We have a home!
On Friday, May 20, 2011, Cindy Nord, the owner of the Langford-Nord House at the corner of McNulty Street and
Wilson Boulevard, presented to our president, Frankie McLean, a deed to the house. About 100 members and
guests filled the house for the champagne gala ceremony.
Following the ceremony, President McLean told our membership, “We welcomed the gift with beautiful music, good
conversation, delightful food, and a wonderful sense of community involvement and appreciation. History does
have a great way of bringing people together. Cindy has given us an opportunity and a challenge to make a
difference in the life of our community and our people. Her gift is the foundation of many more activities and
programs that will make our Society a vital, active, and positive influence for our wonderful community.”
Cindy is indeed a remarkable lady. You know it when you see her at a distance – her charm precedes her. Then it’s
cemented when you say hello and she sticks her hand out and says, “Call me Cindy.” No doubt is left in your mind
when she speaks (as she did at the ceremony) of restoration.
Cindy’s gift is a gift of far more than an old house. Her gift is a gift of history. So to commemorate the occasion,
Wade Dorsey and I researched the history of the house, referring to the Blythewood Scrapbook, the genealogy
Langfords in America (by George Shealy Langford, Ph.D. (1977), and interviewing various Langford descendants.
What follows is the result of those efforts.
The house formerly faced Wilson Boulevard and had a large porch across the front. This porch overlooked history
as it passed by on a major federal highway, through the epitome of our small South Carolina farming community. I
was surprised (though maybe I shouldn’t have been) to find that almost every character in this story was an
entrepreneur, a public servant, or a public-spirited person.
Our story begins with two Blythewood residents greatly affected by the Civil War: Dr. Samuel Bookhart and George
During the Civil War a third of the white males in South Carolina were killed and many more disabled. Dr. Samuel
Bookhart, a medical doctor who had been living here for years and who was perhaps the largest cotton farmer
around, physically survived the War but lost his home to a fire started by soldiers wearing blue uniforms. Not only
did he lose his house, but he lost his business. Being the smart, energetic, entrepreneurial kind of a guy he was,
he remained in town and opened a fertilizer business and other commercial ventures. Because of his financial
issues, though, he had to put much of his land into the name of his wife, Cynthia E. Durham Bookhart.
Cynthia Durham Bookhart was no mere figurehead. Her ancestors, the Durhams, were among the earliest settlers
in northern Fairfield County. She, just like her husband, still has descendants in the Columbia area today.
It was not unusual for men to put title to their land in their wives’ names like Dr. Samuel Bookhart did. Other folks
who did it were George Hoffman (builder of the Hoffman House) and William McNulty (for whom McNulty Street is
Just 10 years after the Civil War, Sam Bookhart and his wife Cynthia subdivided some of their land in downtown
Blythewood. I put “downtown” in quotes because there were only about two stores in town in those days. To do this,
they hired the firm of Hogan and Elkin to prepare a plat of “Doko Village and Turnout.” Thanks to Jim McLean, the
Society has a large reproduction of that plat.
The next year, the Bookharts sold the acre this house is on to a lady named Mrs. Sarah J. Stanley for $100.00.
This lot is described as being in the Village of Doko, “bounded on the North by J. K. Hogan’s Lot, East by Main
Street, South by McNulty Street, and West by Wm. C. Young’s Lot.” Sarah Stanley had to borrow money to buy the
lot. We don’t know anything about Sarah Stanley, but if you do, please let us know.
Sarah Stanley’s mortgage on the property was foreclosed, but we don’t know why. We don’t even know whether
she had a house on the property, but we think not. At any rate the lot was sold at a foreclosure sale for $100 to a
Charleston land speculation firm known as of Robertson, Taylor & Williams. The Williams in this partnership was the
son of the man who built the Calhoun Mansion on Meeting Street in Charleston.
Enter George Y. Langford, the patriarch of the family for whom Langford Road and Langford Middle School is
named. By now Robertson, Taylor & Williams had broken up, and the former partners sold the one-acre lot (with no
mention of any buildings) to Luther L. Langford for $150.00. In 15 years these land-speculating entrepreneurs had
made a 50% profit on this vacant, sandy lot.
We assume that Luther Langford built this house shortly after buying the lot. Luther was one of George’s six
children and one of the Langford Brothers for whom the store was named.
Although George never lived in this house, he visited here, and he is the one who brought the Langfords to
Blythewood. George was a Civil War veteran, having been wounded 5 times and held in a prisoner-of-war camp in
After the Civil War, George’s parents gave him and his new bride (Caroline, called “Carrie”) a saw mill, a wagon,
and a team (I suppose of mules). In 1880, after short stays in Newberry, Lexington, and Oconee Counties, George
and his wife and four children moved to the Cedar Creek Community west of Blythewood. (Before Luther was born,
George built a house on what would become Boy Scout Camp Barstow near Gaston, SC.) George was successful
and bought up some 2,300 acres in the Blythewood area. They ran their saw mill and built a number of farms
around here. Much of their lumber was used to rebuild Columbia. George was an entrepreneur.
One of George’s sons (and Luther’s oldest brother) would become our famous physician, Dr. Mike Langford.
Luther had returned home to Blythewood after attending boarding schools in North Carolina and then Clemson for
two years. He came to town to replace his brother Clark as a partner in Langford Brothers Store. (Clark had
resigned to become a postal carrier and to run a small farm.) (A little-known fact is that Dr. Mike was one of the
partners in Langford Brothers Store.) Luther ran what was then called “George Y. Langford & Sons” just across
McNulty Street from his house. This was also across the street from the railroad depot and water tank. (The depot
had been open for 34 years (1870).) What lumber and other building supplies he did not get from his father would
have arrived at the depot.
Luther was a tall, imposing man. He wore a black, broad-rimmed hat and a string bow tie, and he smoked cigars.
Late in life, he could be seen every day using his cane to knock a rock down Main Street from the front of his
house all the way to Blythewood Road.
Picture the town in 1904 while Luther Langford was building this house. The Town had been incorporated for 25
years (1879), cotton was flourishing again, the Langfords might have had indoor plumbing in their new house
(1880), the Hoffman House was already 50 years old, George Hoffman had just died the year before, the
Blythewood Institute (the namesake of the town) had been closed down for 20 years, Charnel Boney was farming
hundreds of acres north of town, the McLean homestead was brand new, Daniel James McLean was 50 years old,
John Meade Hawley had been living in town for 25 years, and Charlie Wilson had just moved to town from the Bear
Creek area. Hudnalle McLean, Sr. was a baby boy and would live to tell us in the 1990s what life was like back in
the first decade of the Twentieth Century. All this activity, yet only about 200 people lived in and around our little
town, 37 of whom were named Langford.
Luther Langford and his wife (the sister of Michael’s wife) would live in their fine new home until he died in 1950 and
she in 1957.
Imagine Luther, Caroline, and little Carolyn sitting on the front porch talking about President Roosevelt (Theodore,
that is) and talking about the financing and construction of Blythewood School. Imagine Luther’s personal
involvement in getting Blythewood into Richland County because Fairfield County did not have the resources to
keep the roads up or to provide adequate schools. Imagine them watching the first automobiles drive through town.
Imagine their excitement when the new postmaster, Miss Frances “Fannie” Powell, asked to buy the western side of
their lot in 1912. Imagine their surprise when they learned that both Luther’s father (George Y.) and Luther’s
brother (Clark) had their eyes on this same young woman. (George Y. would win out marry her in 1919. Former
Blythewood Town Council member George Frances Wilson was their daughter.)
Imagine the excitement of both electricity and paved roads arriving in Blythewood in the 1920s. Imagine little
Carolyn Langford playing in the backyard over the years and being told not to run out into “the highway.”
But not all times were good times in this house. We know the flu epidemic that killed so many South Carolinians in
1918 struck Blythewood and Cedar Creek. And we all know the misery and financial devastation caused by the boll
weevil of the 1920s. And we know that George Y. Langford was struck and killed by an automobile in 1924.
Farmers couldn’t pay their bills, and Langford Brothers Store closed. I have been told that Luther went to work for
Richland County as a maintenance supervisor. We have a picture of the little house to the right of Blythewood
School. Today the little house is surrounded by beautiful trees and shrubbery; but in the picture (taken in the 1930’
s) it’s sitting sadly in the middle of a barren, worn-out sand lot.
Luther L. Langford died, leaving his wife and daughter (both Carolines, but the daughter being called Carolyn).
Luther Langford’s widow (Caroline), died. As part of the settlement of her estate, the house passed to Carolyn.
Little Carolyn, now grown, continued to live in this house after her parents died. She married Guy Dangler of Long
Island, NY, but we don’t know anything about him except that they divorced. As for Carolyn, she taught elementary
school for many years here in Blythewood, and for many of our residents, this house was known as the Dangler
house. Carolyn and Guy had one son, Stephen, who lived with them. Stephen’s son, Mike, was reared in the house
for a while. He now lives in Elgin.
Carolyn (Langford) Dangler would have seen traffic on US 21 grow, seen the depot close (1968), and watched
Blythewood High School close and its students be sent to Spring Valley High School (1970). She was teacher of
the year at Blythewood in 1972 and 1973, near the end of her years as a public servant.
The Nord family bought the house and lot from Carolyn (Langford) Dangler, and Mrs. Cindy Nord’s daughter, Katie
Peterson, opened a tack shop in this house. By the early 1990s Cindy converted the shop into a lady’s dress shop
known as Focus on Women.
May 20, 2011
Mrs. Nord presented the Blythewood Historical Society with this lot, this house, and this history as a wonderful gift.