It "looks like a deathtrap," was the description a friend and now neighbor gave Mr. Williams of the property.
Despite those daunting words, Mr. Williams bought the Harrisburg property the day he saw it.
"It was such a steal," he said.
Built in the 1880s across from the Sibley Mill, the residence was originally a boarding house. Although it had suffered years of neglect , it still had a good foundation, he said.
Mr. Williams and his son did much of the renovation, stripping it down and starting over from the studs. The solid-pine structure was still in place. Not even the termites could damage it; they had tried, he said, but they did not succeed.
Putting the house back together was a time-consuming process.
"It was about 2½ years before it was livable," he said.
Mr. Williams first had thought of the property as a home for his son, or perhaps something to turn around and sell , but as the project continued, he and his wife, Gloria, fell in love with the house and with area.
They moved from their west Augusta neighborhood in September.
"Harrisburg is at a point in its evolution where more folks like us who recognize the tremendous value to be had are moving in,' he said. "We like the urban flavor of downtown."