Editor’s Note: This is the 355th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
In 1970, The Plantation fell victim to the wreckers.
It had stood vacant for nearly 20 years, but the proud Proctorville, Ohio, mansion once had been a gathering place for the region’s upper crust and much later a plush supper club.
The mansion was constructed in the 1880s for Col. Reese Dobyns and his wife by Huntington builder Henry Persun. Its 19 rooms included a dance hall, pool room, library and basement recreation room lighted by carbide lamps. The 28-acre riverbank property housed stables for six horses and had extensive floral gardens. Hired hands raised corn, potatoes and hay on the property.
An Englishman by birth, Dobyns owned property in Cincinnati. Once a month or so, steamboats would stop at the mansion, throw down a boarding plank for Dobyns and take him downriver on business.
When Dobyns died, his daughter and son, Emily and John, took over the estate. In the early 1920s, it was sold to Dr. F.L. Allen of Ashland.
In 1947, Paul Reese purchased it from Allen for $30,000, spent $90,000 on repairs and redecorating and turned it into a fancy supper club he called “The Plantation.”
The menu for the 75-seat dining room was southern style. In good weather there was dancing on the second-story veranda with music provided by a four-piece string ensemble. The décor included expensive carpets, a crystal chandelier, an imported French mantelpiece and a grandfather clock from the original Dobyns estate.
Initially the club was successful but soon fell on hard times. It closed in the early 1950s. The property was next owned by D.E. (Ducky) Corn of Ironton, who sold it to A.E. Giesey of Cleveland. And then the wreckers came.