This Neoclassical home in Ridgeway was built around 1910 and reflects the prosperity the railroad town enjoyed at the turn of the twentieth century. Cotton grew prolifically in the surrounding area, and the combination of South Carolina’s textile boom and new rail lines (which allowed farmers and merchants to easily transport their cash crop) made Ridgeway an affluent village. When the boll weevil damaged crops in the 1920s and the highway system replaced rail travel, wealth in Ridgeway began to fade. Nevertheless, the grand structures built prior to the town’s economic decline still line the streets of Ridgeway.
This home was built for Charles Wray, a railroad and bank executive. The opulent house faces the historic Rockton and Rion railway around which the town was settled when tracks were laid in 1850. The ghost of Charles Wray is said to haunt this home in search of his wife and son, who were killed along with Wray in a train accident.
The Charles Wray Home is listed in the National Register as part of the Ridgeway Historic District:
The Ridgeway Historic District is significant as an example of a virtually intact turn-of-the-century town whose development was inextricably tied to agricultural prosperity. A majority of the buildings in the district were built between 1890 and 1915, the heyday of cotton production in the area. The community developed in an east-west linear pattern paralleling the Southern Railway tracks, completed in 1850. After a period of economic depression following the Civil War, Ridgeway began to develop as a commercial center serving area farmers. By 1880 there were ten stores located in the commercial district, two stores still survive. The town’s merchants constructed modern new brick stores along Palmer Street and some also built their homes in the residential section adjacent to the central business district. The district contains approximately thirty-one buildings including a commercial block with a predominance of simply ornamented two-story brick stores and a residential block with primarily asymmetrical, frame, weatherboarded houses lining the tree shaded streets. Styles include Queen Anne, Neo-Classical, Victorian, and Bungalow. Also included are a school, the town hall, and the police station.