The horses were put up in the carriage house downtown, next to the old bank building Steve Kay and his wife had renovated and turned into their home. But the horses' trainers had to leave town each night to find a bed. "We had a nice place for horses to sleep," Kay says. "But we didn't have a very nice place downtown for anyone else."
So in 2011, the Anderson native and owner of an electrical contracting business gutted several buildings downtown and turned them into a five-building hotel complex.
"We chose Anderson because that's where I grew up. My family has been there for several generations," Kay says. "I'm old enough to remember when downtown was where you went to town."
The hotel is named for a prominent merchant from Anderson's past: Sylvester Bleckley. A commissioner of Anderson County and a member of the city council, Bleckley was a stockholder in the Anderson cotton mills, the Chiquola Hotel and the Farmers and Merchant Bank, among other local companies. He was in charge of one of the Confederate States' largest commissary deposits in Anderson. Bleckley died in Anderson in 1896.
The hotel that bears his name welcomes two very different sets of guests.
"Midweek, we have a lot of industry representatives, especially foreign-based who like the boutique hotel idea," Kay says. "But on the weekend, the brides take over."
For brides looking for easy planning, the Bleckley offers a place to stay, a place for the ceremony and the reception at The Carriage House, which also can be rented for other events and retreats.
Centrally located in a revived downtown Anderson near the Lilia Day Spa and J Peters restaurant, the Bleckley offers 25 rooms and suites, ranging from $125 to 200 a night.
You can have all the modern conveniences - television, refrigerator, Internet access - or you can unplug, sit by the fireplace and enjoy a good book along with milk and cookies. In the morning, enjoy a complimentary breakfast.
The Bleckley also offers a suite, an apartment and a house for those looking for longer term stays.
Details: The Bleckley Inn, 151 East Church St., Anderson, S.C., (864) 225-7203. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org