City Directories and History: The most imposing building in the block is of course the home since 1969 of the county museum building donated by Kib and Ella Cathcart. Its construction, by
Richard Cathcart, in the 1830’s as his residence combined federal architectural styles with structural brick walls
that withstood many renovations and adaptations. James M. Smith’s manuscript recalls a front piazza with iron columns at street level across the front of the building in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. From 1852 this building housed George Washington Ladd and his wife Catherine and their notable girl’s school until 1862 when the Ladd’s retreated the coming of war, moving to the Blair home of William Strother Lyles, called Beuna Vista, where Mrs. Ladd spent the rest of their life. George died earlier in Winnsboro. In the 1960’s the Fairfield Historic Society acquired the property in a gift from the Ketchin family to house its collection which later was given to the county for a museum. Native architect John Tabb Heyward who also designed the current county library and the renovated Wachovia bank building at 101 North Congress Street enhanced the federal style of the building in the masterful renovation of 1967-69. [Courtesy of J.M. Lyles]
Additional information – source: The Ketchin Building was built about 1830 by Richard Cathcart and is a highly unusual example of Federal architecture in central South Carolina. The house was sold to George Williamson Livermore Ladd in 1852 and was used as a school for girls until closed by the Civil War. In 1862, the property was sold to Philip E. Porcher, and was again sold in 1874 to Priscilla Ketchin. This Federal style three-story brick building is five bays wide and exhibits a hipped roof, a double front door crowned by a transom, string courses, sash windows, and hand-hammered hardware. The front foundation wall is cut granite; the others are rubbed granite, veneered with brick. The walls are eighteen inches thick to the third floor and fourteen inches thick from that point to the roof. The brick on the front wall is Flemish bond, the side and rear walls are of common bond. The flat arches over the window openings are made of wedge shaped bricks with rubbed surfaces. All floors have central halls that extend through the house with two rooms on either side. A fireplace for each room is provided through one of the four chimneys. The plastered hallways and high-ceilinged rooms are decorated with wainscoting, cornices, and mantels with sunburst designs. Listed in the National Register December 18, 1970. [Courtesy of the SCDAH] Other related individuals and subjects include: Feasterville Academy, Phillip E. Porcher, Martha Egleston, George W. Egleston, Maria Porcher, Priscilla Ketchin, Robert Ketchin, John W. Cathcart, Ella C. Wilborn, Nee Cathcart, John W. Cathcart
“The Cathcart-Ketchin Building, a Winnsboro landmark since the early 1830s, takes its name from two prominent Fairfield County families — the Cathcarts and the Ketchins. Built as a private residence by Richard Cathcart in 1832, the house was sold in 1852 to George Washington Ladd and his wife Catharine, who used it for the next 10 years as a school for girls. In 1862, the Ladds sold the property to Phillip E. Porcher and, in 1874, it was acquired by Priscilla Ketchin, widow of John Ketchin, who lived in the house until her death in the early 1900s. Almost a century after it was built, the house once again became the property of the Cathcart family, when it was acquired by John W. Cathcart in 1938. Finally, in 1969, the house was deeded to Fairfield County by Ella Cathcart Wilburn and Carrie Cathcart Owens as a memorial to their parents, John W. and Nan Shell Cathcart.
A handsome three-story building featuring superior Flemish-bond brickwork and hand-carved interior woodwork, the house is an unusually fine South Carolina upcountry example of the Federal architectural style. It is interesting to note, in fact, that the Winnsboro structure is an almost exact replica of Charleston’s historic Heyward- Washington House. Now restored as a historical museum and community center by Fairfield County and its Historical Commission and Society with historic preservation grant assistance from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, the Cathcart-Ketchin Building is a distinguished part of this state’s visual history and a reminder of names which helped contribute to that history.
Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC
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The 1912 Sanborn Map shows this as a residence at #59 South Congress Street.
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