by Enola Gay Mathews
Some people just love getting a peek inside the gracious older homes we pass, and I am one of those people! I was invited to tour Oaklea Mansion in Winnsboro by owner Miss Casie Buck as she and her team ready the handsome B&B for bookings beginning January 14, 2022.
Starting at the back door, Casie and I set off with Hazel, the Corgi as our in-house tour guide. The cheery, modern kitchen gives way to the butler’s pantry where gleaming built-in well-preserved cabinetry shows off sparkling china. The formal dining room offers seating for up to 20 and four sets of pocket doors divide the formal seating groups in the living areas. Tall windows, high ceilings and chandeliers lend a sense of loftiness to the ground floor rooms.
Just beyond the dining room is a spacious lobby area which has a future as an antique jewelry store with repair. services. At the front entrance, the tiled fireplace with ornate mantel welcomes visitors and the eye-catching staircase of golden-toned rare curly pine invites you upwards to the six guest suites.
Much of the decor in the second-floor suites follow the Eastlake design movement popular in the 1900’s era when the home was built. The north-facing ‘Eastlake Room’ has lovely bay windows and small bonus bedroom plus a full bath with clawfoot tub and shower.
The south-facing ‘Victorian’ suite has four windows and a sunny spacious bath with an original porcelain chandelier. The final guest suite on the second floor is ‘The Grand Suite’. Perfect for honeymooners, it features a spa tub, antique brass bed with canopy and a spacious private balcony where breakfast can be enjoyed. This floor’s common area contains bookcases and a street-facing balcony.
The third floor of Oaklea Mansion, added a few years ago when it first became a B&B, offers three guest rooms, each with a private bath. The ‘English Oak Room’ features a large colorful stained glass window with a dove motif. The ‘French Room’ has a pair of Louis XV twin beds and a small dining area. The street-facing ‘Little Cathedral Room’ hosts the home’s sole circular window, so distinctive to the front view of the property. Each charming bedchamber presents a tranquil atmosphere with towering views of the grounds. All three stairways are carpeted, spacious and comfortable to use with handrails and broad stair treads for safety.
It’s interesting to note that in almost 120 years, Casie is only the third owner of the beautiful, historic property. M. D. Carlock Sr, a Winnsboro attorney, was the owner/builder who designed the ground floor for entertaining. He and his wife, Anna, appointed it with the most elegant decor of the era when they furnished their home in 1903. Their heir, M. D. Carlock Jr. and his wife Rhea entertained there frequently in the 1960s.
The second owners were Norma and Gordon Wilkinson who lovingly restored ‘the grand old lady’ to life at a hundred years old as a B&B. The property was purchased in 2020 by Miss Buck. “I had always seen this house when I would visit my grandparents in Winnsboro. And as adults, my brother and I have been in the hay business here on family property.
When I met Norma and actually got to step inside the house, well, I just loved the home, the grounds and the whole atmosphere it reflects here in Winnsboro. After lots of research, I also saw potential in it. It’s a passion for me,” she said. I feel sure that Casie will continue the loving legacy of Oaklea Mansion. With her team, Casie will make your stay comfortable and memorable. For booking information, go to www.oakleamansion.org or phone 903-342-6051.