When then Mayor Betty Jo Rhea started talking about historic preservation and celebrating Rock Hills history, she got a lot of blank stares from the men on the City Council.
That council of 14 years ago had not yet bought into the visions that would shape Rock Hills future.
Tuesday, on the backyard patio of the historic White Home, there were no blank stares. But there was much talk of appreciation as a formal garden at home was dedicated to Rhea.
The garden was funded by the Rock Hill Sesquicentennial Committee which donated $10,000 to Historic Rock Hill from proceeds of the sale of the book The Good Town Does Well, by Lynn Willoughby.
Rhea was the honorary chair of the committee, and Tuesday she downplayed her role in the celebration. A lot of people stepped up, she said Tuesday. You dont do anything by yourself, she said. I was just the cheerleader.
But Joe Lanford, who was city manager when Rhea was mayor, saw it differently.
She is a big part of what Rock Hill is, he said.
Lanford said you can make a compelling case that Rhea turned the planning visions of 1988 through 1990 into reality. She was relentless, Lanford said.
Rhea, Lanford and about 40 friends gathered Tuesday for the official dedication ceremony. The garden is one of at least five that Historic Rock Hill have planned for the White Home. Naming rights have been accepted for several others, Historic Rock Hill officials said.
Built in 1839, the White Home was one of the first homes constructed in Rock Hill. The home and the history of the White family helps represent the story of the birth and development of Rock Hill.
Don Worthington 803-329-4066