Kevin Boozer Staff Writer
October 12, 2013
BLAIR — Saturday at the Lyles family reunion, local amateur historian Steven White will share his passion for the Buena Vista House, a 19th-century home in the Feasterville community that was ahead of its time, boasting such features as indoor plumbing in the 1860s.
White, who said his love of history came from his mother, Mary Boulware, a professional freelance genealogist, said he picked up a lot of material about the history of the house and house site over the years from conversing with people in the Feasterville area where he grew up. His aunt and uncle lived on the site where the former Buena Vista house once stood.
He feels that knowing the history of the site makes his present experience more meaningful.
“I volunteer at the Fairfield Genealogy Room and am webmaster for the group now,” he said. “And these opportunities for public presentation of the area’s history mean a great deal to me.”
White now resides in Columbia, but said part of his heart remains strongly connected to the house site where he spent summers in his youth.
He will give a more detailed examination, including a tour of the site, during the reunion.
The two-story Italianate style brick, stucco house was constructed in 1848 by William Strother Lyles. Lyles was an affluent man of the time period, one of the signers of the Articles of Secession for South Carolina. Buena Vista, meaning good view, was modeled after chateaus Lyles saw on a trip to France.
Though the home had several owners and many ties to the area, including being a residence to famed school teacher Catherine Ladd, it did not survive the 1920s. In 1927 a chimney fire burned the structure to the ground. Legend has it that the principal of Monticello school, a tenant there, had to jump from the roof to escape.
More legends, stories and local history will be shared today at 1 p.m. with historical tours to outlying areas of Union, Fairfield, Chester and Newberry counties.
History buffs are welcome but need to RSVP with Pelham Lyles at 803-727-5908 for Saturday activities including tours of Lyles Ford Fairfield County sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event lasts all day and into the evening with a bonfire and storytelling starting at 8 p.m. Lyles needs the RSVP due to costs related to catering.