One day back in March, my mother was having back surgery at the Village Hospital off of highway 14, here in Greer, SC. It was a long, 6 hour surgery, on a nasty, rainy day. My husband came over from work at lunch to check on mom and to bring me and my father some lunch. On the way back to work, he noticed a house he had never seen before. There was a commercial real estate sign out front. It sat up on a hill overlooking the highway and the old Pelham Mill dam. It was a very sad and forlorn looking house. Vandals had destroyed the once grand staircase, smashed any remaining glass in the house, including the original stained glass, kicked holes in the doors and windows, spray painted pictures and obscenities on the walls…it was a mess!
John called me when he got back to work to tell me about the house. He couldn’t stop thinking about it, and the next day at lunch he came and got me from the hospital, and we went to look at it. It was love at first sight! Even in its dilapidated state, you could see what it had been, and what it could be. The owner was no longer interested in the house. Long story short, my husband negotiated with the owner, and got the house, with the agreement that we would move it from the property so that the owner could sell the eight acres of land for commercial use.
We were trying to figure out what the story was on the house. I decided to look up historic places nearby, and happened upon a listing in the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, and realized I was looking at a picture of our house thirty years ago! www.nationalregister.sc.gov/greenville/S10817723019/index.htm We have now been able to do research on the history of the house and on the people who have lived there. The state historical society is not thrilled with us moving it, but if we don’t, it will be destroyed. The house has an amazing history, and an old house, although a lot of work, has attributes that you just can’t find in a new house. I am awed when I stand in my front hall and look up the grand, floating staircase, and imagine all of the things that have transpired there.
We have a house mover, have consulted with the state transportation people, and have a piece of land nearby to move it to. We have removed doors, wainscoting, moldings, and anything else that the vandals have not destroyed. We have run off kids partying and doing more damage there numerous times, and had to call the cops a few times. We have taken down the five chimneys for the eight fireplaces, and have spent countless hours cleaning off the bricks so that we can use them at the new property. The trees in front are now coming down to make way for the house to come down off the hill.
The house has become a member of the family. I am sure our sons have not always been too happy with mom’s new baby, as they had to spend a substantial part of their summer working on it. I am amazed at how much they have learned to do, and I know they will realize how great the skills they have learned are some day, although it may be a while! Now we just have to get the final steps done, and the Arthur Barnwell House will be on its way to the next chapter in its long and distinguished life.
*Sometimes I link up at these parties…
Bowl Full of Lemons, Between Naps on the Porch, The Coloradolady, Common Ground, Five Days Five Ways, Funky Junk Interiors, Home Stories A-Z, How to Nest for Less, House of Hepworths, My Romantic Home, Not Just a Housewife, Organize & Decorate Everything, Positively Splendid, Someday Crafts, Skip to my Lou, Shabby Creek Cottage, Six Sisters Stuff, Serenity Now, Today’s Creative Blog, Thrifty Décor Chick, the 36th Avenue, Tatertots & Jello, Ivy and Elephants