The pale green Victorian house, which has stood at the center of downtown controversy for months, now lies in a heap of rubble — demolished by its owners, soon to be forgotten by the world.
Officers at First Baptist Church, which owns Friendship House on Seventh Street North, had announced last month that in an attempt to quell public outcry against the historic home”s potential razing, they would sell the century-old house for $1. The catch? The buyer would have to move the home within 30 days — to an estimated tune of between $70,000 and $80,000.
They advertised the public sale in local newspapers, with the sale slated to end Tuesday. This morning, JB Construction employees arrived with a bulldozer. There appeared to be no attempt to salvage the wood or other materials.
First Baptist Church business administrator Thomas Southerland sat in a folding chair in the adjacent parking lot and watched the demolition. He waved reporters away.
“This issue has been heated,” he said. “I”m not ready to talk to the press at this time.”
First Baptist Church is planning to sell its downtown properties, including the now-vacant lot where Friendship House was located, and move to a larger campus on Bluecutt Road.
Critics have said — and First Baptist Church Pastor Shawn Parker told The Dispatch last month — that because the lot is contingent to the main church, it holds more resale value empty rather than occupied by a crumbling house that would require extensive renovation.
Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.
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