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Group works to save historic Evans school building

Posted: March 18, 2014 - 11:06pm
A group of citizens is trying to have the historic cottage at Washington and North Belair roads that housed the Strictly Country gift shop moved before the property is sold.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
A group of citizens is trying to have the historic cottage at Washington and North Belair roads that housed the Strictly Country gift shop moved before the property is sold.

After weeks of meeting and planning, members of a group trying to save the old Evans School Teacher’s Cottage say prospects to move the building to another location look grim.

Donna Anderson, the daughter of the property owner, said Monday the group has not been able to secure a company to move the historic structure before the sale closing date, which is Friday.

Anderson’s mother, Rachel Robertson, ran Strictly Country out of the building for 25 years until she retired in 2012.

Robertson is selling the property to make way for a PDQ restaurant, a Tampa, Fla.-based restaurant that specializes in chicken tenders. Company officials said they hope to open the Evans location by this summer.

Anderson said committee members have a place to move the building, on Columbia County Board of Education property near the old Columbia Middle School, and have secured enough money to relocate the building. The problem is they can’t move the building this week.

She said that committee member Billy Jackson Jr. has managed to find a company that will do the job, but the timeline isn’t good.

“The earliest a mover can be contracted is in the middle of April,” she said. “I guess the question becomes at closing, ‘Can PDQ wait or not wait?’”

The small white clapboard and stone building at North Belair and Washington roads, once served as a teachers’ dormitory when children attended the Evans School across Washington Road, which is now occupied by Home Depot. Committee members had hoped to rescue the building – the last vestige of the old Evans community – from demolition.

Columbia County Commissioner Bill Morris has offered to allocate some of his discretionary money toward saving the building, if a plan can put in place.

PDQ officials have said they also were willing to chip in. Anderson said the company has made a generous offer to donate what it would cost to demolish the structure, or perhaps more, to the moving effort. But that was provided they could move it before the closing date, Anderson said.

PDQ officials did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

The 4,300-square-foot PDQ, or People Dedicated to Quality, restaurant will employ about 75 people and include a drive-through window, an indoor dining section and
either sunroom or outdoor patio seating.

Committee members have estimated costs to move the building to be between $125,000 and $150,000. Money left from moving the Evans School columns and arch could be used to assist with the project, but officials still would need to allocate funding to maintain the structure, Anderson said.

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Comments (4)

Little Lamb


Call the building what it is — old. Its historic value is trivial at best, zero in reality. Just tear it down.


Evans history is toast. You can't make $$ from constrution with

these old building in the way. That corner does not have a "fried chicken joint". We must have fried chicken on every corner. We must have fatty foods, entertainment and alcohol in CC to have fun. And fun is what CC is all about.

Gas stations, drug stores and fried chicken on every corner. This is part of the CC "new zoning requirements". And if they ain't zoned already, we will get a "zoning exception". forthwith.

Kiokee Baptist is the only history worth saving in CC. Just ask the members?


That BP station needs to go next. And the road hazard

cut-through next to it. Traffic hazard!!!! That would be another spot for a high traffic retail venture. Another small strip mall, turned sideways to Washington Rd, of course.

Cut down that oak. Nix the shisk ka bob place as well. Bring some class to that corner. An "emergency med center" perhaps.


Evans needs some high rise motel/hotels. Marriott Suites?

Every tourist center has transient accommodations. Think of the dollars it would bring during Master's Week. Think of the tax revenue, KAY.