The Jonquils are Blooming at Cedarhurst Portending a Great 2023

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February 20, 2023 by Moonville Mae - Views: 64

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The Jonquils are Blooming at Cedarhurst Portending a Great 2023

S515-1.jpgFork Shoals Historical Society is privileged to share news of the upcoming restoration of our historic house/inn along Augusta Road in southern Greenville County.  The McCullough House is the oldest brick structure in the county and possibly the Upstate, built in 1812 for an Irish immigrant who became a major plantation owner and father of a dynasty who held the home in the family until 2019.  Over the past four years the society has worked to clear the grounds and raise funds to begin the restoration. 

The society is ready!  In 2020 a National Park Service grant for a restoration plan provided $10,000 to develop a detailed document which will guide the work.  On January 31st of 2023 a grant from the State Office of Historic Preservation was applied for with $50,000 of matching funds raised to total $250,000 to begin the restoration by preserving the handmade brick and the totally deteriorated mortar.  We hope to be blessed with this funding, and if so, we will be able to start that work by fall.  We want to thank everyone who has donated to help make this available to us. 

Let me share some of the special information about the house often called Cedarhurst by the family in hopes you will want to join us in this effort.

The McCullough House is the oldest brick structure in the backcountry that we know of at this point.  It was built in 1812 on a new plantation of Joseph McCullough and Keziah Sullivan McCullough.  Joe came from Ireland about 1808 and spent some time in Charleston prior to coming to Southern Greenville County.  All the walls are two layers of brick, including the interior ones, which is one reason it still stands.  The house’s original Federal style was popular in the early 1800’s, but Cedarhurst’s floor plan is unique.  The entrance hall passes through the center of the structure, and the rooms to the left on both floors cover the whole south side while each right side is divided into two equal rooms.  Thus, the three rooms on the first floor match the three on the second with the structural brick walls extending ground to attic. 

The most interesting elements are the placement of the rooms and the fireplaces.  Both expansive rooms on the south side have large central fireplaces.  And interestingly, the main room on the first floor was the dining room/tavern.  It has the largest fire place and a magnificent hand-crafted mantel (mantels are off sight in storage).  The parlor sits above on the second floor and has the most elaborate mantel.  One particular design on these is a flower shape that can easily be drawn with a compass that I have seen in other wood working in the area.  This idea of the parlor on the second floor may have come from the low country, since Joe spent time in Charleston.  It allows for breezes in the summer when there would have been Charlestonians traveling into the upstate for the summers and visiting in the McCullough Inn along the stagecoach road to Greenville, often called the Mountain Town at that time.

The chimney on the right side is special because it houses two corner fireplaces on each floor providing heat for all four rooms.  This design is unique in Federal floor plans.  And each has its own sweet but smaller mantel.  Probably designed for bedrooms in the inn during the winter when the lead drovers would be seeking rest while the boys who walked with the stock would have slept in the outside kitchen or bunk room over it, these rooms are cozy.

Federal style is also the type of furniture with which we will be outfitting the house’s interior.  We have evidence of the pieces that were sold at auction when Joe died in 1853 and we will be looking to replace them with similar ones for our restoration.  One piece giving us a clue as to the level of high style Joe and Keziah provided guests is in the newly restored Spring Park Inn in Travelers Rest where their daughter and her husband opened an inn as well.  The estate sale records that the Andersons purchased a Federal sideboard which now sits in the entrance hall at Spring Park.

S515-3.jpgI hope you are beginning to imagine what an elegant place Cedarhurst once was.  We want to bring this back for all to view.  This working plantation will be our evidence of part of the early history of the backcountry. We will also be recreating the outbuildings, including the kitchen, store, office, well house, smoke house, and hopefully the dwellings of the enslaved crafts people and farmers. 

S515-2.jpgThe gardens were magnificent as is still evidenced by the wisteria, pecans, and especially the jonquils that pervade the grounds.  In order to preserve as many of the early plants as possible, Durant Ashmore is helping us by taking up the happy yellow jonquils, the first sunny rays of spring, to save them for our future gardens. 

This grant funding will be just a start for our vision for Cedarhurst and we covet all your help and support in the future to achieve this goal.  Check out Fork Shoals Historical Society on Facebook or google our webpage for more information or contact me at my email address.

Anne Peden, Phd.
Greenville County Historic Preservation Commission
Fork Shoals Historical Society
Piedmont Historical Preservation Society■


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