Part of Augusta's historic Goodale House collapses

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The Goodale House, one of Georgia's oldest surviving houses, partially collapsed Friday.

Michael Weathers, Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department's battalion chief, checks out the collapsed wall and chimney of the Goodale House.   Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Michael Weathers, Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department's battalion chief, checks out the collapsed wall and chimney of the Goodale House.

"I'm going to hope it can be restored, but that process lies with the current owner," said Erick Montgomery, the executive director of Historic Augusta Inc., which has worked behind the scenes in efforts to preserve the building.

The three-story home had a major structural failure in which the chimney on the west wall closest to the road collapsed, taking a good portion of the wall with it, Montgomery said.

"I didn't go inside, obviously, but it could be that the rest is relatively stable," he said.

Built in 1799 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 as the Fitzsimmons-Hampton House, the Federal-style, multistory building was purchased in 2009 by Wes Sims, a Birmingham, Ala., investor who -- at the time -- hoped to renovate it.

City officials are trying to contact him, Montgomery said.

The long-vacant house was used as a restaurant in the 1970s and early 1980s and was for sale and priced in the $250,000 range for several years before ultimately selling to Sims for less than $20,000.

The surrounding area -- now flanked by Bobby Jones Expressway and mammoth chemical factories across Sand Bar Ferry Road -- was a 500-acre plantation established by Thomas Goodale in 1740.

Goodale operated the Sand Bar Ferry at the nearby river crossing, in addition to a restaurant and inn, according to early historical accounts.

In 1799, the year the house was built, the site was sold to a Charleston, S.C., merchant named Christopher Fitzsimmons, who later gave the structure to his daughter's new husband, Wade Hampton Jr.

A son, Wade Hampton III, would later become governor of South Carolina.

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/05/11 - 05:57 pm
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I would think the only

I would think the only economically sensible thing to do would be to raze the building and build something viable on the property.

raul
4897
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raul 08/05/11 - 06:08 pm
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@LL. Unless you have tons of

@LL. Unless you have tons of money to waste on restoring it which I would doubt in these bad economic times. Who knows.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/05/11 - 06:11 pm
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Wait a minute, we paid a

Wait a minute, we paid a consultant from Boston, Massachusetts, to draw us up a "Master Development Plan." I'm sure that plan tells us what we should do with that property.

Here's the teaser link .

And here's the sad reality link .

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 08/05/11 - 06:42 pm
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It's a shame to raze it, but

It's a shame to raze it, but I can't imagine anything will be viable in that part of town, too bad really. If the current owner only paid $20,000.00 for it he probably doesn't feel much of a need to invest in it.

southern2
6153
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southern2 08/05/11 - 06:57 pm
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Sad day for Augusta history

Sad day for Augusta history preservation. Amazing place.

Dixieman
15012
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Dixieman 08/05/11 - 07:27 pm
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Photo?

Photo?

raul
4897
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raul 08/05/11 - 07:33 pm
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@Dixieman, Hmm, There was a

@Dixieman, Hmm, There was a photo earlier.

daviddunagan
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daviddunagan 08/05/11 - 08:35 pm
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As a former owner, I always

As a former owner, I always felt like this building should have been stabalized and saved for future generations. It sat at the entry way of our city on the east side and was the first thing one saw after crossing the river on Sand Bar Ferry. The c.1799 house was still very original inside and had been totally rewired about five years ago. There wasn't a good use for it presently but future generations should have had the oppurtunity to appreciate it. My research showed it was the oldest four-sided brick house in the state of Georgia. It is truely a loss. David Dunagan

wessims
93
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wessims 08/05/11 - 09:22 pm
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I was in the house over the

I was in the house over the weekend and the first of the week doing repairs and maintenance. We were actually sleeping in the room where the wall collapsed. The house will be restored back to its former beauty. I was going over options this week to shore up the wall that collapsed because there were obvious signs of instability. The good of this situation is that now that section can be rebuilt to be structurally sound instead of putting on a band-aide. The Goodale is not going anywhere. The rest of the structure is solid. A non-profit is being formed to save the Goodale. I bought the house to save a part of history, not to raze it or profit off of it. If I had the money to do more faster, it would be done...No matter how much more money I have to spend, it will be completely worth it to me and so many others.

commonsense-is-endangere
43
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commonsense-is-endangere 08/05/11 - 10:13 pm
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Unfortunately the house sits

Unfortunately the house sits in one of the ugliest, stinking,polluted spots in all of Augusta.Can it be moved?

proudgunowner
148
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proudgunowner 08/05/11 - 11:05 pm
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Sounds like some readers do
Unpublished

Sounds like some readers do not have much common sense. Moving a three story home that is over 200 years old is not a feasible option. I'm glad to hear from the owner that they intend on preserving this property. I sure wish I had known that it could have been had for such a small amount of money.....$250k was out of reach but the price he paid is incredible! I've always admired the property while driving past. I would love to tour the place one day.

wessims
93
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wessims 08/05/11 - 11:16 pm
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It sounds like little lamb

It sounds like little lamb has nothing better to do than blame deteriorating 212 year old brick on me. It was surely not incompetence and certainly not sabotage. I scraped up every penny I had to purchase this wonderful piece of Southern architecture and history because to me, it's priceless. I am not from Augusta, Georgia but I from this God Blessed Country and this house is a treasure to us all. I was competent enough to spend my time and efforts trying to save this home unlike those like you who would be happy just to see it disappear. I do not appreciate the accusations or derogatory statements.

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 08/06/11 - 09:02 am
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Good luck Mr. Sims and thank

Good luck Mr. Sims and thank you for commenting to let us know your plans to keep working on it. It certainly has the potential to be beautiful again. It must have been pretty frightening when the wall collapsed, glad no one was hurt!

lisakc
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lisakc 08/06/11 - 09:07 am
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Oh no! I'm really sorry to

Oh no! I'm really sorry to read this and hope it can be restored. I have so many wonderful memories of that house. I went to school there. Bet you didn't know that there once was a school in that house. 1972 to maybe 1974. It was called "Our School". It was started by a small group of local parents (mostly from the Unitarian and Quaker Church in Augusta) who were unhappy with the current state of the school system in Augusta. It was patterned after a school in England called Summerhill. I'ld be glad to give the current owner some more information if he is interested. lisa@jellico.com

lisakc
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lisakc 08/06/11 - 09:09 am
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The school, by the way, was

The school, by the way, was there just before the resturant was.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 08/06/11 - 09:39 am
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Good luck Mr.
Unpublished

Good luck Mr. Sims.............if only others would put their money where their mouths (or keyboards) are..........................................What a different place Augusta would be.

augusta citizen
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augusta citizen 08/06/11 - 09:41 am
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That's an interesting bit of

That's an interesting bit of history that I didn't know. Thanks for sharing it.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/06/11 - 10:33 am
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Mr. Sims, I am also glad to

Mr. Sims, I am also glad to hear this property will be saved. It would be such a shame to lose this piece of history. There may be some available grant assistance for preservation; you could check with the Augusta Historical Society for information. I wish the very best for you as you continue.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 08/06/11 - 11:06 am
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"My research showed it was

"My research showed it was the oldest four-sided brick house in the state of Georgia. It is truely a loss. David Dunagan"

We agree David, it is tremendously important to Ga, MCG, and the souths history.

Now i'm glad the realtor turned down my offer to buy it. Sad though, we were going to employ a bunch of folks there but greed got in the way BEFORE Sims bought it....
It can be a DESTINATION ATTRACTION.

Mr Sims we wish you the very best luck in restoring it and when you get it back up let us know so we can film a movie around it. We would also like to help you in any way to get it fixed, ASAP.

PS Driven Wrote; "i never get the history buffs...its a house that is sitting there rotting away"

This house was the home of the Doctor who STARTED MCG and it played a pivotal roll in so many other historical events i don't have space to list them all. Those who forget the mistakes of their past are doomed to repeat them.

ZenoElia
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ZenoElia 08/06/11 - 11:17 am
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Wes Sims, I do a lot of free

Wes Sims, I do a lot of free work when I am not busy...contact me via this newspaper for more details. I love history and restoring old things back tot their original glory...it's what I do...."the measure you give, will be the measure you get..." here's my page link http://www.facebook.com/freeman.little?sk=info

doglover123
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doglover123 08/06/11 - 11:31 am
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To all of you who say the

To all of you who say the most logical thing to do is "raze it and build something viable there", what do you propose we build there? A gas station? Yet ANOTHER strip mall that will probably sit empty and become covered with graffiti or turned into a crack house? Oh, I KNOW, that outlet mall EVERYONE has been dying for!
We're talking about an historic house here! A place that is steeped with history about how this wonderful city (and, ultimately, this wonderful country) came to be! I, for one, am very glad that Mr. Sims has purchased it and intends to restore it to it's former beauty. I have never had the occasion to be inside it, but my parents ate numerous anniversaries there when it was the Goodale Inn, and always spoke of how beautiful it was inside. Thank you, Mr. Sims, for your dedication to the preservation of this great Land! I can't wait to see the finished product!!

raul
4897
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raul 08/06/11 - 11:41 am
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Glad Mr. Sims is pursuing the

Glad Mr. Sims is pursuing the restoration despite the setback.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 08/06/11 - 12:02 pm
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Doglover123 asked, “What do

Doglover123 asked, “What do you propose we build there?”

Little Lamb answered, “We should not build anything there. The property is privately owned. Only the owner should decide what to do with that property.”

wessims
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wessims 08/06/11 - 01:56 pm
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We will be in town tonight

We will be in town tonight and all day Sunday and Monday trying to clean up and secure the house. Feel free to drop by. Thanks for all the positive feedback. To stay posted you can look for "Save the Goodale" on Facebook.

doglover123
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doglover123 08/06/11 - 02:01 pm
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Little Lamb, quit being so

Little Lamb, quit being so nitpicky!! The "we" was not used to imply the City Of Augusta. Of course, I meant the owner.

countyman
20148
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countyman 08/06/11 - 06:19 pm
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Several buildings and

Several buildings and historic structures are being renovated in/around downtown all the time. I'm hoping to see more properties in East Augusta with the help of the $30 million Walton Oaks development.. Be able to join the ongoing gentrification in the Olde Town, Laney Walker, Harrisburg, and Bethlehem neighborhoods... The Riverwalk needs to be extended into East Augusta by the year 2015..

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 08/06/11 - 03:07 pm
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I agree countyman, the

I agree countyman, the criminal element from East Boundary should have an easier time getting to Riverwalk. This is definitely high priority.

Vito45
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Vito45 08/06/11 - 04:51 pm
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One positive (depending on

One positive (depending on where you are standing) of gentrification is that it drives out the neer-do-wells because of higher property prices. People move in who give a flip about the neighborhoods and policing follows.

countyman
20148
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countyman 08/06/11 - 05:06 pm
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The Augusta/North Augusta

The Augusta/North Augusta master plan already includes the Sand Bar Ferry Riverside. A mix of residential, recreational, retail, etc component in East Augusta. Extending the Riverwalk would significantly speed up the private investment throughout East Augusta...

As mix-income communities become more popular around the county.. Along with the city continuing to demolished the public housing projects(Gilbert Manor, Underwood). I'm sure Riverglenn and East Augusta Commons will be looked at next after Cherry Tree aka Sunset and Dogwood Terrace aka Southside.. Olde Town is a very popular neighborhood on the edge of downtown and the private investment continues to occur.. The neighborhood is right next to East Boundary, it's only a matter of time before major gentrification hits East Augusta. The $30 million Walton Oaks is already underway on the former Underwood property.

Vito45
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Vito45 08/06/11 - 05:18 pm
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I think too, that the

I think too, that the riverfront drives the demand for higher end development and will by nature, push low income out.

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