A few months back Murray and Rachael Kight asked if I knew the history behind the house at 503 North Ash St. in Springfield with ARGYLE written on it. Thus began a journey to write this article.
My aunt Mary Turner shared that her son, Norman Turner, who is a local historian, had a picture of it being built. I borrowed what turned out to be a real photo post card made by J.W. Heidt of Pooler (this is stamped in white on the card). Norman was given the photo by Clara Tebeau, daughter of J. Robert Tebeau.
John Tebeau, grandson of Jim Tebeau, says he was told his grandfather Jim built ARGYLE. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was being built at the same time as this house, as was the Effingham County Courthouse. Brothers Jim and Robert Tebeau were both contractors and built many structures in the area. The men pictured in the adjacent photo likely included Jim Tebeau and perhaps Springfield City Councilman Charles Hinely’s grandfather, who was a local brick mason at the time.
The home was built by H. W. McCartney, who came to Effingham County as president and cashier of the Exchange Bank of Springfield. He came from Virginia, according to “River to River the History of Effingham County.” Word of mouth states the name ARGYLE was for his ancestral or plantation home. (Internet searches link the name ARGYLE to an unincorporated area in Logan County, W. Va.; perhaps this was where he came from or the name had roots in Scotland.) The bank was organized and opened in 1908. The bank encountered difficulties and closed. In 1921, Mac Marchman came as liquidating agent and reopened the failed bank.
On Sept. 8, 1919, the Argyle house and land originally owned by the McCartneys was sold by W. T. Daniels to N. D. Beckwith, a dentist, of Burke County, for the sum of $6,900. The land consisted of 12-5/8 acres, consisting of several small parcels originally owned by H. W. and or Maria McCartney.
One parcel, a 4 acre tract, was conveyed by deed to Maria McCartney from Jas W. Gordon on March 30, 1909, for the sum of $100 (Book 25, page 302 Effingham County deed). On Oct. 25, 1910, H. W. and Maria McCartney purchased 3-5/8 acres for $100 from James W. Gordon (Book 30, page 46). On May 5, 1911, a 2-acre tract was purchased from James Gordon by H. W. McCartney for a sum of $400 (Book 32, page 583).
Another tract of 2-3/4 acres was purchased from Jas Gordon on December 17, 1913, for $10 (Book 40, Page 437). The Beckwith purchase included three lots as well from Mr. Daniels noted in deed book 25, page 448.
The Neoclassical Revival house was built with red brick walls that were 14 inches thick. There was an outside and inside brick wall with bricks lain crosswise between the walls. This allowed the two-story house to retain the heat and also to be cooler in the summertime, and there was a basement which often held water.
The home is described as Georgian featuring a central partial, two-story, pediment gable portico supported by huge Doric columns. The portico is flanked by flat-roofed, one-story porches supported by the columns, each with second-floor, brick balconies with small French doors with two light transoms and elaborately carved door surrounds.
The hip roof was made of terra cotta tiles and it had nice corbelled chimney caps. There was at one time an exterior stairwell on the back of the home. As late as 1958 (on the left side of the home in the photo) the house had a buggy port with a door at buggy level for ease in getting into a horse drawn carriage. There was a well house and a barn for horses and carriage storage house on the original property.
In the front gable of the house, glass panes with painted letters spell out the word ARGYLE. The unusual panes were removed for a time but have been restored and now occupy their original spot.
The house had a total of five fireplaces with three downstairs (three rooms were served by the triple chimney) and two upstairs on the left side. On the right side of the house there was a chimney with two fireplaces downstairs and one upstairs. In 1958, there was only one bathroom and it was upstairs.
For a good many years there was a tenant type house that sat on the backside of the property according to former residents.
Part of the over 12 acres of land once owned by the McCartneys was sold by the Beckwith family and now is occupied by the adjacent Board of Education offices at the former site of Effingham Academy and later Springfield Elementary School. The homes in Laberta Circle sit on former property of the original McCartney estate. Argyle, which now sits on a single large lot, has changed ownership through the years and is presently the home of Robert and Patricia Payne.
Next week I will tell you about some of the people who lived in the house and how the building was utilized through the years.
Deeds were reviewed in the Effingham County Courthouse. This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org