Home has long history

Visitors to Claudia Hillis’ North Augusta home, Star of Edgefield, take a step back in time.

“There’s a lot of history in this home. I love this home,” said Hillis, whose home is one of six on the 24th Annual North Augusta Christmas Tour of Homes, scheduled for Dec. 2 and 3.

Hillis’ great-great-grandfather, Robert Butler, built the home around 1859 after a wooden structure on the property burned. The Star of Edgefield was built with brick rather than wood, and some of its walls are 18 inches thick.

“He didn’t want it to burn,” she said.

Adorning the home is wrought iron imported from England during the Civil War. Some of the iron made it through the blockades in Charleston, S.C., she said. The stained-glass windows in the front are from Italy and France.

In the early 1940s, the home almost fell out of the family’s hands. Harsh economic times resulted in the home facing the auction block, but Hillis’ grandparents, Dr. C.E. and Theresa Mealing Blandenburg, purchased the home for $7,500.

The home is part of the Georgia Avenue-Butler Avenue Historic District, which was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in April 1984.

Inside are family treasures passed down through the generations. Pieces of artwork created by family members and photographs of past generations are a few examples. Many of the furnishings also remain. Some special items include Dr. Blandenburg’s dentist cabinet and Hillis’ mother’s wedding cake topper, which is now preserved under glass.

Hillis has spent most of her life at the Star of Edgefield. Growing up there, she knew that one day she would get married and move away. She and her late husband, Bud, did live on their own for about 15 years, but they moved back to the home in 1983.

“I always thought I’d want to move back,” she said.

This will be the Star of Edgefield’s first time on the Christmas tour.

AT HOME WITH

The homeowner: Claudia Hillis

The Home: The Star of Edgefield, part of a North Augusta plantation, built circa 1859 after a fire destroyed a wooden home on the property. At the time of the home’s construction, the area was considered the “Edgefield district,” hence the name.

TAKE THE TOUR

The 24th Annual North Augusta Christmas Tour of Homes will be from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3. There are six homes on the tour. Advance tickets are $17 until 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, and are available at Jim Bush Flower Shop, Communigraphics, North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, and Parks Pharmacy. On the days of the tour, tickets may be purchased at any tour stop for $20.

Also on the tour are the homes of:

• Dr. and Mrs. Michael Longe, Savannah Barony, 305 Riverwind Drive

• Mr. and Mrs. John Wood, Wellington subdivision, 2010 Wellington Road

• Mr. and Mrs. Tom Huff, Hammond’s Ferry, 51 Falmouth Drive

• Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Butler, Hammond’s Ferry, 508 Front St.

• Mr. and Mrs. Jim Smith, The River Club, 396 E. Shoreline Drive

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