It's taken nearly 10 years, but Old Town Bluffton will soon get a new historical marker to replace the old one knocked down in a car crash.
The new marker will be dedicated by the town at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the southwest corner of May River Road and Calhoun Street, according to Bluffton Historical Preservation Society executive director Maureen Richards.
The society began raising the $2,300 in December to buy a marker from the state's historic preservation office. The marker is white with black text on both sides, installed on a 7- to 10-foot-tall post.
The original, one-sided sign was installed by the Beaufort County Historical Society sometime between 1936 and 1954. It included information about the town's settlement and incorporation, as well as its role in launching a protest against a federal tariff in 1844.
The old sign, placed between Stock Farm the Squat 'N Gobble restaurant, is believed to have been run over by a car in 2005.
The town asked the Bluffton Historical Society to raise money to replace the sign after the county's historical society said it lacked the funds for a new one, according to Richards.
Led by local historian and author Jeff Fulgham, the society raised $2,000 from nine sponsors by February. The town kicked in the remaining $300 soon after, Richards said.
After the state's Department of Archives and History approved the two-sided marker in April, Ohio-based Sewah Studios produced the new one, which the town received in June.
The new marker expands the inscription from its predecessor, including the original names for the area and its growth as a steamboat landing in the 1850s.
It also refers to the burning of Bluffton during the Civil War, its eventual decline as an important transportation waterway, and recent upturns in population and tourism.
Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.