“The structural analysis we got back makes it a lot less scary than it looks,” said Erick Montgomery, the executive director of Historic Augusta Inc., which is working with the house’s owner to stabilize and preserve the structure.
The engineering assessment is part of a still-incomplete study financed by a $5,000 “intervention grant” awarded in July by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Efforts to evaluate the 213-year-old home on Sand Bar Ferry Road will include opinions on how to repair the damaged wall and help with cost estimates.
“In terms of the damage we see, the analysis seems to show that the other three sides are pretty well intact and haven’t moved too much at this point,” Montgomery said. “Footing may have been part of the issue on the side that fell in.”
Engineers are continuing to evaluate the extent of repairs that are needed, especially to the damaged wall.
“This situation is a little worse than most since it is opened up,” he said. “Time is of the essence.”
Information gathered during the assessment will be shared with the building’s owner, Wes Sims, an Alabama investor who purchased the property in 2009 for $20,000 with hopes of restoring it.
“Once we know what needs to be done to make it whole again, the next step is finding out how much it will cost and where the money will come from,” Montgomery said.
The Goodale House was built in 1799 by Charleston, S.C., lawyer Charles Fitzsimmons on a plantation established by Thomas Goodale in 1740. Fitzsimmons later presented the house to his son-in-law, Wade Hampton Jr., whose son, Wade Hampton III, became governor of South Carolina in 1877.
“It is such an important house, not only because it is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it also has important connections to Augusta,” Montgomery said.
Sims has said his plan is to change the site’s ownership to the Historic Home Preservation Society, a nonprofit he created in the hopes of securing grant money to help with preservation.