Greater Greer News 10/24/2012, Page A01
Historic house on the move in Greer
Couple to restore Barnwell home
By Katie Jones
Greater Greer News firstname.lastname@example.org
The Newsomes stumbled upon the Arthur Barnwell house.
Kary Newsome’s mom was having back surgery at the Village at Pelham — a stone’s
throw from the house on State14 in Greer. Her husband, John Newsome, went to check
on her mother when he found the house.
“We came up and looked around,” she said. “And fell in love with it.” So the Newsomes
purchased the house for $1.
“This is my home. This is my baby. I’m in love with it. It’s like a part of the family at this
point. We’ve spent so much time over here. I just love it.” They first found the house in
March 2012, bought it in May and began working on it the following summer, Newsome
said. Newsome said she hopes to move into the house within the next year, after the
house is moved about a mile away and restored.
“The important thing was to find a piece of land that it would have been there naturally,”
Newsome said. “We didn’t (want) it in a subdivision.” The house sits on eight acres but
the Newsomes only own the house. After the house is moved, they’ll grade the land for
the property owner so it can be sold for commercial development.
Moving the house will probably cost it its historic status, said Mike Bedenbaugh,
executive director of The Palmetto Trust for the Historic Preservation.
Being on the National Register allows for tax breaks, Bedenbaugh said, but it doesn’t
protect the house, a common misconception.
The Palmetto Trust was “so happy” to hear that the Newsomes were going take “the
time and money and effort to do this, which is substantial,” Bedenbaugh said.
“It’s terribly sad that the place can’t be kept where it was,” he said. “I’m glad some are
willing to make the sacrifice to take that extra step to make the investment to save what
they can of the building.” According to the South Carolina Archives and History
Department, the house was built between 1880 and 1900 in conjunction with Pelham
Mills and belonged to Arthur Barnwell, Pelham Manufacturing Co. president.
The house has a parlor, a secondary parlor, a library, a cellar, a butler’s pantry and a
maid’s bedroom. They’ve removed five chimneys and eight fireplaces from the house,
The house will be divided into nine pieces — “three on top, three on the middle and
three at the bottom,” said Melvin Bradley, owner of Bradley’s House Movers.
The house has been severely vandalized. Windows and shutters have been busted out.
Obscenities, slurs and crude drawings have been spray painted on the walls. The
Newsomes have found drug paraphernalia inside.
Bedenbaugh said the vandalism was “one of the most terrible things to witness to
happen to this magnificent place.”
It’s a party house, Newsome said. Graffiti around the front door agrees, but it also states
that the house is haunted. But that’s not what the Newsomes see. “To some people this
is an abandoned house,” Newsomesaid.“But this is my home. This is where I plan to live
the rest of my life. It really makes me angry when people come in here and destroy my
home.” If the graffiti is accurate, vandals were in the house as recently as this summer
— “TD (hearts) KD 7/30/12.” “They come in and they party,” Newsome said. “They kick
out the windows. There was a guy living upstairs.”
John Newsome said he’s never moved a house before, but has restored a house.
The couple has four sons between them — 11, 14, 27 and 28 years old — and the
house has been “a big family project,” Newsome said. “They’ve all spent all summer
over here, working on the house,” she said. The house and its history are irreplaceable,
Newsome said. “You think about all the families that have lived here and had children
here and died here,” she said. “You can’t replace this.” Follow the Newsomes’ progress
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Copyright (c) 2012 The Greenville News 10/24/2012
Greater Greer News 10/24/2012, Page A01