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Officials have six months to save teacher's cottage

Posted: October 15, 2013 - 11:06pm  |  Updated: October 16, 2013 - 12:21am

Whatever fate is decided for the old Evans teacher’s cottage, it appears local officials only have about six months to make it happen.

That timeline to save one of the last architectural vestiges of the old Evans community came to light Monday, at the meeting of the Columbia County Historical Society, said society member Rob Nordan.

Nordan said State Sen. Bill Jackson disclosed the deadline after speaking with the family of property owner, Rachel Roberston, whose business, Strictly Country, closed in 2012 after operating in the historic building for 25 years.

The white clapboard building at the corner of North Belair and Washington roads is under contract for sale, although the owner will not yet say what it will be used for, only that the building must be removed.

Nordan said the Historical Society supports moving the building to a new location, if that will save it.

He said no one knows, yet, how difficult that will be. A plan has to be put together to find a new location and move it, which could prove to be very expensive.

He said the building could be used as a visitor’s center, a musuem or a repository for historic documents or artifacts. Whatever the purpose, he said it should be for public use.

Nordan said Jackson told members at the meeting there would have to be a “massive volunteer effort” to accomplish such a task. The county’s building and construction community will have to come forward to offer services to disassemble and relocate the structure. Money will have to be raised and land will need to be acquired, Nordan said.

County Administrator Scott Johnson, who also attended Monday’s meeting, said the first order of business should be determining what the old building will be used for before creating a plan to move it.

“I don’t think it is wise to move an historic building and plop it on a piece of land, not knowing how it will be used,” Johnson said. He said he has asked county staff to look into estimates on the cost of such a move, just to see what they are facing.

“We want to know what we are talking about, whether it’s $10,000 or $200,000, we just don’t know,” he said. Until more information is gathered and a plan is offered, Johnson said it would be difficult for the county to commit any resources to the project.

“What we’ve done so far is kind of exploring our options,” he said. “I don’t know if I have a place to put it or if we have a need for it at this time.”

Jackson said that any county involvement would be helpful and he is happy that officials are at least exploring the matter.

Jackson said that he would support the formation of a special committee to examine the issues, develop a plan and make recommendations to the government on what could be done with the historic property.

“I was encouraged by the meeting and I feel like we have a better chance of doing it,” he said. “It’s a big project.”

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Comments (5)

Little Lamb

Hmmmm

Published on Wednesday morning, here it is Thursday evening and I'm the first comment.

I say, if the Columbia County Historical Society can raise a bit of money to purchase the tiny building and move it to a temporary storage location, then the final resting place should be in the middle of the soon-to-be-constructed Pumpkin Center traffic circle on Hwy. 221 @ Wrightsboro Rd.

The Society can host bake sales, car washes, raffles, 5k runs, and various other fund-raising techniques to raise money.

Columbia County taxpayers should not become entwined in this mess, no matter what Sen. Bill Jackson says.

Riverman1

Historic vs Memento

I'm all for saving historic structures, but I wonder about the value of this cottage. There are many old wooden houses around the county and they're not particularly special or historic. The fact that it was the Evans teacher's cottage is a sentimental aspect, but certainly doesn't make it a historic house. It's a memento to many, but that's about it. In any case, an interesting article and the kind of story I like to see in the CCNT.

Little Lamb

Part Two

I felt like I was reading part two of a series of articles when I read this story. There was no context, no explanation, no mention of any significance of the structure.

I bought a couple of Christmas decorations from Strictly Country over the years. When I went into the little store, there was no hint the building was dripping with history of any significance.

I hope we get a follow-up story explaining whether it is the brilliance of the architecture, the civic contributions of a past resident, the significance of the governmental pact that was signed there, the scientific breakthrough that was discovered in the kitchen there — something.

All we get are the external workings of a meeting involving Rob Nordan, Bill Jackson, and Scott Johnson.

Riverman1

Be Kinda Cool If Steve Would Jump In

LL, getting the comments going would be helpful to the CCNT. Goodness, I HATED Barry at times, but I always respected his comments as I respect your's. Others have contacted me and asked what's up with the CCNT? Come on, Steve, we are pulling for you. Let's get this thing going. If I can help let me know. Honestly!!!

Little Lamb

Need

County Administrator Scott Johnson said, “I don’t know if I have a place to put it or if we have a need for it at this time.”

Of course the county government has no need for this building. It is a white elephant. It would serve no legitimate government function. That is what is so strange about the subject of this story. I am glad Steve Crawford exposed this meeting, as it could have easily gone un-reported.

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