This monumental residence, now known as the Bennett-Sistare House, was built by John L. Bennett, Sr. in 1912 and acts as an anchor for the Clio Historic District in Marlboro County. The district consists of 21 structures, both commercial and residential, that were built between 1895 and 1920 and retain intact, original architectural features.
The soil in this area is rich and thus perfectly conducive to agricultural endeavors, making Clio one of the state’s leading cotton producers. In the early 20th century, Clio experienced a financial boom and was touted as having more millionaires per capita than any town in South Carolina. Many elegant churches and homes were constructed during that time.
This particular two-story house was built in the Classical Revival style with six large columns supporting a hipped roof and projecting pediment. Notable features of the home include a porte cochère, oak crossbeams, floors inlaid with mahogany, leaded glass, plaster moldings and medallions, carved mantles, and brass gas and electric chandeliers. Also of notable importance is the wall surrounding the property, which is adorned with foo dogs. Foo dogs can be traced to ancient China and are actually lions signifying protection. When placed along the exterior of a home, these statues are meant to show they are protecting something of great importance. Both the wash house and smoke house still exist on the grounds of the property. The house remains a private residence today.
The Bennett-Sisate House is listed in the National Register as part of the Clio Historic District:
The Clio Historic District is notable as an unusually intact collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century vernacular architectural design, including commercial, residential, and religious examples. Design influences include the Queen Anne, Victorian, Classical Revival, and Colonial Revival styles. The district centers along a downtown commercial district and extends outward to include significant residential sections of the town of Clio. Most of the properties were built or remodeled during the town’s boom period, from about 1895 until about 1920. The majority of these properties were constructed by local contractors without the help of an architect. The district continues to retain a unique sense of place as a small turn-of-the-century South Carolina community. Historically, Clio is significant as an economic center of northeastern Marlboro County. Its growth and development consequently reflect the evolution of a small South Carolina community which felt the combined impact of the changes that occurred in the rural trading patterns of the nineteenth century South – of railroad expansion into agricultural areas during that period, and of the great increase in cotton production. Listed in the National Register July 16, 1979.
More Pictures of the Bennett-Sistare House
Katherine Barton says
I visited this house frequently as a child. My mother was a close friend of Katherine Sistare . Katherine died when Mom was in Nursing School in Charlotte in 1951. I am named after Katherine and her mother gave me a cross with a diamond in it that had been Katherine’s. I used to love to hear Katherine’s brother Lee play the piano. It’s a real treat to see this pic.
Katherine Barton ( Mom was Sissy Chappelear , of Bennettsville )
James McColl says
My great great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Bennett (1841-1915), was an older brother of John Lindsey Bennett, Sr. (1845-1931). I believe John L. Bennett lived in his house, until his death.
James McColl says
My great great grandfather was Benjamin Franklin Bennett (1841-1915). John Lindsey Bennett Sr. (1845- 1931) was one of his brothers. I believe John L. Bennett lived in the house until his death. I have been told that the house has an upstairs ball room.
Dennis Sistare says
How did the house get to be named the Bennett Sistare House? I heard years ago that I had relatives who lived in Clio but never met them. All the Sistares that were in that area seemed to have passed away now. I would like to learn more about my kin folks if anyone knows. Thanks!
SC Picture Project says
Hey Dennis, when a house is named like this, it is usually in honor of the builder. In this case, the builder of the home was John L. Bennett, Sr. The remaining portion of the name comes from a significant owner, who we believe to have been E. L. Sistare of Clio.