Many a person has driven or walked past the stately Greek revival home at 24 Warren St. wishing they could see the interior. From 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, thanks to the owners and the Main Street Society, that option will be available to the public for …
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What: Main Street Society Open House series
When: Friday, 5-7 p.m.
Where: 1912 Bed & Breakfast (the former Barnett House), 24 Warren St.
Admission: Free for Main Street Society members, $5 donation for non-members
Many a person has driven or walked past the stately Greek revival home at 24 Warren St. wishing they could see the interior. From 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, thanks to the owners and the Main Street Society, that option will be available to the public for an open house.
Owners Tracey and Tommy McLaughlin did an extensive nationwide search for a large house "with character" they could turn into a bed and breakfast. About seven months ago, they found and purchased the house, which had been owned by the same Sumter family since it was built in 1912. When it opens in June, the house will be known as the 1912 Bed & Breakfast.
While the house was their main reason for moving to Sumter from the Atlanta area, the McLaughlins said Sumter itself was an important factor.
"There's so much going on here," Tracey McLaughlin said Friday. "We're going to the (Carolina Backcountry Springtime) tomorrow at the (Sumter County) Museum."
"The people are friendly. The neighborhood is nice," Tommy McLaughlin said. "We love this house, and we love the area."
He said he was also pleased to find the 106-year-old house had been very well taken care of.
"The original inlaid flooring is sturdy with no sagging at all, and you can see that each board was placed carefully," he said.
Both McLaughlins said they were impressed by the eight fireplaces, which they had cleaned and inspected so they can be used. There are four stories, including the finished attic and basement.
The house is more than 5,600 square feet, sits on 1.21 acres, has four bedrooms and baths and has a huge front entrance with Doric columns. An impressive staircase draws the eye immediately upon entering.
"We love to entertain," Tracey McLaughlin said, "and we've always wanted to have a bed and breakfast. The house is elegant but not so overboard that you can't have fun."
Breakfast, in fact, is her favorite meal to prepare, a task she looks forward to each morning before heading to her job at a local bank. Tommy McLaughlin works from home, so will be present at all times when they have guests, he said.
"It really doesn't feel so big since we've been living here," Tommy said. "It's a work in progress that's almost finished. We look forward to having people come by on Friday."
The McLaughlins will be present to talk about their home and answer questions.
Main Street Society
Neil "Mongo" Neaderhiser, Main Street Society chairman, said "Main Street Society is a public-private partnership that promotes downtown Sumter. With all the construction of the past couple of years, we've taken a slight pause in our activities. Now with new businesses and other improvements coming to fruition, we're excited to help feature them and look for new ways to enhance our amazing downtown."
He said the society hosts open houses twice a year, "usually in the spring and the fall. The events usually feature a downtown business or historic district home, offering an opportunity "to showcase a business, home, or in this case, both at once."
In addition to the open house events, the society has sponsored the Historic Downtown Sumter signs, hanging plants, bike racks and the new lamppost banners throughout downtown, as well as lending financial support to Art in The Park.
The society will announce plans for further downtown enhancements by fall.
Scheduling the event on a Friday offers an opportunity "to attend a fun event and then stay in the downtown area for the evening," Neaderhiser said.
Wine, cheese and fruit will be served, and non-members are asked to make a $5 donation to the society.
Memberships in the society are $35 a year for individuals and $50 for families. Guests may join at the open house or by sending a check to: Main Street Society of Sumter, PO Box 1441, Sumter, SC 29151.
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