Mayesville Downtown Revitalization
Good things are happening in Mayesville.
A large-scale Penny for Progress project is nearing completion as an historic building known as the Bland Stables is brought back to life.
“It feels good knowing that our downtown is making a comeback,” said Mayesville Mayor Jereleen Hollimon-Miller. “We love Mayesville and we want to share it with Sumter County residents and visitors alike.”
Situated about nine miles northeast of Sumter, Mayesville is known as the birthplace of Mary McLeod Bethune, a legendary educator and advisor to five U.S. presidents. In years past, an annual celebration and parade in her honor draws a large crowd, and a new Learning Center and Art Gallery also amplifies her legacy and helps tell her story.
Work to transform Bland Stables should be completed soon , said Eddie Miller, who is managing the project.
“Words can’t express the feelings of Mayor Miller and myself because it’s long overdue,” he said, referring to ongoing revitalization efforts of downtown Mayesville.
They were able to pair a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development with an allocation of $875,000 in Capital Projects Sales Tax funds.
Plans include an on-site medical clinic, a café with Wi-Fi for public use, a museum and gift shop. In the back of the facility will be four housing units, also for public use.
The Millers already have several pieces of art destined for the museum, which will tell the history of Mayesville and its founders.
“We’re trying to capture the scope,” Hollimon-Miller said.
Eddie Miller, who also serves as the 6th District’s representative for the state’s Disabilities and Special Needs Commission, said they wish to create a “blueprint” of sorts for other small towns looking to attract tourists and those interested in history.
“South Carolina is a tourism state – along with agriculture and many other things – and this affords an opportunity to create a model to generate revenue for long-term sustainability,” he said. “Now we’re looking towards other businesses in Mayesville to work collaboratively with the town to be to rebuild. The town doesn’t own these many old buildings downtown so we need the support of the local business community.”
Only a few years ago, the J.F. Bland Sale & Feed Stables had fallen into serious disrepair and the building was a shell.
According to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, The Mayesville Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1979.
The Mayesville Historic District was notable “for its representation of the cultural, commercial and architectural development of a small nineteenth century South Carolina community,” according to the state’s archives. “The district, which encompasses the western half of the town, contains a concentration of eighty properties that represent a broad range of late nineteenth and early twentieth century vernacular architectural design, including commercial, residential (majority), and religious examples.”
Architectural styles include Neo-Classical, Victorian, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Commercial and Bungalow.
“These stables date to about 1895 and we’re excited to see new life breathed into this historic structure,” said Mayor Miller. “Good things are happening in Mayesville.”
Sept. 22, 2019
July 22, 2020