If you've ever seen a house on a tractor-trailer truck, you can get a better understanding of why the folks at Historic Westville Inc. removed the gingko trees and others from the median along South Lumpkin Road in Columbus.
Operators of the living history museum in Lumpkin, Ga., are getting closer to moving buildings and artifacts to a 35-acre site near the Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center. The 1850s-era museum is expected to open late next year, but trees in the median were obstacles presenting a problem.
“We will be able to negotiate all obstacles on that road, and the only thing we couldn’t negotiate was the trees,” Leo Goodsell, executive director of Westville. “So we had to remove them to protect them so they wouldn’t get damaged.”
Darby Britto, director of public relations, said 43 trees have been removed along the road. They will be relocated by the Columbus Housing Authority at Warren Williams Homes and Elizabeth Canty Homes, two public housing complexes.
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After the move is completed, Britto said they will buy whatever the city wants to place in the median. “If they want 43 of what they had, that is what we will put in there,” she said. “ If they want bigger trees, we will write the same amount of a check. Whatever they want to do.”
Leo Goodsell, executive director of Westville, said 19 buildings are part of the first phase of the 40- to 45-mile move from Lumpkin to Columbus. “That will get Westville open and operational to the public,” he said.
While the museum continues efforts to secure permits for all the buildings, Britto said the historic Wells House already is loaded and ready to move. The house is a cabin that was built in the early 1800s and used by the Yuchi Indians.
Buildings will be moved one at a time but not in a convoy. “We will have a blue light in front of the truck towing the house or building and a blue light behind the building, so that will be providing the escort from Stewart County to Muscogee County,” Goodsell said. “Then we can come back and pick up another one. “
Depending on the size of the structure, Goodsell said it could take no more than 90 minutes to travel to the new site. The ground foundations are ready for two buildings.
“They don’t want to do work too far in advance,” Britto said.
She also noted the buildings can’t travel with chimneys attached, so they must be removed. That was required to meet height requirements on the roadway.
As the move draws near, Britto said they have a dream date when the museum might open. “We’re not going to say what that is,” she said. “There are so many factors.”
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