By: Kristen Hegel
“Structurally, it was in deplorable condition,” Wade Fairey, executive director of Historic Rock Hill, said in remarks to the previous state of the historic White Home. Before the five-year-long renovation, the White family home had crumbling walls and caved-in floors. The wood had turned to rot and was infested with termites.
Along with helpful donations from the community, the renovation was started by the non-profit group, Historic Rock Hill, who bought the home and now have its headquarters located inside. Renovating a house over 100 years old and trying to keep the initial foundation intact proved to be a challenge. The roofing systems and multiple staircases were kept, as was much of the original house, but 15 percent of the hardwood floors had to be replaced. The home is now painted a sepia-white, the authentic color. After the renovations and once landscaping is complete, the cost will come to a total of $2.3 million. “They have done a masterful job of saving that structure,” Eddie Lee, history professor at Winthrop University and mayor of York, said. He also added that the home will play a part in revitalizing the town.
According to Fairey, the White family home is important because its history illuminates that of Rock Hill. The White Home is one of Rock Hill’s earliest homes. In the 1830’s, George Pendleton Stewart White and his wife, Ann, moved into the farmhouse on 142 acres of land for the price of $500. Throughout the years, the house had many additions that came to form what we recognize as the White Home today. “It makes me feel like I’m a part of Rock Hill,” Lydia Lochoki, employee of the White Home gift shop, stated. Lochoki believes the home will attract artists and historians, becoming an important fixture in Rock Hill. “The structure is a monument to the White family, and they were entrepreneurs and cotton farmers and they were successful,” Lee stated. “The house reminds us of our agricultural past, which is rapidly disappearing.”
Visitors to the White Home can tour three acres of the area and look at history exhibits. Some rooms will contain furniture and portraits of the White family that were accumulated through five generations, historical information about the family and the city of Rock Hill, and information about the restoration process. Parts of the White Home will stay unfurnished and will be available to rent for events, in order to generate income for other preservation projects.
The doors to one of Rock Hill’s oldest family homes will open for the first time this weekend. Join the community in the unveiling of the historic White Home on Sunday, October 24, from two to five p.m., beginning with a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Doug Echols and Bennish Brown. The White Home is located on 258 East White Street, Rock Hill, SC. There is no cost for admission, but donations will be accepted.