Table Of Contents
Awaken each morning to the melodies of the songbirds for which the manor was named. Hummingbirds, wrens, cardinals, robins and finches are just a few of the birds which make their nests on the property and the surrounding neighborhood.
The sweeping veranda beckons you to relax on the swings or rockers and enjoy the serenity of pure Southern living.
Located in the heart of Winnsboro's historic district, Songbird Manor is surrounded by homes dating to the 1800s. The house used by Lord Cornwallis during his encampment of 1780 is just down the street.
Experience a fine example of America's "Golden Age", when wealthy self-made men of the early 20th Century built lavish homes to reflect their success. Songbird Manor is a showcase of expert workmanship from the regal molded plaster ceilings to the extensive oak dentil moldings and massive chestnut pocket doors. Furnished in traditional furnishings accented with antiques, we've thought of everything. Just pack a suitcase and prepare to relax, unwind and enjoy.
Winnsboro is located 30 miles from downtown Columbia, and 70 miles from Charlotte, convenient to both airports, and midway between Myrtle Beach and Charleston to the east and Asheville and the mountains to the west. Winnsboro is midway between Florida and the midwest, such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, approximately 10 miles from interstate 77.
South Carolina Railroad Museum
Fairfield County Museum · Winnsboro Town Clock
Historic District Walking Tour · Lake Wateree State Park
Hunting · Fishing · Golf · Tennis · Watersports
Historic Ridgeway Walking Tour
Carolina Adventure World
Also see: Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce and Olde English Tourism District
Beveled glass greets you in the front doors and parlor windows as well as extensive dental molding, wainscoting and columns of fine oak. Massive pocket doors of oak and chestnut separate the main rooms. Each of the main rooms downstairs have exquisite molded plaster ceilings rarely seen in private homes.
Upstairs, a sitting area in the front center hall is available for guests. Mockingbird Porch is adjacent to the Paroquet Room.
Each of the five guest bedrooms has a private bath, fireplace, and ceiling fan. Three of the baths have tubs original to the house. Storytelling weekends and special holiday weekend packages are available (click here for more info).
History of Songbird Manor
Songbird Manor was known locally as either the Doty or Ladd house before being renamed. Built in 1912 by businessman Marcus W. Doty, Songbird Manor is a showcase of southern craftsmanship. Mr. Doty was the weathiest man in Fairfield County in the first part of the 20th century and his home reflected his wealth. He was known to family and friends as a stickler for detail.
The exterior of pressed brick was brought from Philadelphia in mule drawn wagons. The foundation of the wraparound veranda, the lintels and sills of the downstairs windows and the front steps are made from "Winnsboro Blue" granite, a locally quarried stone that was used nation-wide early in the last century. The ceilings of the verandah, open sleeping porch on the second floor and the once-open back porch on the first floor all have recessed panel ceilings.
Inside the entry and three major rooms downstairs where guests were entertained have elaborate molded plaster ceilings, Arts & Crafts-style mantles for the coal-buring fireplaces that orginally were the sole heating source for the house. The floors are narrow tongue and groove oak, with a honduran mohagany inlay design in the main parlor floor. The eigth foot chestnut pocket doors separete the rooms from the central hallway and between the dining room and the adjoining former gentleman's parlor. The ceilings downstairs are 12 foot and 11 foot upstairs. There are 5 bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs, where the live-in help lived.
Songbird Manor is the first house in Fairfield County designed and built with an in-door plumbing, the original pedestal tubs still remain. The rainwater was collected from the slate roof by the hidden copper gutters where is was stored in a cistern in the basement and them pumped (electrically) to the kitchen, and first floor bath and the two upstairs bathrooms.
Mr. Doty came to Winnsboro in 1880 at the age of 15 with his family. They were selling breeder stock, as the South had almost no stock left after the Civil War. Over the next 15 years, before he married, he had accumulated a fair amount of wealth, including land and businesses.
In 1895, Mr. Doty married Lilly Caldwell, from a prominent local family. Mrs. Doty's mother gave them the lot on which the house was built in 1912. The lot originally fronted Zion Street but went all the way to Walnut street and included another lot to the south, behind a neighbor's property. This is where the cow grazed in the early days. The Doty's had 4 children, 4 girls and 1 boy. Over the years Mr. Doty accumulated more property and frequently underwrote crops for local farmers.
Mrs. Doty died in 1949 and Mr. Doty in 1951. The asking price of the house was $28,000. However, the house had not been updated. The original plumbing, wiring, the wood cookstove in the kitchen and the coal fireplace heat had not been changed. Unfortunately, after the Korean war, the country went through a recession and no one wanted the big old house. The house sat empty until is was purchased in 1960.
In 1960, Garris Ladd and his first wife purchased the house for $17,500 cash. They updated the electrical, plumbing, adding a shower bath on the first floor, remodeled the kitchen, and added central heat. They also enclosed the two rear porches. They painted, restored the wood floors and wainscoting and had custom draperies hung in the downstairs rooms. They also had 4 children.
The first wife died in 1972 and Mr. Ladd remarried in 1973. The second wife had several children by her previous marriage. Mr. Ladd died in 1989 and the house was sold by the widow in 1994 to Susan Yenner.
Susan came to Winnsboro from Dallas-Ft Worth where she took early retirement from GTE. She purchased the house for the sole purpose of converting it into a bed & breakfast. There were 2 full baths upstairs which one was the hall bath that was large enough to spilt into two new bathrooms. Two additional bathrooms were added in the two front bedrooms. There were 3 cast iron tubs in the house which were refinished and used upstairs. The kitchen was totally renovated, since the last removation was 34 years old. A few other minor changes were made however, the intent was to retain the integrity of the house. Most of the renovation involved cleaning, painting, wallpapering and sanding the floors. This took about 18 months. Songbird Manor opened in early 1996.
How to Find Us
Songbird Manor is located in the heart of Winnsboro's Historic District...
- From Charlotte, take I-77 South and exit Hwy. 200.
- From Columbia, take I-77 North and exit Hwy. 34.
- From either direction, take Bus. 321 into Winnsboro.
- Songbird Manor is one block behind the Town Clock building at 116 North Zion Street.
From Columbia - Interstate 77 North to Exit #34 (SC Hwy. 34). Proceed west to intersection of US Hwy. 321, turn right. Stay in right lane to turn onto Bus. Hwy. 321 - also Congress St. in Winnsboro. Continue 2.5 miles to Town Clock building, turn right. 1 block, turn left (Zion St.), 4th house on right.
From Charlotte - Interstate 77 South to Exit #48 (SC Hwy. 200). West to stop sign at intersection of Bus. Hwy. 321 (Chevrolet dealer on right), turn left. At the first light (College St.) turn left. 1 block, turn right (Zion St.), 3rd house on left.
From Charleston - Interstate 26 West to Interstate 20 East. Exit #70 US Hwy. 321/Fairfield Rd. North approximately 24 miles to intersection of Bus. 321 and SC Hwy. 34/Bypass 321 south of Winnsboro. Stay to right (Bus. 321) proceed to Town Clock, turn right. 1 block (Zion St.), turn left. 4th house on the right.
From Greenville - Interstate 26 East to Exit SC Hwy. 34 at Newberry. Continue east on Hwy 34 approximately 36 miles to intersection of Hwy 321 Bypass. Continue straight, becomes SC Hwy 200. At the next intersection - Bus. Hwy. 321, turn south (right). Continue to first traffic light (College), turn left. 1 block (Zion St.), turn right, 3rd house on the left.
"Cardinal Dining Room"
Breakfast is served in the Cardinal Dining Room, which also has an oak mantle and wainscoting. Homemade breads, regional and specialty delights using pecans and fruits grown on the grounds are served on china and crystal. Breakfast is also served on the veranda, weather permitting. The Mallard Room, known as the Gentleman's Parlor in Big Daddy's day, is decorated in hunter green and reds and features an oak mirrored mantle. Relax and enjoy board games, cards, puzzles or watch television or a movie.
The formal parlor, The Peacock Room, has a mantle of imported ceramic tile and inlaid Honduran mahogany design in the oak floor. Guests are invited to relax with a book borrowed from the library, pay board games, or enjoy easy conversation with new friends.