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This old home | Charlotte Observer

Ted Leger couldn’t stand by and watch a 75-year-old home near downtown Clover be torn down. So he moved it to his property, a street over.

“Ever since we bought the house we live in, I said we’re going to have that house,” said Leger, 57, an independent IT consultant.

Leger and artist Allen Taylor have lived in their 1,100-square-foot, one-story brick home, on a half-acre facing Marion Street, since 2008. From their back yard they could see the back yard of a two-story, Georgian-style brick house that faced Bethel Street.

On Friday, Ledger and Taylor still had a view of the home. However, they now look in their back yard and see the front of the brick house. And it’s closer – by about 120 yards.

The house from 123 Bethel Street has been moved into the back yard of Leger and Taylor on Marion Street. “It’s just amazing,” Leger said.

Built to last

The call came in February.

Ed Stewart of Clover heard the 3,000-square-foot Bethel Street house was going to be demolished to make way for an apartment complex. He called Leger.

“I’m so excited they’re saving it,” Stewart said Wednesday afternoon while watching wheels being attached under the 175-ton house in preparation for the move. Other neighbors popped in with cameras, some with lunch, to watch the move.

Lucy Cathey’s grandparents, Edmund and Elvie Ford, built the home in 1942. Cathey grew up in a brick house across the street.

“Some of my earliest and fondest memories of the the house were of holiday gatherings with my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins,” she said. “Always fun and lots of good food.”

She and husband, Bob, live in Anderson. They drove more than 100 miles one way for several days for front row seats to watch the prep work and moving of the house, including the big day Thursday.

“At one point, four generations of Ford descendants were watching the house move,” she said.

Prior to the property sale, the house had been rented.

Leger hadn’t been inside until after the call. He said it has all hardwood floors, original wooden kitchen cabinets, original tiles, plaster walls with no cracks, and crown molding “done by hand you couldn’t even afford to pay for that now.”

The four-bedroom house has two and half baths, a formal living room, dining room and study, as well as breakfast area in the kitchen. It also has the original wooden staircase and two fire places, one on each end of the house. Leger said he’s saving the original windows, as well.

“There’s no way you could build this house to the standard it’s built,” Leger said. “This stuff was built to last. It would be a $1 million home easily.”

Moving the house

While Cathey considered moving the home, there were too many obstacles and it wasn’t feasible going on the roads. She resigned herself to the idea it would be demolished. Then “out of the blue,” Leger called.

“We’re extremely happy he can take it and make it a home again,” she said. “I was very happy that it worked that way.”

Moving the house meant taking it 120 yards through challenging backyard terrain. Leger said the cost was about $75,000.

Leger hired an architect and contractor, and interviewed four companies before respectively settling on Cox House Moving Co. in Spartanburg and Simmons House Moving in Shelby, N.C.

It took about two weeks to move it, with prep work and a couple days to actually move it. An attached two car garage and storage building were demolished. Moving it meant laying down about 12 steel plates and continuing to move them until it was on the Marion Street property.

“Instead of taking a couple hours, it’ll take of couple days,” Leger said.

Leger said to meet town code at Marion Street, he had to tear down a carport and plant front landscaping that will eventually hide the original house, which they’ll now use as a guest house and Taylor’s art studio.

Leger said to accomplish it also took a willing neighbor, who allowed them to tear down her fence and keep equipment there.

Now on its new site, the house looks like it’s meant to be there. Before moving in, the new owners must finish a foundation, rewire and replumb the house.

While Leger and Taylor have a farm house in the Virginia mountains and a beach lot in Ecuador, Clover is home.

“It’s just people are friendly in Clover, it’s a welcoming community,” Leger said.

Apartments coming

Parkside at Bethel, a 42-unit affordable housing apartment complex, was given unanimous approval Jan. 19 by the Clover Planning Commission at its regular meeting. The plan for the 2.3 acres includes two buildings with one, two and three bedroom apartments and a club house. There will be two retention ponds in front of the complex and a left turning lane added, according to meeting notes.

Craig Winnall, civil engineer with Site Design, showed commissioners how the drawings met the nine requirements and conditional uses, and 30 percent of the site will be open green space. A 6-foot masonry wall will be on the back of the property, meeting minutes show.

Taylor Davise with NHE said the buildings will be brick and hardy board.

“The units are affordable housing, which will be 50-60 percent of the area median income,” Davis told the commission. “This will not be subsidized housing.”

Town manager Allison Harvey said the apartments are not rent assisted but have income requirements.

Michael Osman, architect with Steel Group, at the January meeting said rooflines and designs will use muted natural tones, and a monument sign will be erected at the entrance of the complex onto Bethel Street.

Harvey said construction could begin in June.

“It’s a goal for the town to have more of a mixed-use feel in a downtown area,” she said. “It should benefit downtown businesses within walking distance.”

Harvey said studies show it shouldn’t have a major impact on Bethel Street traffic.

“We’re not a huge city but at peak times might have to have patience,” she said.

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