The State of the House

I had a friend ask me, ” What the heck is a one dollar cottage?”

Good question.

One Dollar Cottage was originally started as a blog to document the restoration of our house. It has since taken over my antiques business, and my blog has expanded as well.

This all started two years ago. My mother was in the hospital having back surgery. My husband came over at lunch time to come sit with me and my father, and asked me, “Have you ever noticed that house up on the hill by the dam on Highway 14?”

He drove me over there. This is what I saw…

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It was love at first sight. Just like the first time I saw my husband, of course!

The house was abandoned and vandalized. The house is three stories, plus a cellar. You could tell by the finishes of the house that this was no ordinary farmhouse. The people that built it had money. I started doing some research, and lo and behold! The house has its own website and a Wikipedia! Incorrect, of course.

My husband located the owner. The owner had no interest in the house, just in the commercial value of the property it sat on, so my husband negotiated with him to buy the house itself, for one dollar, and move it.

On Mother’s Day 2012, my husband told me I was now the proud owner of “One Dollar Cottage!”

We fell in love with it before we knew that it was listed on the National Historic Registry, but now that we know we are even more dedicated to restoring the house to its former glory.

I won’t go in to a detailed history of the house, I will just hit the high points! The house was built in 1880 for the president of Pelham Manufacturing, Arthur Barnwell. The Barnwells are a very old South Carolina family, from the Low Country. There is an Arthur Barnwell plantation near Beaufort, and they owned one of the homes on the Battery in Charleston.

The house was next owned by Barnwell’s son-in-law, Macmillan King. Then the house was owned by the family that would have it the longest, the DeCamps family. Sometimes the house is referred to as the Barnwell-DeCamps House. From what I can determine, they owned the house for almost 50 years. The family moved to Beaufort for a time, and they came back in the 1950’s. This picture was taken when they came back, and the house had its first restoration. This is the earliest photograph of the house that I am aware of.

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After the restoration, it looked like this…

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Then the family moved away again, and the house was occupied by caretakers until the 1970’s. The Williams family purchased the house, and once again the house was restored. Lee Williams is the one who underwent the lengthy process of having the house listed on the National Register, in March 1982. This is how the house looked after the Williams restoration…

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The Williams family had to relocate to Oklahoma, and the house was sold to the Cordovano family. The house underwent another change…

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And then the Newsome family got her! When we got her she looked like this…

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The first thing we had to figure out was where we were going to move this thing.

You can’t plop a 4500 square foot Queen Anne Victorian just anywhere. It had to look like it belonged there. And it had to be a large enough piece of property. And it couldn’t be far away, because moving pieces of a huge house is not an easy feat.

We finally found some property a couple of miles away.

We worked on getting the house ready to be moved all during the summer of 2012. All five chimneys had to be disassembled, and all of them were three stories tall.

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Then we disassembled the foundations.

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Then we cleaned and stacked the brick from the chimneys and the foundation. That is a LOT of brick, let me tell you.

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We removed any mantles, doors, and shutters that we could. We removed marble from fireplaces, found the pieces of the bannister that vandals had destroyed, window weights that remained, and anything else we could find.

Then the house mover started cutting the house in to 10 pieces, and it came apart.

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And then it moved…

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We laid out the foundation…

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Dug the root cellar and poured the footings…

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And then it started to rain. And it didn’t stop all summer. And my house sat there in pieces. The ground was just too wet to get any equipment in to finish the job. Sigh.

The house mover came to put it back together, and discovered that after sitting there for so long, some beams needed to be replaced before everything could be reattached. Now that is done!

The house mover will now be coming back, and I should have more interesting news soon!

Kary

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10 thoughts on “The State of the House

  1. Ah, cool! I was wondering where you were in the house restoration process. How exciting to finally be getting your house put back together! Looking forward to reading more about it.

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  2. What an interesting and fascinating story. I truly enjoyed the process in getting this house. Cannot wait to see the finished product. It was truly a lovely home throughout the years. Lucky you.

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  3. Oh, she is so lovely and what an interesting life she has led! How lucky are you to be able to restore her. I can’t wait to see how everything comes together.

    Like

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