William L. Harper, left, Elgin businessman and civic leader, and Lancaster County Senator-Nominate Frank L. Roddey examine a petition of more than 400 names opposing a move to change the name of Blaney to Elgin. (Staff Photo by Wenzell)
By Ron Wenzell
A Staff News Bureau Report
LANCASTER – A delegation from the community of Elgin in Lancaster County went to the town of Blaney in Kershaw County Monday with a petition opposing a move to change the name of Blaney to Elgin.
The delegation was headed by Lancaster County Senator-Nominate Frank L. Roddey and included several business and civic leaders from Elgin.
A petition containing the names of more than 400 of Elgin’s approximately 1,000 residents was presented to Blaney’s mayor, E. C. Pottes.
The petition “strongly opposed any more to change Blaney’s name to Elgin.”
The voters in Blaney go to the polls Tuesday to vote on the question, “Should the charter of the Town of Blaney be amended to change the name of said town from Blaney to Elgin.”
Sentiment to re-christen Blaney has been growing since the Elgin Watch Co. began construction of a new plant there several weeks ago. Supporters of the move say they favor changing Blaney’s name, “to honor the Elgin Watch Co.”
Observers on the scene reported Monday that feeling in Blaney is pretty evenly divided. These observers were predicting a very close vote Tuesday.
Lancaster County’s objections to Blaney changing its name was summed up in a statement from state senator-nominate Roddey:
“We have a fine community in our county which is already named Elgin and has enjoyed the use of that name for some 70 years. Although it is not incorporated at this time, consideration is being given to taking the necessary steps to incorporate it.
“Business organizations and community activities in Elgin have a strong identity with this name,” Roddey said. “It is also a matter of history that Elgin was named for the Elgin Watch Company.” I think you can realize the confusion that would result if South Carolina were to have two Elgins only 45 miles apart in adjacent counties.”
Roddey said he hoped the “good citizens of Blaney will give this situation serious consideration before holding a referendum on the proposed name change.”
The Elgin group visiting Blaney Monday with Roddey included: William L. Harper, a civic and business leader; Mrs. Sarah Askins, who is heading up a drive for a community center at Elgin; and Harry Ackerman and R. H. Collins, business and civic leaders.
The question on every one of the 300 lips in Blaney and the 1,000 in Elgin on Tuesday was, will Wednesday’s sun rise over two Elgins, or one Blaney and one Elgin?