Another historic home threatened by Rock Hill water tower project

adouglas@heraldonline.comFebruary 19, 2014 

Another historic house, this one at 306 West Main St., could be demolished to make way for Rock Hill's water tower project.

ANDY BURRISS — aburriss@heraldonline.com Buy Photo

— The 125-year-old Mills-Hallman historic house on West Main Street in Rock Hill is still standing after city officials extended a deadline this week for historic preservationists to move the home before it is demolished.

Now, officials say a second historic home –– the Caldwell House, next door to the Mills-Hallman House –– must be moved as well to make way for a new water tank at the corner of West Main and Laurel streets. The Caldwell House was built in 1895.

Historic preservationists with the nonprofit group Historic Rock Hill are already trying to save the Mills-Hallman House, located at 302 West Main St. The group bought the house from the city in December for $1 after Rock Hill officials said the house would be torn down if not moved from the site by mid-February.

This month, city officials extended the demolition deadline to May 29. Historic Rock Hill is still looking for a place to move the house and is trying to find thousands of dollars to pay for the move.

The Caldwell House –– located at 306 West Main St., just outside downtown Rock Hill –– must also be moved so city plans for a new water tank can move forward, city officials say. An existing water tank, which sits behind the Caldwell House, will be demolished.

A new, larger water tank is needed, officials say, to serve anticipated commercial development in and around the downtown area. Growth is expected in the area under the city’s latest economic development strategy called “Knowledge Park.”

The owner of the Caldwell House could not be reached by The Herald this week. A relative living in the house said the home has been in her family for generations.

Rock Hill has a contract to buy the home’s land and the homeowner plans to move the Caldwell House to another location, said Kevin Bronson, the city’s general services administrator overseeing the water tank project. Like Historic Rock Hill, the family will have until May 29 to move the Caldwell House.

Bronson did not disclose on Wednesday how much the city is paying for the land at 306 West Main St., saying that officials had not yet closed on the property.

Tax records show that the Caldwell House’s appraised value is $73,500. The land has a tax appraised value of $20,300.

Market value, however, is typically different than tax value, Bronson said.

Rock Hill officials have already submitted a request to the city’s Board of Historic Review to remove the historic designation from the Caldwell House, which will allow the owner to move the home. A similar request was made and granted in December 2013 for the Mills-Hallman House.

Before removing the historic designation from the Mills-Hallman House, city officials bought the home and the land for $65,000 in November 2013. In late December, Historic Rock Hill bought the house, with the goal of saving what preservationists say is a historically-significant building.

The group is working hard to craft a plan for the Mills-Hallman House but the home isn’t “saved” yet, said Historic Rock Hill executive director Annemarie Beebe. She’s thankful, she said, that the group has more time to move the house.

One option may be to find a temporary lot of land for the Mills-Hallman House but that isn’t ideal, she said. Putting the home somewhere temporarily, only to move it again to a permanent location, will cost extra money and put the house at more risk.

Rock Hill’s Board of Historic Review will decide at its March 6 meeting whether to remove the Caldwell House’s historic designation. The 6 p.m. meeting is open to the public.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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