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The Hotel Skye

The name "The Skye" was chosen for several reasons.  First and foremost was that the site of the building was the location of the Skye Hotel.  The hotel was built in 1903, during Bennettsville's heyday as a cotton capital.  The building, owned by Marlboro County entrepreneur A.J. Matheson, offered second floor rooms above street level retail businesses.  Matheson, the son of Scottish immigrants, named the hotel for the inner Hebridean island off mainland Scotland.  Among the first floor merchants were Sam Pearson Jeweler and Optician and Marlboro Drug Company.
The beautiful hotel's life was short.  It was destroyed by fire in 1908 after less than half a decade in business.  The fire took out the entire block of Main Street eastward from Marlboro Street.  The hotel was apparently a Bennettsville landmark during its short existence, appearing on numerous postcards from the era. 



Following the fire, the site was quickly rebuilt with the series of structures that occupy the block today.  C.V. Crosland built the three-story building on the corner of Marlboro and Main.  Matheson ordered the construction of the adjacent buildings, including 210 East Main.  The street level was used as a series of department stores.  The second floor was used in a variety of ways including extra retain space, apartments and finally as warehouse space for the department store below.
Allied Department store was the final tenant, operating until the 1980s.  The building was unoccupied for well over a decade and received no maintenance.  By 2002, a hole had developed in the roof, accelerating the decay.  Only drastic measures and a new purpose could save the old building.


In 2002, Dan and Elisabeth McNiel purchased the abandoned, derelict building in downtown Bennettsville.  "When we started the project, I know some people had to think we were crazy.  There was a hole in the roof big enough to drive a small truck through.  Rain water had been pouring in for a couple of years.  It was a real mess," says Dan McNiel.
The roof was immediately repaired but further work was delayed almost a year while the interior of the building dried out.  In the fall of 2003, contractors began turning 208 and 210 East Main Street into The Skye.


The department store sales floor was partitioned into two large meeting rooms, a kitchen and two restrooms.  The original hardwood floors were repaired and new front windows were installed.  A modern heating and air conditioning system was installed, as well as new lighting. 
"We chose the name for the building first because of the old hotel that had once occupied the site.  Also, we both are interested in our Scottish heritage.  The beautiful Isle of Skye is where my McLeod ancestors came from so it just seemed really appropriate," says Elisabeth McNiel.
Finally, on New Year's Day 2005, The Skye hosted its first event, an afternoon wedding reception.  Since that time, the building has hosted over 200 functions annually, both public and private.





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