Future of Historic Home is Uncertain

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

WAYNESBORO -- A historic schoolhouse could soon be gone forever, but it's up to the city council and the city's historical commission.

The red house has stood on New Hope Road in Waynesboro for nearly 200 years, but Waynesboro Historical Commission Chair David Geiger is worried about its future.

“I think any time you lose part of history, you lose part of what the city means,” he said.

City administrators say the schoolhouse fails to pass building code, so the red house, possibly the oldest in the city, could be gone forever.

“I just think it's a shame if you lose bits and pieces like this. Gradually, you won't have anything left, and I think that's what we're trying to accomplish here.”

The building served as a schoolhouse, as a home and as a masonic lodge since the 1820s.

Deputy City Manager Jim Shaw understands the history behind the house. He said the city doesn't have money to bring it up to code.

“Candidly, the property could be lost if there isn't a willingness on the part of someone in the community, or the community generally, to take the building and do necessary renovations,” said Shaw.

City leaders estimate it would cost about $30,000 just to bring the building up to code. Beyond that, it would cost even more money to renovate the inside and outside to make it usable.

Good neighbors could raise money to give the house on New Hope more hope. Geiger plans to work with the city council to preserve the house and its history.

“We just wanted to opportunity to sit down with them and do our own research and to do our best to save it. That's what we're trying to do,” said Geiger.

Historical commission members suggest the building be used an an education center or meeting place.

The commission has 90 days to come up with a plan to save the schoolhouse. That's when it will meet with city council again.


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