MACK Rehabilitation Project – On Track and Proceeding Smoothly

Historic Keturah Hotel (1984)

The McCormick Arts Council has completed the second phase of the architectural documents necessary for the MACK Rehabilitation Project. We have completed our schematic and design phases and have begun the cost estimating process before finalizing our construction documents. We are tentatively setting a start date for construction as early as December of this year; we also anticipate a successful return to fall post-pandemic and post-construction activities by the fall of 2022. We are using this time to strategically plan for our future programs, but our top priority right now is to continue to ensure this important project stays on task.

The following is our statement of validation for this critical investment in not only our historic site but arts and culture within our rural community. For some, this may be an introduction to the MACK and this project. We look forward to welcoming all of our community stakeholders to celebrate a culmination event when the time is appropriate. Again, we are incredibly grateful to the Yoder Rosenberg Family Foundation for their vision and investment in our local mission and facility.

The McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah (MACK) has operated from the Historic Hotel Keturah on Main Street for over 35 years. Our cultural center serves over 20,000 participants annually and is currently operating out of 50% of the 8,000 square foot facility. By investing in the rehabilitation of our centrally located historic site, the building will achieve accessibility and code compliance while retaining its historic character and high value. This will then ensure a safe and fully functional cultural center, maximizing the services and use of the facility, and will be the catalyst in cultural development and additional historic tourism for McCormick County.

According to the South Carolina State Historic Preservation Office the following description documents the degree of the architectural and historic value of the Keturah hotel. “The Hotel Keturah is a two-and-one-half-story brick building constructed in 1910, using the Colonial Revival style. On the main façade, overlooking Main Street and the railroad is a one-story frame porch with Doric Tuscan columns. The main entrance features the original frame and glass double doors with sidelights and transom. Adjacent to the entrance is a projecting bay with three two-over-two sash windows. The building features a hipped roof with three prominent exterior chimneys and hipped dormers with two-over-two sash windows. The first Hotel Keturah was built by 1900 on this site. It was a two-story frame structure and stood until 1909 when it burned. The present building was constructed ca. 1910 to accommodate travelers and train passengers. Both hotels were constructed by W.J. Conner, who gave them his wife’s name. The hotel remained in operation for many years until it closed in the 1960s.”

The McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah (MACK) was established in 1984 and opened its doors at the historic site early the following year. The site was listed in the National Register on December 12, 1985.

The site, while housing a successful arts organization, is currently in decline with a deteriorating system of functioning utilities, lack of fire safety service, and historical elements that require specialist craftsmanship to retain the integrity of the building. Recently, our municipalities have deeded our organization the building, designating our cultural organization as the steward of this culturally significant site. The investment in the historic site, our cultural organization, and the surrounding public park have all been identified as action steps for our community’s investment. As the cultural center and community stakeholder for McCormick County, the McCormick Arts Council (MACK) and the historic Keturah Hotel are identified in major components of the McCormick County Economic Development plan. Collectively, we are participants within a larger preservation plan to include product development, public outreach, communication, quality of life, and downtown initiatives.

McCormick County is a rural community located in the western portion of South Carolina, within the Upstate region. The estimated population of McCormick County is 9,463. 14.1% are under the age of 18 and 35.6% are aged 65 years and over. The 2019 per capita income in McCormick County is $25,618. Estimates for income and poverty project 18.1% of McCormick County residents were living below the poverty level this past year.

The MACK has the potential to serve as a strategic hub for heritage and cultural tourism for McCormick County, Historic Downtown McCormick, and The Savannah River National Scenic Byway. By preserving the Historic Hotel Keturah, McCormick will be able to develop promotional and tourism opportunities for local citizens and visitors. The cultural center offers year-round classes, programs, events, and retail opportunities. By investing in this heritage site we will be able to increase the number of participants and tourists, increase programs and performances, and build small business relationships to maximize the impact of all those who visit our community. For every 10% of growth in tourists, it is estimated nearly a half-million dollars in direct impact will be created, according to a recent study of our community and strategic plan. We intend to measure the project’s impact by keeping data logs of participants, capturing visitors’ zip codes, and collecting testimonials of both community members and tourists. We also will be monitoring the financial gains of our expanding Artisans Guild retail shop, but ultimately the investment will engage and bring pride and value of the arts while enhancing the quality of life for our community.

Image provided by #ExploreOld96

In South Carolina alone, the arts and creative industry produce $9.7 billion annually. Our state also is gradually investing more per capita to expand the arts as an economic development tool and recognize the value of arts in education to provide 21st-century opportunities for all students. Ultimately, we believe that “Arts change lives!”

Thank you for your continued support during this remarkable time. For any further information regarding this project or the McCormick Arts Council, please contact Heather McNally, Director of Programs and Development at / (864) 602-0331.