Historic Saluda to sponsor Tour of Homes on Shand Hill

Published 12:00 pm Friday, April 28, 2017

The Historic Saluda Committee will sponsor a Tour of Homes on Saturday, June 3 from 1 – 5 p.m., as a fundraiser for preservation projects in Saluda. Historic Shand Hill has been chosen as the site of this year’s tour. There will be five homes on Shand Hill to visit as well as the Saluda Historic Depot, the Saluda Presbyterian Church and Lola’s Celebration Venue at Historic Thompson’s Store, all within walking distance of each other.

Tickets will be available at City Hall, Saluda Historic Depot and Heartwood Gallery in Saluda beginning May 1. Parking is available at city parking lots and the Saluda Community Library. There will also be a shuttle van to take you to Shand Hill from the library. This is a walking tour, with limited golf cart assistance, if needed.

Shand Hill has some of the earliest summer homes built in Saluda, and the Shand home that will be featured on the 2017 tour is supposedly the second summer home built in Saluda. For many years in Saluda, the Summer People meant the people from the low-country and midlands of South Carolina or Georgia who came year after year to stay in houses built on the hills above town. The venues featured on the 2017 tour are as follows:

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Ivy Terrace – The McGuire Family

Built around 1890 by Captain William Hinson of Charleston, S.C., Ivy Terrace has been expanded, remodeled, and redecorated a number of times without destroying the original charm and soundness of its construction. It was enlarged, with a second floor added, and run as a boarding house in the 1930s and ‘40s by the Clippards. The current owners purchased Ivy Terrace in 1991. Many of the original materials were retained or repurposed when the house was renovated in 1991-1993. The trees on the property were likely planted in the 1890s when the Biltmore House was being landscaped with some of the same species. The Pacolet Area Conservancy has included nine trees at Ivy Terrace on their Treasured Tree List.  And the ivy continues to be a feature of the property.

Meadowhill Farm – The Nelson Family

This property, known as Meadowhill Farm, was originally a working farm owned by one of the many Thompson families of Saluda.  The exact date of the building of the original Meadowhill house is unknown but there is evidence that it was constructed about 1870. In 1885 Robert Shand’s wife, Louisa, purchased the Thompson farm property for the purpose of building a summer home, which was built in 1886 or 1887. The log cabin on the farm, located just across the road from the newly constructed house, was used as the kitchen for the new summer residence.  The Nelson family of South Carolina purchased the original log cabin and surrounding farm property in 1972.  The Nelsons have made additions to the 1870 cabin, making every effort not to alter its character.

Shand Family House – The Shand Family

Robert Wallace Shand and Mrs. Shand of Columbia, SC built the Shand house in 1887.  James Blythe, a well-known Baptist preacher and his wife Martha, conveyed 17 acres of land to Mrs. C. Shand and her husband Robert, in 1885, to be used as the site for a summer home. The house, known then as “The Eyrie,” was built on the point of the hill overlooking the railroad. The log cabin across the street, now owned by the Nelson family, was used as the kitchen. The house was known to be the second oldest summer house built in Saluda and may be the oldest summer house still standing. Robert’s grandson, Julian Bonham Shand, Sr. acquired the property from his siblings in the early 1970s and undertook a renovation to its current condition. Julian’s descendants now own the house.

The Saluda Big House – Big House Partnership

The current owners trace its history back to the 1800s. The house remains essentially unchanged in its outside appearance in the years from its first written record in 1889, when John and Margaret Bone sold the property to the Krackes, who summered there until 1918. At the end of World War I, the property sold to Henry and Eva Davis of Columbia, SC for $670. Five years later, the property sold for $2000 to Cecil and Myriam Robinson of New Orleans. The Robinsons hired prominent Polk County Contractor William L. Thompson to reconfigure the first floor and finish the second floor for $3603, creating the house you see today. Esther Teal Efird bought the house on sight in 1956 from the Robinson estate for $11,000. Esther left the house to her three children, among whom was Louise Efird Johnson. Louise’s children formed the Saluda Big House Partnership in 1986 so that they could continue enjoying this home on Shand Hill.

Bon Air – The Gause Family

The Gause house, known as “Bon Air,” was built for Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Whaley of Edisto Island and Wadmalaw Island in Berkeley County, SC. The land was purchased from David and Sallie Pope for $50 in 1886. The Whaleys started construction of a three story house, which originally consisted of the present living room which was divided into a bedroom to the south of the present fireplace, a parlor or dog trot through the middle and a bedroom on its north. There were four bedrooms on the second floor and two on the third. In the following year they added the rear wing consisting of the dining room and porch on the first floor and a bedroom and sleeping porch on the second. The kitchen was a separate building, which was situated approximately where the garage is located. The furniture for the entire house was bought in Charleston and sent to Saluda by rail. There was no inside plumbing or electricity in the house until it was bought by Dr. Elton S. Osborne in 1925. The Gause family purchased the house from Dr. Osborne’s descendants in 1993.

Saluda Historic Train Depot

Built in 1903 on Highway 176 about ¼ mile past the bridge, the Saluda Historic Train Depot is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It has a long history in Saluda including its eventual move from the original location to its current location on Main Street.  In June of 2016, after an 18 month journey, a group of citizens in Saluda organized and created a 501(c) 3 non-profit LLC, named the Saluda Historic Depot (SHD) to purchase the building and create a train and heritage museum. The museum recently opened two exhibits: a new G-Scale Southern Railroad Livery track with a locomotive and cars running the perimeter of the main passenger area, and How the West Was Won permanent display. Check out the current exhibits and events at saludahistoricdepot.com

Saluda Presbyterian Church

The Saluda Presbyterian Church was built between 1895 and 1896 as a multi denominational community church with funding from residents and summer people. It became a Presbyterian church in 1914. The Tryon Presbyterian Church donated the pews in the early 1940s, and the antique pulpit came from a South Carolina church that had closed. The sanctuary of the church remains a well-preserved example of late nineteenth century vernacular Gothic Revival. The weather-boarded structure features a gable front, a corner two-stage entrance tower, a shallow rear apse, and pointed arched windows. Such details as carved rafter ends, decorative eves, brackets on the tower, decorative bracing at the front gable peak above a quatrefoil roundel, and a double leaf entrance surmounted by a decoratively carved triangular pediment, greatly enliven the exterior. Just south of the church and mimicking it in general design is the education building built in the early 1950s.

Historic Thompson’s Store and Lola’s Celebration Venue

Lola’s Celebration Venue is located upstairs above Historic Thompson’s Store, the oldest grocery store in North Carolina, est. 1890. Constructed in 1905, the building originally served as a boarding house for the tough and hardy railroad workers who maintained the Saluda Grade, the steepest mainline railroad in the United States. While the railroad was crucial to the growth of Saluda, support also came from numerous wealthy families from the lowlands of South Carolina and Georgia. These families built summer homes in Saluda, seeking relief in the cool North Carolina mountains during the hottest months of the year.

The room names at Lola’s are a tribute to the communities from which many of those wealthy families came — Charleston, Columbia, Holly Hill, and Walterboro in South Carolina and Savannah in Georgia.

The Historic Saluda Committee, which was formed in June 2010, has completed four major projects, collects and archives historical photos, documents and artifacts and continues to coordinate the biennial Saluda Historic Tour of Homes. For more information about the work of the Historic Saluda Committee, visit historicsaluda.org or facebook.com/historicsaluda.

For more information about the tour, contact Lynn Cass at 828-749-1975 or visit the event page on Facebook.

Article submitted by Lynn Cass