Fairfield County Club to get new life

Webb Yongue, vice president of development for Capstone Property Group, stands in front of the former Fairfield Country Club, which Capstone purchased last week and plans to develop into a boutique hotel, an event center, and a restaurant.

WINNSBORO – An event venue, hotel, commercial kitchen and restaurant are planned for the site of the former Fairfield Country Club in Winnsboro, which has been vacant for years.

Webb Yongue, vice president of development for Capstone Property Group that closed on the 64-acre property last week, says the expected timeline is about six months for full completion of the project, which is to be renovated with the help of historic tax credits.

Built in 1861, the building was erected by James N. Shedd as his private residence; later turned into an inn, then a country club. It was renovated in 2013, but has been vacant for the better part of the last ten years, according to Yongue.

“For it to be vacant for that long, it was in excellent condition, and we really liked it; we think it has a lot of potential,” he says of the building. 

“We wanted to do something nice for the town and create an attraction to bring people to Winnsboro and also provide visitors a nice place to stay.”

Once upon a time, he says, the country club building was the Fairfield Inn – and the second floor still contains six bedrooms complete with bathrooms and showers, so it makes sense to convert that part of the building back into a hotel.

Yongue says the facility will also include an event venue for weddings, receptions and other large events in a 3,000-square-foot pavilion to be constructed behind the main building.

He says the building’s existing commercial kitchen makes it well-suited for catering events – and they plan for there to also be a restaurant in that location.

Initial plans are to furnish the facility with period furniture similar to the furnishings chosen by Henry C. Everett, Jr., of Boston, who was treasurer of Winnsboro Mills and was tasked with furnishing the building when it became the Fairfield Inn.

“We are currently leaning toward naming the property, ‘The Everett,’ after Mr. Everett,” Yongue says.

While the focus, initially, will be on the renovation of the buildings, Yongue says future plans are to look at the possibility of also restoring the golf course.

“I know how much the golf course means to the community,” Webb said, “so it is certainly something we hope to bring back thing we hope to bring back in the future.”

Yongue, a 25-year-old Winnsboro native who now lives in Georgia, says he remembers the town having more things to do when he was growing up – and he hopes to bring some of that energy back to the community to benefit his mother and others who still live there.

Capstone is the same company that bought the Wells Fargo bank building last year, which is being renovated into four apartments on the second floor and an upscale restaurant on the first floor.

“We’re really trying to lead that development, and the town government has been extremely supportive,” he says. “After we purchased the bank building and the town government bought Thespian Hall (mostly destroyed by a fire in 2011) …it’s been a good partnership, and they’ve been helpful along the way.”

The Town plans to restore both Thespian Hall and the former Tavern restaurant that was located downstairs.

“Thespian Hall is across the street from the bank building, so it’s nice to have a very centralized area of redevelopment,” Yongue says. “I think it’s a good start for Winnsboro’s downtown revitalization efforts. There are so many boarded up buildings there, so I think this is a great start.”

He says the combination of state and federal tax credits are expected to cover about 70 percent of qualified rehabilitation expenses for Capstone’s two projects (the bank building and Fairfield Country Club,) which together are expected to cost several million dollars to restore.

Restoring these old buildings won’t be especially lucrative for the company, Yongue says, but he says he hopes it will help to spark the town government’s vision to redevelop his hometown.

Yongue says the effort in Winnsboro mirrors the effort of Capstone’s owner to revitalize Gainesville, Ga., over the last decade.

He says he hopes that these projects being restored by Capstone and the Town of Winnsboro might inspire other property owners in the town to see that it’s time to invest in some renovation projects of their own.

“A lot of these property owners on Main Street with these boarded-up buildings also need to step up and do their part to help make the vision happen, to help make Winnsboro the busy, bustling town it used to be,” he said.

Yongue says restoration of the country club has already begun, and that the restoration of both the country club and the bank building should follow a similar timeline for completion.

History of the Fairfield Country Club

WINNSBORO – Known for nearly four decades as the Fairfield Inn and later as the Fairfield Country Club, it was erected in circa 1861 by James N. Shedd as his private residence.

This is one of Winnsboro’s several elegant Italianate Revival homes from the antebellum period that is on the National Historic Registry.

According to Roots and Recall, the original two-story house had a square center hall, with four large rooms, two on either side, upstairs and down, with kitchens and service rooms joined to the rear of the house. Following the Civil War, the Shedd family lost the property and it was acquired at auction by Thomas W. Erwin who a year later sold it to S.B. Clowney. In 1878 the home was once again sold to Alexander S. Douglas. Later, in 1923, the Winnsboro Mills, owned and operated by the U. S. Rubber Company, purchased several large areas of property, including this land and residence, which was then owned by Mary Kilgore.

The residence was enlarged, necessary changes were made, and in the fall of 1924, it was opened as the Fairfield Inn. 

Henry C. Everett, Jr., of Boston, was treasurer of Winnsboro Mills and he was tasked with furnishing the Inn, retaining the atmosphere of the earlier Colonial periods. The Inn was furnished mainly in Federal Period, with some rooms predating the formality of that period. Many of the pieces were authentic antiques while others were excellent reproductions, made of mahogany, maple, and pine.

In January 1942, the Fairfield Inn was closed to the public. Following World War II, it was again opened to the public, on a reservation basis. 

In 1959 United States Rubber Company (Uniroyal) gave the property to the Mount Zion Society, a non-profit. Within two years, the Society leased the properties to a newly formed Fairfield Country Club as a to-be-constructed nine-hole golf course, with tennis and swimming facilities.

In 2012 the Mount Zion Society sold it to a not-for-profit, religiously-exempt organization, Christ Central Ministries. After making some renovations to the property, it remained mostly unused until it was purchased April 11, 2024 by Capstone Property Group.

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