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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Part Two: 1897 Reeves House--Saving Yesteryear

Even the few farm animals still around here are shouting the news:  A major fund-raiser to transform the Reeves 1897 in-town farmhouse into a cultural arts center has begun!! A few people have said a new structure in its place might be more efficiently constructed for less cost. I say, sometimes it's beneficial to go with the speculative, costly and difficult rather than the feasible, economical, and easy. Once in a while, extravagance of vision and wallet are required. Such times are rare but important. Without that direction our country would be without the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Rushmore. Georgia would be missing Amicalola State Park and Jekyll Island. What would Atlanta be, minus the amazing Fox Theater or the grand and evocative Swan House?

For Woodstock, our town, there must be one point of focus, one symbol that unites the former, struggling agricultural city (pop.300) and the current vibrant community (pop. 26,890). The vintage churches are the lingering spirit of this town, and the Reeves House should be its heart.

The 1897 Reeves farmhouse

When my husband and I moved to Woodstock in 1980, the city was a sleepy, quiet town. Commerce, culture and places of learning were limited to a handful of turn-of-the-20th-century storefronts, a charming red-brick elementary school, a minuscule but busy library and a very few modern-day establishments like the Burger Inn and several gas stations toward two-lane, easy-paced Highway 92. What I noticed most were the interesting old homes spread along Main Street and the immediate area. Until my relocation here, my life had been spent on the periphery of major metropolitan cities in modern suburban developments. So when I drove past those Woodstock abodes of yesteryear I wondered, who had lived there? How did their daily existence unfold? Now, most of those windows into the past are gone, like the sprawling Fowler farmhouse, the cute-as-a-button cottage known as the Hendrix home and the butter-yellow Dobbs house with its gingerbread-style front porch that displayed antique buggies near a small cannon in the yard.

In 1980, townsfolk could still drive by the Fowler farmhouse, sitting on South Main Street near Hwy 92. Shortly after, THE STRUCTURE WAS DEMOLISHED for modern-day commerce. A Sam's Club on the same spot is opening soon.

A picturesque cottage, the Hendrix home sat snuggled under the trees on South Main Street near the railroad. This little bit of hydrangea heaven is NO LONGER HERE.

Spring daffodils in the yard almost went unnoticed in comparison to the sunny-yellow place called the Dobbs house. The first buggy of an antique collection sits on the porch. The lovely house is GONE WITH THE WIND, so to speak.

Woodstock was a community of hardworking men and women tilling the land, plying their trades, raising families and trying to make their way in a hardscrabble world. Let's remember them and their struggle, with a generous outpouring of effort. Who knows? Someday all our farmhouses may be gone. Let's be sure we saved one! Your gift will bring the Reeves house new life as it supports the arts and inspires creative minds, while holding onto the ephemeral past. Put aside some dollars, maybe many, and go to the website link: REVIVETHEREEVES to honor your town.

Knowing yesteryear helps us preserve the past.
Preserving the past leads us to value where we live.
Valuing where we live makes our days rich and inspired.

Patti Brady is a member of Preservation Woodstock Inc., and she is author of the contemporary Woodstock novel series: The Heart of a Child and The Power of Her Smile

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