Sandlapper Slept Here. . . .

505 Market Street, Cheraw

by Dan Harmon

EDITOR'S NOTE: "Sandlapper Slept Here" is a column that appears in each issue of Sandlapper Magazine, featuring bed-and-breakfasts and historic inns throughout the Palmetto State. Here's an example. If you find it interesting, you may want to peruse our back issue listings for information about previous columns.

The brochure's boast of "real southern hospitality" at 505 Market Street is authenticated by hosts Bill and Betty Laney. Chesterfield County natives, they found an ideal home for southern-style entertaining in this 1840ish mansion.

Thirteen utility truckloads of trash and building scraps are what they hauled off during their 1988 renovation of the home - which resulted in its entry on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 4,000-square-foot home occupies three residential lots and is surrounded by great oaks, camellias and japonica bushes. "It's beautiful in the springtime, but it's a chore," Betty says. "I've threatened to cement the yard." A swimming pool offers a summer reprieve. Numerous historic landmarks are within a few blocks.

Architecturally, the home is a simple "salt box" style, with four large rooms upstairs, four down, and a rear kitchen/living enlargement added in 1939. You enter the front hall to find a parlor on your right, where if you're musically inclined you may amuse yourself with a baby grande piano or Bill's guitar. A formal dining room is on the left. An unusual staircase configuration dominates the hall.

I slept in the downstairs guest room on a canopied rice bed. Period furnishings here include Bill's mother's antique secretary. A library's worth of good reading was handy, as was a tray of cheese, nuts, crackers and fruit.

The two upstairs guest quarters include "Amelia's Room," named for their resident ghost - an owner of the home in generations past. The Laneys have stories to tell about Amelia (a mysterious figure in an upstairs window, lights and faucets turned on and doors opened at strange hours, perfume fragrances, eerie footsteps, empty wine glasses). But Amelia is a friendly ghost.

And the Laneys are friendly people. Bill, a dentist, is a tall, mustachioed, easy-going guy who likes country music and would look right at home with The Statler Brothers. Betty teaches the mentally handicapped at Chesterfield High. Bill is an excellent wood carver, and they're both outdoor types; the mounted bass in the den is Betty's.

You may opt for a continental or southern breakfast. Request Betty's Canadian bacon/sausage/sage/eggs/cheese casserole or sausage muffins (with grits, of course)!

505 Market Street (505 Market St., Cheraw, SC 29520; (803) 537-9649) has three guest rooms, shared or private baths; $40-65; extended rates available. Children okay. Smoking okay. No pets.

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