If only walls could talk…
if the walls here could talk they would have a grand old story to tell… Here is just the part that we know.
House was built in 1897 by Pickens Gunter for JW Lybrand, Wagener’s first mercantile owner. It was built with a dual
purpose. The first floor would be occupied by his family, and the second by his employees. This arrangement was part of his
employees pay for working in his store. The house remained in the Lybrand family for many years.
Times changed and so again
did the Claridge House. During the 1950’s when the Savannah River Site was being constructed the house was converted
into 4 apartments that ran the length of the house. It was occupied by families, educators and one of Wagener’s colorful
characters, Mrs. Jenny Strickland. At one point she rented 2 of the apartments because she did not want noises above her,
or so we were told.
Yet again another change
came for the house, one that might have marked its end. For many years the house was abandoned and in disrepair. In 1975
CD (Claridge) and Virginia Tillison rescued and restored the house to its present state. They lived and raised their family
in the house for the next 30 years. The love and care that went into the restoration by CD and Virginia Tillison is the
reason the Bed & Breakfast and Café were named for them.
In 1994 while longtime friends Virginia and Gloria
Collum were traveling to visit Gloria’s daughter Heather at college in VA, the seed was planted for the Claridge House.
It had been a dream of Heather’s to one day own a Bed & Breakfast. During this trip, Heather shared her dream with
Virginia. Some ten years later, when the Tillison’s decided it was time to sell their beloved home, The Collum’s
decided to make their daughters dream come true.
In November of 2004 the Collum’s purchased the Claridge House and
opened the doors for business the first week of December. Since the beginning the Claridge House has welcomed people from
all over the US and other countries, and has hosted many events from church and business meetings to anniversary, birthday
and holiday parties. The Claridge House was featured in the 2006 “South Carolina Smiles and Places” magazine,
the state’s Official Tour Guide.
People have come and gone throughout the past 120 years, and the Claridge
House has seen many changes to herself and her surroundings, however, her purpose remains the same she is…
“A PLACE TO FEEL AT HOME”