decommissioned howitzer recently set up in town as a monument reinforces that message, too.
The Evans-based Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1914 a week ago dedicated a monument to Civil War veterans at the county's new memorial gardens. The gardens themselves were designed to provide a place for recognitions of significant people and events of the county's past.
Also coming to the gardens are the Evans pillars and arch - the most visible landmark of Evans' past. Workers this past week began the delicate, herculean task of moving the heavy stone structures to the memorial gardens.
The speed of Columbia County's growth certainly makes it appear that the community sprang up overnight. With more monuments reminding us of the county's long history, dispelling that impression may become easier.
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