DARLINGTON, Fla. (WMBB) — A more than 100-year-old building in North Walton County could become the next historical site in the state.
The Board of Walton County Commissioners unanimously agreed on Oct. 24 to apply for Darlington School to become a historical site.
“Darlington school along with Glendale school are two of the few examples in probably the country of a wooden structure that has multiple classrooms and auditorium,” said Danny Glidewell, District 2 Commissioner.
The school opened sometime before 1920 serving as a primary school for Darlington residents before the school closed in the 1980s.
“All the kids went there through the ninth grade and then it was through the eighth grade. And I think later they may have gone through the sixth grade and finally, they closed the school and most of the kids here went to either Defuniak or Paxton,” said Karan Rockett, Fuller’s Grocery owner.
The county took over ownership of the school in recent years, using grant funds to remodel some classrooms and the auditorium. They also added a full kitchen to host events.
The small-town community uses the site for gatherings like the annual Darlington School reunion and weddings.
“I’d just like to see it to be utilized, you know, it sits here where some people won’t hold a meeting here. You know, these certain clubs and organizations, it’d be nice for them to have a place to come to,” said Kenneth Gainey, Darlington School reunion coordinator.
If approved for historical status the board can seek further grant funds to improve the rest of the classrooms and office space.
“I know that used to we had we had tennis courts out there. I think that would be good for the community,” said Rockett.
As well as applying for historical designation on Oct. 24, board members approved the seal and messaging for the bicentennial celebration in 2024. The slogan is “200 Years of Preservation and Tradition.”
The county plans to highlight many historical sites like the Darlington School in the coming months.