Blythewood Historical Society restoring Langford-Nord House

Blythewood Historical Society members Frankie McLean, left, Carolyn Lomas, Margaret Kelly and Doris Coleman behind the Langford-Nord house where restoration has begun. | Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission, members of the Blythewood Historical Society & Museum are beginning the second phase of restoring the 1904 Langford-Nord home at the corner of Main Street and McNulty Road where the Society is housed. 

The goal, according Society founding member and officer Frankie McLean, is to restore the building as near as possible to its original condition over the next two years or so.

The house has been home to the Society since it was donated to them in 2010 by Blythewood’s Cindy Nord who had turned it into a popular dress shop about 30 years ago. From the beginning, Society members have put their heart and soul – and sometimes their own money – into a plan for its restoration. The bulk of the process, however, has been funded by grants.

The first phase was funded primarily with a $6,000 grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission to produce two documents: a master (or site) plan for the house and grounds and a plan for a museum component.

Luther Langford in front of the Langford-Nord house, which originally had a screened porch where the entry is now.

A $4,000 South Carolina Humanities grant that required $4,000 in matching funds or in kind work from the Society, provided funds to create the museum component last year.

Now the members are embarking on the second phase in which they hope to have the aluminum siding removed, paint the roof and repair the foundation.

“We hope the $20,000 grant from the Conservation Commission will get us through this phase,” McLean said. “But we’ll have to see what we get into as the siding comes off.”

McLean’s husband Jim and a friend took the siding off one wall of the back side of the home recently to try to find out if the original wood underneath the siding is in good shape or beyond repair. They were pleasantly surprised to find well preserved German siding underneath the aluminum siding. German siding is a type of drop siding, which unlike clapboards is non-beveled and not lapped in installation. Instead it is edge-matched with a shiplap or, less often, tongue-and groove so that it installs flat on wall framing.

“We are very happy with what we found. The original wood is in great shape,” McLean said. “After the siding is removed, the roof painted and gaps in the foundation repaired, we hope to have acquired more grants to complete the third phase we have planned – to scrape the brown paint off the German siding and complete the restoration,” she said. That will include removing the lowered ceilings in the house to reveal the original tall ceilings and restore the rest of the interior.

A worker strips the aluminum siding off the house, exposing the German siding.

When that work is finished, the group plans to apply for more grants. They also hope to raise some of the funds for the restoration from members and organizations in the community. McLean said Society members like for people from the community to drop by and see the work being done.

“The mayor dropped by the other day as the men were tearing off the siding on the back side,” she said. “We really appreciate the town government’s interest and support in what we’re doing here. We love sharing our plans for the house and property. But we have a long way to go,” McLean said. “We still have to work on the grounds and other things. We want to do the restoration, and we want to do it right.”

McLean said the opportunity to restore the house is golden.

“We were so fortunate to be given this home and are so thankful to have it,” she said. “We can’t wait to see it completely restored.”