(Spartanburg) Herald Journal
SPARTANBURG (AP) — A century ago, Jesse Cleveland built his son a beautiful Colonial-style house as a wedding gift on the outskirts of Spartanburg.
Clevedale was a showplace built for Conrad P. and Louise Cleveland in 1913 on Willis Road. They used the property as a summer retreat because it was so far away from downtown.
The house remained in family hands for more than 70 years until it was sold. Current owners Paul and Pontheolla Mack Abernathy purchased the house in February 2012. They have expanded and refurbished the homestead and converted it into a bed and breakfast with an event facility.
Clevedale Historic Inn & Gardens, 1050 Willis Road, has been restored to reflect its original glamour.
“I saw the property online and came down from Washington, D.C., to see it,” Pontheolla said. “When I walked onto the porch, I said, ‘This is my house.’”
Pontheolla, a native of Bishopville who worked with S.C. ETV Radio and in public relations, and her husband, who is the rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill, were looking for a place to purchase. They took a trip driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway and decided to settle in the Upstate.
The couple looked at several properties in Greenville County, but decided against purchasing them. They decided to move to Spartanburg after visiting Clevedale because the property would allow Pontheolla to pursue her dream of owning a bed and breakfast with an event facility.
“We used an Excel spreadsheet to measure things,” Pontheolla said. “The Upstate won out because it has an international airport and a large, diverse international community. I saw the diverse pictures on the (Spartanburg) Music Trail, and it showed me that this community embraces its black heritage.”
Visitors drive up to the house on a road lined with heirloom crepe myrtles. There are also old magnolias, pecan and evergreen trees throughout the property. The couple is working with a landscape architect to maintain and care for the trees and gardens.
They have spent about a year renovating and expanding the house, which now has about 4,200 square feet. The expansion includes adding bathrooms and enlarging the bedrooms.
“We spent a fortune on termite damage,” Pontheolla said. “The support and vertical beams had to be redone and insulation added.”
Guests will not be able to tell the 100-year-old gem has suffered any damage over the years. The large columns and ironworks on the front of the house give it a majestic appearance.
From the foyer, guests walk into the parlor and then the dining room. Both are furnished with antiques the couple had in their home in Washington, D.C. Other pieces were bought after they purchased the house, but there are also a few collectibles they found while renovating.
A decorative fireplace surround adorns the fireplace in the parlor. It was discovered in an old icehouse on the property.
Another found treasure was two Dalmatian dog statues. They were found in an old kennel just beyond the gardens. Pontheolla said she has been told Conrad Cleveland Jr. had a love for Dalmatians and raised them on the grounds.
“The statues didn’t have a scratch on them,” she said. “They were in perfect condition.”
A third piece found in the house was a large, ornate mirror. It hangs over the fireplace in the dining room. The couple hopes to find someone who can restore it.
At the back of the house is a large, updated kitchen that had to be equipped as a commercial kitchen to accommodate events and functions. The couple’s plans are to create a much larger catering kitchen on the property.
Guests can choose from three bedrooms upstairs. The couple spent time decorating the rooms to reflect some of their favorite colors and themes.
The Wren Room is named for South Carolina’s state bird and is decorated in the colors of navy, light blue and white. The colors are in honor of Paul’s alma mater, Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.
The Ohana Room has a Hawaiian theme and is decorated in bold colors, but there is an added surprise. Inside the room is a door that says “Elisabeth’s Studio.” It is a small room to accommodate more guests. The room is named in honor of some of the women in the Cleveland family.
The final room is the Westmoreland Bridal Suite named after Spartanburg native Gen. William C. Westmoreland. Pontheolla said the name was selected because Westmoreland was a close friend of the Cleveland family.
Beyond the house are a variety of gardens filled with English boxwoods and other plants and flowers. The couple hasn’t completed work on the grounds and hope to have it restored to accommodate weddings and other functions.
“I had this dream of owning my own bed and breakfast and event facility during my early years in college at USC (University of South Carolina),” Pontheolla said. “When all of the other students wanted to go to Myrtle Beach during spring break, I went to historic places like Beaufort and Hilton Head, and I always stayed in bed and breakfasts because they were homey and I enjoyed it so much. This also rose out of my entrepreneurial spirit.”
Paul says his wife is a visionary.
“I treasure taking part in her lifelong hope and, indeed, embracing that hope with my heart, sharing in the joy of fulfillment,” he said. “Moreover, I look forward to offering retreats, inviting folk to deepen their life’s journeying, exploring their existential and spiritual being and becoming.”
Information from: Herald-Journal, http://www.goupstate.com/
This Sept. 7, 2013 photo shows one of the rooms of the the old homestead of the Conrad P. Cleveland family on Sept. 7, 2013 in Spartanburg, S.C. Known today as the Clevedale House, built for Conrad P. and Louise Cleveland in 1913. The house remained in family hands for more than 70 years until it was sold. Current owners Paul and Pontheolla Mack Abernathy purchased the house in February 2012. They have expanded and refurbished the homestead and converted it into a bed and breakfast with an event facility. (AP Photo/Spartanburg Herald-Journal,John Byrum photo)×
This Sept. 7, 2013 photo shows the old homestead of the Conrad P. Cleveland family located in Spartanburg, S.C. Known today as the Clevedale House, built for Conrad P. and Louise Cleveland in 1913. The house remained in family hands for more than 70 years until it was sold. Current owners Paul and Pontheolla Mack Abernathy purchased the house in February 2012. They have expanded and refurbished the homestead and converted it into a bed and breakfast with an event facility. (AP Photo/Spartanburg Herald-Journal,John Byrum photo)×