Written by Erica Razek
Welcome to the Gilded Bat! I am your host, Erica Evangeline, and I have moved here from New York to pursue my dream of owning and operating a bed-and-breakfast that is a haven for lovers of historic homes, luxurious stays, and dark décor. The Gilded Bat is formerly the Ruff-Cobb House, which was built in 1850. It is thought that the home was built by the architect of Newberry College. The house was originally owned by Dr. Preston Ruff, who was a physician in Newberry and then sold to the Wicker family around 1900. Originally, the house was just a simple brick “4 over 4” but the Wickers added the balcony, columns, and porches to provide the grandeur you see today.
The home stayed in the family and was passed down to Lou Ann Cobb and her husband, Orr. They had two children who moved away from Newberry. Ms. Cobb was passionate about her home and garden and stipulated in her will that the property could not be sold. Her two children did not want the home, so it sat vacant for over 20 years when Ms. Cobb went to a nursing home. Finally, the Preservation Society of SC contacted Dr. Cobb (the son) and he agreed to donate the property to the society, which would refurbish it enough to sell it to someone who cared enough to restore it. I purchased the home on March 17, 2020.
This is where I come into the picture. I am originally from New Orleans and spent over 25 years in New York. I always planned to retire back to the south and, with some searching and hoping, and a little supernatural help, I found my dream home in Newberry. I credit Ms. Cobb for connecting me to this very special home, and her presence is still here in the rooms and hallways. I feel that she is happy to have her home returned to a center of hospitality and fun.
Many pieces of original furniture from the late 1800s and early 1900s remain in the house and have been refinished for the rooms. In addition to the original furniture, I have purchased furnishings and rugs that date from approximately 1850 – 1900. The house itself has been restored to 1900 and the only items that are not of that time frame are pieces that I have handpicked to promote my taste for all things dark and mysterious.
Each of my rooms is named after an early horror/mythology character and is decorated tastefully in a tribute style to the room’s namesake. Naturally, the fall and winter holidays are my favorite, but the house will be decorated each season with humor and in a spirit of fun. I invite you to attend one of my activities which will be posted on my website. I will be offering house tours at certain times of the year and have two rooms that can accommodate a small number of people for private parties. I hope to see you soon!