A fine group of Columbia County citizens are making plans to rescue a piece of the county's visible history.
Save the Columns, which will hold its first meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Evans Middle School cafeteria, will finally bring together the people most interested in the future of the Evans pillars and arch. Any local residents with an interest in the structures' future is invited to attend.
The remnants of the original Evans school, constructed in 1927, were still standing after the fire that destroyed the building in 1954. The native fieldstone structures survived again three decades later when they were moved to make way for a wider Washington Road. And they will withstand the demise of the Evans Middle School site, which will soon become commercial property as the school moves to a new home on Hereford Farm Road.
No one doubts that the relics will be saved. The principal has promised, the school board has promised, and even the developer has promised to kick in money to rescue the stone structures.
The question isn't about their survival, then, but their eventual location. We'd suggest this starting point for Monday's discussion: To whom do the pillars and arch belong?
The answer - there are three "owners":
Evans High School, which previously occupied the site;
Evans Middle School, which has claimed the property for the past two decades; and,
The Evans community, for whom the pillars are a rare historical landmark.
Principal Michael Johnson, a newcomer at the school, has tackled this issue with admirable zeal. Former state representative and school board member Bill Jackson deserves praise for stepping in to once again help sort out the issue (Jackson also helped rescue the columns from the previous road-widening project).
It could be difficult to work out a solution that makes 100 percent of the "owners" happy. But bringing together a group of interested citizens and calling it Save the Columns is a great start.
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