“Yes, beautiful clocks were being manufactured in downtown Chester, S.C.”
City Directories and History: 1908 – J. L. McKee, 1940 – John L. McKee, 1958 – Elizabeth G. McKee, 1978 – Fred A. Triplett Jr.
The John McKee house, which originally stood at this location, was an Italianate antebellum home. In Sept. of 1859, it was reported in the newspaper; “John McKee, Jr., is building about half a mile West of the Court House, on the red hill…” Mr. McKee was a true Southern artisan and clock maker.
The large magnolia and the boxwood plantings in front of the present dwelling are from the earlier period. Few individuals recognized the importance of McKee’s work and importance until the 1970’s when a representative of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), came to Chester and recorded numerous records of his capable work. Known as a jeweler and clock maker his business operated at the present location of People’s Furniture store. Connect to Southern Clock Makers for further details on his work.
Many of his examples can best be seen at both the S.C. State Museum and at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Winston-Salem, N.C. The records center at MESDA maintains extensive records on his works. The clock long associated with the Gaston family of Chester, S.C. is now part of the cultural heritage collection of the N.C. museum.
Chester’s first school was also originally located at this site and following its destruction by fire, a new brick structure was erected in the mid 19th century. Giles J. Patterson was elected principal from 1848-1852. (See the Patterson house below.) The school was dismantled following the opening of a new school on Academy Street in Chester. The Chester Academy. [CRPC]
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