2615 Stratford Road
The handsome Tudor Revival style home centered on a spacious garden lot, was designed and constructed for Arthur St. Julian Simons and Jane Kelhofer Simons in 1929. The Columbia architectural firm of Lafaye & Lafaye recorded the residential commission on August 3 of that year, and a family member, Rees Jenkins reported that the design was a wedding gift from Robert Lafaye to his friends Arthur and Jane. Of the 29 houses known to have been designed for the Forest Hills development by Lafaye & Lafaye, later Lafaye, Lafaye & Fair, between 1927 and 1942, 2615 Stratford Road was the eighth design to be built, making it among the earlier dwellings in the neighborhood.
Born in Charleston, South Carolina, on October 4, 1895, Arthur Simons began working at the R. L. Bryan Company in 1912 at the age of 17. He worked his way up to the position of President of the R. L. Bryan Company, serving from 1936 to 1966, when he became board chairman. Simons held other posts of note as well. He served 37 years (1933-1970) on the governing board of the South Carolina National Bank, and was described at his death as a “pioneer in the development of the State Ports Authority.”
Jane Simons was a native of Montgomery, Alabama, so she liked to point out that she “grew up in one capital city and came to live in another. People don’t know what they miss not living in a capital city.” Her many interests included photography, gardening, and historic preservation. She was an active member of the Columbia Garden Club and the Palmetto Garden Club. Her passion for gardening led her to research and photograph South Carolina wild flowers and to prepare a program that circulated widely among garden clubs. She also loved photographing historic sites, a hobby that led her to prepare a slide show entitled “Columbia, South Carolina’s Capital City” featuring gardens, landscapes, and photographs of statehouse markers and monuments. And finally, she served as secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Richland County Public Library. At the time of her residence at 2615 Stratford Road, it is likely that the property reflected her horticultural knowledge and care.
Arthur and Jane Simons lived in their Stratford Road home for over 40 year, and during that time, they returned to Lafaye, Lafaye & Fair for two alterations and the addition of an eastern wing. Arthur died in 1973, and Jane lived on in the house until her death in 1976. The Owens family lived in the house for a period, and then the Charping family. The latter added the rear wing and pool.
The collective spirit of the couple that built 2615 Stratford Road was captured by Jane Simons in The Columbia Record in 1972: “You can’t maintain a standard by standing still.” The new owners of 2615 Stratford Road would agree. In one year, Heather and Eric Powers, with the help of residential home builder Robert Haas, have restored the Simons’ house to its position as one of the architectural masterpieces of Forest Hills. Reflecting on what has transpired since they purchased the home, Heather observed, “We certainly did not stand still!”
To learn more about the contributions of Lafaye & Lafaye to Forest Hills’ architectural heritage, go to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History’s Website and scroll to the bottom of the page to view a complete copy of the National Register nomination.
 Interview with Ress Jenkins, March 22, 2009
 News and Courier, Charleston, SC, January 20, 1973
 The Columbia Record, Columbia, SC, January 27, 1972