Dillon (population 6,316), county seat of Dillon County, was named after James W. Dillon who in 1888 persuaded Atlantic Coastline to route their new tracks through his land, leading to the establishment of the town. The James W. Dillon house now serves as the Dillon County Museum.
Downtown Dillon is listed on the National Register as an historic district. Sixty buildings from ca. 1903 to 1948 contribute to the district. Notable public buildings include the County Courthouse (1911) and the Railroad Station (1905). These and other buildings in the district are protected under a local historic district overlay ordinance.
Dillon is using several innovative approaches to teach its young people about the community’s history and historic places. A lesson plan, “Discover Dillon Architecture,” is coupled with an architecture treasure hunt to give junior high school students an overview of area history and architecture. Students also participate in the Dillon County Historical Society’s Draw a Historic Property Art Contest.
To encourage residents and visitors to experience the historic downtown, Dillon has sponsored the “Celebrate Main Street” festival annually since 2002. Over those four years, attendance has jumped almost 500%. In addition to concessions, entertainment, etc., the celebration features the judging of the Draw a Historic Property Art Contest and a Historic Architecture Picture or Postcard Contest.
Throughout the historic downtown, “History in the Street” pavers are inset in the sidewalk. These engraved pavers provide information on nearby historic buildings and the overall history of Dillon.
Designated a Preserve America Community in November 2005.