Community rallies to save historic Greenville home - FOX Carolina 21

Community rallies to save historic Greenville home

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The Wilkins House (Courtesy: The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation) The Wilkins House (Courtesy: The Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation)

Greenville residents met Wednesday to discuss saving the historic Wilkins House on Augusta Street from demolition.

According to the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation, the land on which the home was built 138 years ago was sold to a buyer, who plans to build a retirement center there. The buyer reportedly cannot afford upkeep of the historic building under current Greenville regulations. There are two options: tear the house down, or pick it up and move it.

"The act of moving it will definitely be historic," said Kelly Odom, chairman of the Save the Wilkins House initiative. "It's definitely the heaviest home or structure that we've moved in South Carolina ... probably even in the Southeast."

The group has contracted Wolfe Movers to undertake the project. They plan to pick the house up and move it two blocks away, on the corner of Mills Avenue and Elm Street.

"This is a 1,000-ton structure, solid brick, with two-foot thick walls throughout the rooms," said Michael Bedenbaugh, executive director of the Palmetto Trust for Historic Preservation.

He also described the equipment that will be used to move the structure.

"It's like dollies that are robotic-controlled and they are able to sense the pressure if it goes down a little here, the others compensate," he said.

Moving the building will cost a lot of money: $720,000. A developer has pledged half of that if Greenville residents can raise the other half. Bedenbaugh said they brought the issue before Greenville City Council recently, but they said preservation of historic buildings lies with private investors and citizens.

The Palmetto Trust for Historic preservation hopes to raise $360,000 by April 30. So far, they have raised nearly $90,000. To donate to the cause of saving the Wilkins House from demolition, click here.

Bedenbaugh said if they are not able to raise the sufficient funds, all donations will be refunded to donors.

If, however, funds are raised, the move to the new location will likely happen in May.

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