This Federal-style home built in 1820 in the town of Cheraw once hosted Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette. In 1825 a reception was held here in his honor, and legend holds that he enjoyed himself to the point of dancing on the roof.
While the roof may have served as a dance floor to the French-born general, the balcony below it was a point of tragedy for the home’s builder, Dr. William Ellerbe, who allegedly was jokingly pushed during a political discussion and fell to his death as a result.
Many thanks to David Sides, Cheraw Director of Tourism and Community Development, for the above photo and history surrounding the house.
The Lafayette House is listed in the National Register as pert of the Cheraw Historic District:
Around 1736 Welsh Baptists came to South Carolina and settled in the Pee Dee region. In 1766 Eli Kershaw, who had been given a grant of land along the Pee Dee River, laid out the town of Cheraw. It was incorporated in 1820. Located at a key navigational point, Cheraw began to develop as a commercial center of interior South Carolina; however, the Civil War and Reconstruction temporarily halted this progress. For a time development was impeded and rebuilding was delayed. Although the town eventually prospered, much of its physical character remained unaltered.
The town of Cheraw also played an important role in South Carolina military history. During both the American Revolution and the Civil War, British and Union troops used St. David’s Episcopal Church as a hospital. The meeting house style church still stands today. Additionally in 1825, Revolutionary War figure Marquis de Lafayette stayed in Cheraw during his tour of the United States. Located within the district are a variety of architectural styles that include the early frame homes of the 1800s (often called upcountry farmhouses, or essentially I-House in type), antebellum structures with Classical Revival details and Greek Revival porticos, and Victorian houses from the turn of the century. The district also includes several churches, a cemetery, and the towns’ original boundary markers dating from 1766.
Ruben Alexander says
I have an old postcard with address of 1407 Gervais St in Columbia, the house is called Lafayette House. Identifies house as one where Lafayette stayed in 1825. George Washington was guest in 1791, Daniel Webster there in 1847. Can’t find info for that address otherwise. Curious if you know more.