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Making History.

Updated: Feb 22

Now female-founded and entrepreneurially-inspired Historic Hampton House 1908 is making history as the Upstate's premier wedding and events venue.

Southern bride infront of the Historic Hampton House 1908 Upstate estate

Historic Hampton House 1908 was (and still is!) ahead of its time. Everyone who steps foot on this incredible property wants to know more about its renovation and history, so we sat down with owner Beth Velner to learn more about how she came to purchase the property in 2021 and discovered how her history in real estate investment and entrepreneurship ran parallel as she peeled away layers of the past.

Take a trip down memory lane and discover how Beth's path to becoming a wedding and event venue owner was meant to be.

Beth Velner standing in the renovated parlor room at Historic Hampton House 1908 both during and after renovation in Pickens South Carolina
Beth Velner standing proudly (in the floor!) of the grand parlor before renovation and basking in the sunlit space after in Hampton House.

What made you decide to open an Upstate wedding venue?

"Initially, I was not thinking about owning a wedding venue when I first came to view 307 Hampton Avenue in 2021 in the quaint southern town of Pickens. It was the property itself that drew me in from the minute I drove up. Growing up in a family of old house fanatics, renovating a historic mansion was always in the back of my mind, but I never dreamt I could own a property as perfect for renovation as this one. Incredibly, so many of the original details were still intact and in beautiful condition to be polished for a new life within this majestic property. "

JOY suite bathroom in Historic Hampton House 1908 as a luggage storage space before and luxurious retreat in Upstate SC after.
The enormous JOY suite bathroom as trunkroom/storage space before and a luxurious retreat after.

How did you know where to start with such a massive renovation?

"I still can't believe I was given the original blueprints of the house at the closing. These gems became my guide to the renovation, with seven pages of historical detail that provided a starting point to learn more about the history of this stately home. Though preserved wonderfully, the house needed major mechanical and modern living renovations to marry the past with the future. Namely, more bathrooms! We knew the original house had a main floor bathroom thanks to the blueprints, and a second upstairs bathroom was added in the 1940s. This number of bathrooms does not agree with modern standards, so ensuites were added to the bedrooms with period detailing to integrate today's conveniences seamlessly for another 100 years. One of my favorite parts of the renovation was transforming the former' trunk room' into a gigantic master bath in the ultra-luxurious, super spacious Joy suite."

"You turned my Mother's vision into reality." – Vicky Porter

Historic Southern grand entrance hallway in Hampton House mansion at Historic Hampton House 1908 in South Carolina
The beautified grand entrance hallway shines once again.

When did you learn more about the history of the home?

"At our grand opening in 2022, I met Vicky Porter, the daughter of the property's previous owner, Margaret Gilstrap, and learned that her mother and I had so much in common! She said, "You turned my Mother's vision into reality." Margaret Gilstrap was a trailblazing entrepreneur ahead of her time, owning multiple businesses and investment properties in and around the greater Upstate area during the 1960s-1990s. She purchased the house in the 1970s as an investment property and eventually moved into the home a few years later. Margaret had loved this mansion designed by beloved Pickens mayor Waddy McFall in the early 1900s for his wife, their children, and her sister. He passed away before the house was completed. Still, his vision provided a long, happy haven for this family, who lived in the home from 1908-1950 and then housed an area doctor and his family before Margaret purchased the property. "

Pocket doors before and after in the Hampton House mansion at Historic Hampton House 1908 in South Carolina
A lot of work went into turning the front parlor into the stunning entrance it is today!

Why renovate a grand home like this to not live in?

"That's a really good question! I kept asking myself the same thing throughout the entire renovation. I loved this property as soon as I walked in the front door, but I could not picture myself living there as Margaret Gilstrap could. Soon after buying the home, people would stop by the house to ask if it was a wedding venue. This idea really stuck with me, and I call it a sign from the universe or maybe even Margaret Gilstrap talking, but it just felt right for more people to be able to fall in love with this incredible property, and Historic Hampton House 1908 was born as a wedding and events venue. "

Southern mansion kitchen renovation into a modern chef's kitchen in Historic Hampton House 1908
A gorgeous chef's kitchen seamlessly melds with historical details.

Where do you see the future of Historic Hampton House 1908 and making history in the Upstate?

"Continuing with the spirit of the property being ahead of its time, I want this space to transcend area venues to be the premiere inclusive wedding venue and continue making history as the event destination of the Upstate. We are proudly part of our Upstate community and members of the Clemson Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Pickens Chamber of Commerce, and the Upstate SC LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce. Supporting equality for the future of our Upstate community and beyond is an important mission to activate. It is my goal for all guests to feel the calming, zen-like experience that is Historic Hampton House 1908 and continue writing their own histories at this iconic property of Downtown Pickens."

Side entrance of Historic Hampton House 1908 before renovations and after as an Upstate mansion bridal portrait locationn
The side entrance of Hampton House was covered with overgrowth before and a stunning portrait spot after.

Don’t be shy and schedule a tour to view the incredible “AFTER” renovations and feel the historical charms that are forever Historic Hampton House 1908.

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