Annexations between Fairfield and Blythewood are old news

Blythewood, previously called Doko, was located in Fairfield County. | Taken from H.B. McLean Sr.’s History of Blythewood

BLYTHEWOOD – A recently proposed annexation of 60 acres of Fairfield County property into the Town of Blythewood has stirred up considerable conversation in both Blythewood and Fairfield County.

But annexing into and out of Fairfield County is nothing new for Blythewood. It’s been doing that since at least 1913.

According to documents in the Blythewood Historical Society & Museum archives, the town of Doko (later called Blythewood) was located in southern Fairfield County, just above the Richland County line, until the early 20th century. It was during the early 1900s that the citizens of Doko reportedly grew weary of the poor condition of the Fairfield County Roads and the “bad schools.”

At the time, the construction and maintenance of roads was the responsibility of counties, and Fairfield was a much poorer and more rural county than Richland County, according to documents at the Society and Museum.

Dr. Michael Langford, one of the town’s early families, was an instigator of a movement for Doko to annex into Richland County because of the poor roads and schools.

An oral history account (archived in the Historical Society and Museum) taken from an unnamed man says the line was moved at high noon on Saturday, Aug. 23, 1912. But it was recorded in 1913 that the town and about 10 square miles of the surrounding land became part of Richland County.

More recently, when the Fairfield County government attempted to accommodate the opening of a landfill in the lower southeast corner of the county sometime in 2008, residents objected and sought the help of the Town of Blythewood to save them from the landfill. About 35 families successfully petitioned Blythewood to annex approximately 50 acres of land into the town.

While the annexed families had planned to work with Blythewood Town Council to rezone the proposed landfill property with a zoning designation that would prohibit the landfill, that strategy turned out not to be necessary. And the landfill, for other reasons, never materialized.

Today, the patriarch of one of those 35 families, Eddie Baughman, is now a second term Blythewood Town Councilman.

Baughman said he is still happy he annexed into the town, but finds some of the changes resulting from the annexation somewhat confusing – he still pays his property taxes to Fairfield County, but his address is in Blythewood. His mail is delivered from the Blythewood post office, but if he had school-age children, they would go to Fairfield schools, not Blythewood schools.

Now, in 2020, should Blythewood purchase the 60 acres in Fairfield on the wastewater treatment site for the sports complex and annex the property, any development on the site would pay property taxes to Fairfield County, but Blythewood would collect hospitality and accommodation taxes, building permits and other fees from the proposed site.