Campaign Hopes to Save Piece of Waynesboro's History
Waynesboro is running out of time to save an important piece of its history. The city's first schoolhouse and the former Masonic Lodge is in danger of getting torn down if funds aren't raised to get the building up to code.
"It went down over the years, and it just went down and down," said Velma Ryan of the "Save the Brick Red House" campaign.
The home – built in the 1820s – located on New Hope Road survived the Battle of Waynesboro in the Civil War, and getting shuffled between the city and private owners.
But its time may end if the campaign to save it can't meet its goal of raising at least $30,000.
"It's time that we say OK, this is where we stop tearing down. This is where we honor our history," said Ryan.
When the inspector found the building in violation of multiple codes in April, the city planned to demolish it. That's where Ryan and other neighbors stepped in.
"I think a town's character is reflected in how it does take care of its history, how it honors those that came before," said Ryan.
But the home's foundation is crumbling, the front and back porch are unstable and ivy has consumed entire sections, leaving a huge tab with no single group willing - or able - to take on the project.
"I wouldn't want to damper their enthusiasm, or dampen their optimism, but they certainly haven't met the goal. My understanding is they haven't met the goal as of this week," said Mike Hamp, Waynesboro's city manager.
They've raised $10,000 in the last week. Hamp says Waynesboro City Council will not take on paying for the renovations. He owes council a report soon on how to proceed.
"That's part of the challenge of this decision. To what extent does our community value historic resources of this nature? To what extent is the local government responsible?" said Ryan. "This, if it's gone, it's gone. And there's nothing to bring it back."
The house remains in limbo while neighbors continue trying to raise funds before the next council meeting on Monday.
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