City Directories and History: 1908 – L.D. Childs, 1940 – Robert E. Abell, 1978 – Fred McFawn
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on Dec. 2, 1891 – “Mr. J.M. Spratt of Fort Mill, a member of the soldier’s monument committee, was in Chester last week to see how Mr. Childs was getting along with the monument. He was very pleased with the work.” Also on that date, the YV Enquirer ran an ad – reported, “Selling monuments and headstones. His monuments are cheaper for the same grade of work that any other S.C. dealer. He has branch offices in Rock Hill and Fort Mill.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on Sept. 26, 1896 – “L. D. Childs of Chester is thinking of moving to Atlanta, where he will perhaps open a branch of his marble works.”
The Herald reported on Feb. 21, 1903 – “Capt. W.H. Edwards, who is associated with the firm of L.D. Childs and Co., of Chester, has just completed the erection of a handsome monument over the grave of Ms. Kathleen Moore in Laurelwood Cemetery in Rock Hill.”
The Chester Sanatorium operated in this building for many years but originally it was the private residence of Lysander Childs who constructed it at the turn of the century. Designed by Rock Hill architect, Hugh E. White, this was one of his many early pieces of architecture prior to moving his business to Gastonia, N.C. It is very plausible that construction was under the management of A.D. Holler, Rock Hill’s significant builder. The two men worked hand in hand to build dozens of buildings throughout the region. However, in this case, no records remain to conclusively prove Mr. Holler’s involvement.
Architect, Hugh Edward White (1869 – 1939), born in Fort Mill, S.C., he attended Fort Mill Academy and started his practice in about 1894. Remained in Rock Hill until about 1903 and later returned to work. In the 1890’s he worked in an architectural firm in Atlanta. Between 1903-1918 he was a field supervisor of the Supt. Architect Dept. of the Treasury. For about three years 1918-21, he was employed with Charles Coker Wilson in Columbia or Gastonia, N.C.
“In 1915, Dr. Abell finished his residency in Baltimore, Maryland. We began to build on that. Dr. Abell said that if we established a general hospital, his father would supply about one-half of the money if we would supply the rest, and we organized the Chester Sanitarium on York Street, acquiring the Child residence, with an addition for a nurses’ home. This organization consisted of Dr. McConnell, elected as president, Dr. Cox, vice president and myself as secretary. I have a book full of minutes of every meeting. Dr. Abell was manager. Dr. Abell had a reputation as a successful surgeon and the hospital flourished from the beginning. Although the beginning was small, we kept the bills paid. Later, Duke Hospital reported we had $25,000 in assets and $9,000 owed on old stock notes, and we gave Chester County Hospital $16,000 when we closed.”
(Information in part from: Chester County Heritage Book, Vol. I, Edt. by Collins – Knox, Published by the Chester Co Hist. Society – Jostens Printing, 1982)
Constructed with Classic Revival features in combination with an Italianate form and porch design, this imposing house later became the home of well known doctor, Robert E. Abell. As the Chester Sanatorium, this facility was operated and used by many local doctors including: H. E. McConnell, Jackson, W.B. Cox, R. E. Abell, Ambrose Wylie and Wallace.
The home was restored by Dr. and Mrs. R.E. Abell as their residence in circa 1937, using Rock Hill architect, Alfred D. Gilchrist to design changes to the home. The structure is currently a private residence but was once also used by Maranatha Assembly of God. Alfred D. Gilchrist was born and educated in Manchester, England and came to America in 1900. In 1912 he arrived in Rock Hill and began practicing architecture. Several building can be attributed to him; Ebenezer School – 1921, Stevenson Theater, Oakland Avenue Pres. Church, and several buildings at Winthrop University. His son, William P. Gilchrist worked as a designer and draftsman with the firm. Following WWII, Gilchrist associated with W. Lewis Cook in the firm Gilchrist and Cook. That firm had buildings including: Woodland Un. Methodist Church, Park Baptist Church and homes and schools. Ms. Bessie L. Garrison, Rock Hill Historical Research Papers #10 – 1952.
***See extensive bio of Dr. Robert E. Abell under the menu link: South Carolina Men – 1921
Explore history, houses, and stories across S.C. Your membership provides you with updates on regional topics, information on historic research, preservation, and monthly feature articles. But remember R&R wants to hear from you and assist in preserving your own family genealogy and memorabilia.
Visit the Southern Queries – Forum to receive assistance in answering questions, discuss genealogy, and enjoy exploring preservation topics with other members. Also listed are several history and genealogical researchers for hire.
User comments welcome — post at the bottom of this page.
Please enjoy this structure and all those listed in Roots and Recall. But remember each is private property. So view them from a distance or from a public area such as the sidewalk or public road.
Do you have information to share and preserve? Family, school, church, or other older photos and stories are welcome. Send them digitally through the “Share Your Story” link, so they too might be posted on Roots and Recall.
User comments always welcome - please post at the bottom of this page.