I have had a LOT of inquiries about what is going on with the house. Dozens and dozens. Instead of trying to answer all of them individually, I will try to get you up to date here.
Trust me, no one wants the house finished more than we do. And no one wants our current situation, with my husband 7000 miles away in Saudi Arabia, to change more than we do.
When we started this project, we did not know the hand that we would be dealt. we did not know that he would have to go this far away, or that he would be gone this long (almost three years now).
So with that said, we are praying that John will soon be able to come home, and we will be able to finish restoring our future home.
The house was built in 1880 for the president of Pelham Manufacturing, Arthur Barnwell. The Barnwells are a very old South Carolina family from the Low Country. There is an Arthur Barnwell plantation near Beaufort, and they owned one of the homes on the Battery in Charleston.
(Barnwell-DeCamps House) The Arthur Barnwell House is reputed to have been built between 1880 and 1900 by the Pelham Manufacturing Company as a residence for its first president, Arthur Barnwell, in conjunction with Pelham Mills. The house is significant for its association with the development of Pelham Mills, a cotton factory established in the 1880s, and architecturally as the only local example of the Queen Anne style. The mill village and mill ruins are located on the opposite bank of the Enoree River from the Barnwell House. The house is a two-and-one-half story wood frame residence supported by a brick pier foundation. Its irregular plan features two two-story polygonal bays projecting opposite each other on the northeast and southwest elevations and a one-story kitchen ell projecting from the northwest elevation. The house is sheathed in shiplap siding and has a steep gable roof. Exterior decorative features include white-painted horizontal and vertical boards contrasting with the yellow siding, which serve to define and delineate the fenestration of the first and second stories. Two interior and one exterior brick chimneys are located on the main block of the house. The roofing is modern composition shingle over the original metal roof. Located a short distance north of the house is a large barn featuring a raised brick foundation with common bond and round arch ventilation openings, mortise and tenon frame construction, a cross gable roof with monitor, weatherboard and shingle wall covering, and a raised seam metal roof. Listed in the National Register March 19, 1982.
View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property.
The house was next owned by Barnwell’s son-in-law, Macmillan King. Then the house was owned by the family that would have it the longest, the DeCamps family. Sometimes the house is referred to as the Barnwell-DeCamps House. From what I can determine, they owned the house for almost 50 years. The family moved to Beaufort for a time, and they came back in the 1950’s. This picture was taken when they came back, and the house had its first restoration. This is the earliest photograph of the house that I am aware of.
After the restoration, it looked like this…
Then the DeCamps family moved away again, and the house was occupied by caretakers until the 1970’s. The Williams family purchased the house, and once again the house was restored. Lee Williams is the one who underwent the lengthy process of having the house listed on the National Register, in March 1982. This is how the house looked after the Williams restoration…
The Williams family had to relocate to Oklahoma, and the house was sold to the Cordovano family. The house underwent another change…
My mother was in the hospital having back surgery. My husband came over at lunch time to come sit with me and my father, and asked me, “Have you ever noticed that house up on the hill by the dam on Highway 14?”
He drove me over there. This is what I saw…
It was love at first sight. Just like the first time I saw my husband, of course!
The house was abandoned and vandalized. The house is three stories, plus a cellar. You could tell by the finishes of the house that this was no ordinary farmhouse. The people that built it had money. I started doing some research, and lo and behold! The house has its own website and a Wikipedia! Incorrect, of course.
My husband located the owner. The owner had no interest in the house, just in the commercial value of the property it sat on, so my husband negotiated with him to buy the house itself, for one dollar, and move it.
On Mother’s Day 2012, my husband told me I was now the proud owner of “One Dollar Cottage!”
We fell in love with it before we knew that it was listed on the National Historic Registry, but now that we know we are even more dedicated to restoring the house to its former glory.
The first thing we had to figure out was where we were going to move this thing.
You can’t plop a 4500 square foot Queen Anne Victorian just anywhere. It had to look like it belonged there. And it had to be a large enough piece of property. And it couldn’t be far away, because moving pieces of a huge house is not an easy feat.
We finally found some property a couple of miles away.
We worked on getting the house ready to be moved all during the summer of 2012. All five chimneys had to be disassembled, and all of them were three stories tall.
Then we disassembled the foundations.
Then we cleaned and stacked the brick from the chimneys and the foundation. That is a LOT of brick, let me tell you.
We removed any mantles, doors, and shutters that we could. We removed marble from fireplaces, found the pieces of the bannister that vandals had destroyed, window weights that remained, and anything else we could find.
Then the house mover started cutting the house in to 10 pieces, and it came apart.
And then it moved…
We laid out the foundation…
Dug the root cellar and poured the footings…
And then it started to rain. And it didn’t stop all summer. And my house sat there in pieces. The ground was just too wet to get any equipment in to finish the job. Sigh.
The house mover came to put it back together, and discovered that after sitting there for so long, some beams needed to be replaced before everything could be reattached. Now that is done!
Then the house mover came back, and maneuvered the pieces of the first floor together, and now we need to get the piers underneath, and then the foundation. The house mover will come back AGAIN, and attach all of the first floor together. And then we will get to add the second and third floors.
My husband has been working in Saudi Arabia since July of 2013. Since a major part of the restoration was being done by my husband and our family, it has been a little difficult to move forward when he is over 7000 miles away! He does get to come home for a week or so every three months, but that doesn’t allow for getting much done!
Hopefully, he will be coming home soon, and we will be able to get things back on track.
Pictures we have taken since we found the house and during the renovation are here on Flickr.