Galen has been kind enough to permit us to reprint the second of a series of articles that appeared in the KPOA newsletter. Her passion is Historic Flat Rock and she invites all Kenmure residents to become members.
Beautiful Glenroy, built by Dr. Mitchell King and his wife Elizabeth Middleton, who’s family created Middleton Gardens in Charleston, only became more noticeably lovely with age. Inherited by the King’s daughter, Mrs. Henrietta Bryan, it was eventually sold in 1924 to William Gordon McCabe Sr., direct descendant of George Taylor, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The estate was still in tact on approximately 1,400 acres with 23 outbuildings, with the exception of Rutledge Cottage, which had been sold.
Mrs. McCabe was an avid gardener and Gordon McCabe loved to farm the estate, keeping a beautiful herd of cattle in the barns and pasture, about where the fitness center is now located, and riding horses on what is now part of the golf course. They changed the name to Kenmure, after Kenmure Castle in Scotland, home of the Gordon Clan. Where the Charleston Room is now, a side porch and circular drive lined with boxwood was added. When walking back into the main house, you can feel the “bump” in the
floor where the porch ended. They also added the beautiful wide front porch that instantly became the most popular place to entertain. When Dr. King built the estate, he brought in English gardeners to plant the bones of the landscaping. Trees were planted in groups to frame mountain views, boxwood gardens were begun, and a gracious flow of plantings installed. The McCabes extended and nourished the gardens, planting dogwood and azalea around a walking path around their spring fed lake. This lake, that we still so admire, became a focal point for Flat Rock’s young people, who came to swim in the cool, clear water with the McCabe children.
After Gordon McCabe, Sr., Kenmure went to Gordon McCabe Jr., Vice President and director of J.P. Stevens Textile Company. At times we take for granted so many lovely features of the mansion, such as the flying staircase, and the Adam mantles in the Sears dining room and our cocktail lounge. Kenmure was offered to President Eisenhower in 1954 as a retreat. He did not accept because of the inaccessibility of Flat Rock.
- Galen Reuther