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Historic hotel in downtown Pageland goes on auction block

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By Wallace McBride

PAGELAND–OneofPageland’soldestlandmarkswillbeupforauctionlaterthisweek.

TheBlakeneyHotel,locatedindowntownPageland,hasbeenvacantfordecades.ItsownerRobertSchererboughtthepropertyinthe1980swithintentionsofrestoringittoitsformerglory.Theplansnevercametofruition,though.“MywifeandIaregettingupinyearsandarenotgoingtobeabletofulfillourdreamswithit,”Scherer,70,said.Hisdaughterisarealestateagent,andsheconvincedhimtosellthepropertythroughanauction.ScherersaidhewouldprefersomeonefromPagelandbuytheproperty.Hehasareserveestablished,meaninghedoesn’thavetoletthepropertygoifitdoesn’treachthatvalueintheauction.Hehasnoplanstoselltosomeonewhowilldemolishthebuilding.“MywifeandIboughtittosaveit,”hesaid.“Wehaddifferentdreamsaboutwhattodowithit.We’vepreserveditwellenoughforsomeoneelsetopickitupandrealizetheirowndreams.”Scherersaidhehadofferssinceheboughtthebuildinginthelate1980sfrompeoplewithwidelydifferingplansfortheproperty.Onepersonwantedtocreateafinediningrestaurantinsidethebuilding,whileotherswantedtotearitdown.“Ihavepeopletalkingtomeallthetimeaboutwhattheywanttodowithit,”hesaid.“Idon’twant(theauction)tobeabigsurprisetoanybody.”PopularhistorysaystheBlakeneyHotelwasbuiltin1910,thoughScherersuspectsthebuildingisafewyearsolder.Regardless,thehotel’sprimeyearswerebetween1910and1940whenitwasownedandoperatedbyBillyandAnna“BigWheel”Blakeney.Accordingtolocallegend,aparrotwaskeptasapetatthehotel.Itwascapableofspeaking,butitsvocabularywaslimitedmostlytoswearing.Thehotelwasbuilttotakeadvantageoftravelerspassingthroughtownontherailroad,locateddirectlybehindthebuilding.“IwouldreallylikethehoteltostayinthehandsofsomebodyinPageland,”Scherersaid.“That’swhyIdidn’tsellitfouroffiveyearsagowhensomeonewantedtoturnitintolow-incomehousing.”ThepropertywillbeauctionedFridayinColumbia.Fordetails,callSchererat(843)337-6027or(843)672-6024;orcallRebeccaHanlonat(803)788-3300,or(248)790-1806.

McBrideiseditorofthePagelandProgressiveJournal