When you think about the history of early 20th century homes, you probably aren’t thinking too much about bathrooms. But when you run a bed and breakfast in a centuries-old house, you tend to think of such things – especially when you think of the first residents.
Ida Bates Green began building her “townhouse” near downtown Greenville on Pettigru Street for herself and five daughters in 1919. This one.
“She would love the fact that I now have eight bathrooms in this house. Can you imagine having a bathroom with five daughters? ”Giggles Lori Donaldson, who bought the house in 2004 and converted it into a bed and breakfast in 1993.
Today Donaldson is CEO – Chief Enthusiast and Owner – of Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast, 302 Pettigru-Str.
She says this year marks the 100th anniversary since Green completed the two-story house Donaldson bought after quitting her Fortune 500 job in her native Atlanta.
Green seems to appreciate that too – a woman who owns and runs a business there.
Ida Green’s husband, Benjamin Augustus Green, died when she was 31 years old, leaving about 1,700 acres of Picken’s farmland; his family hails from the 1760s in Greenville, where it is controversial whether the county was named after his ancestors, according to a 1932 book, “History of Greenville County, South Carolina”.
After his death, Ida, a five-foot tall, 100-pound ball of fire, traveled to the farm for an hour and a half every day, six days a week, says Donaldson, repeating the book, “Mrs. Ida Bates Green is a woman with a distinctive personality and business ability. “
Donaldson says Ida built the house to give her girls an education. They went to a school just around the corner on Toy Street, then Greenville Women’s College, a 20-minute walk across town to Heritage Green, she says.
“To have five girls graduating from college in the early 20th century, when less than 1% of women in the United States graduated – it was just unheard of,” says Donaldson.
The red brick house is also striking.
Much of the interior of the Georgian Federalist House has remained intact. Some features include 2 inch oak floors on the main floor; a 12 inch deep die-cut concrete foundation; and the slate roof. Donaldson only knows two slates that have fallen off since it was built.
National Register of Historic Places
In the heart of the Pettigru district, which is in the National Register of Historic Places, the 5,000-square-meter mansion now includes six guest rooms, the dining room where the living room used to be, and a room that used to be the living room.
Brett Carey, 65, a retired attorney who now lives in Ivoryton, Connecticut, says his father John and Uncle Pete were born in the house.
In the 1960s, Carey and his six brothers and sisters regularly visited his aunt Chris – Christine Green Balsley, who was his mother, Nada’s sister, and one of Ida’s daughters. Balsely took over the house in 1936, according to the district’s tax records.
“When we went to Chris, we were completely free,” he remembers wistfully, mentioning the family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Of the house and Donaldson, he says, “We all have wonderful memories, and she couldn’t have done a better job. We are really proud of that. “