By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
FULTON – A lot of time and effort are being put into moving a very old, abandoned house a very short distance.
Saturday, a group of volunteers will help move The Cedars, one of the oldest surviving dwellings in Fulton, approximately 200 yards west of where it’s sat for more than 150 years. Its current location on Main Street in Fulton, property owned by Fulton United Methodist Church, is needed to build a new parsonage.
The new spot is owned by the City of Fulton, which took ownership of the house last year.
Work on moving the house will begin at 7 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Anyone willing to volunteer to help with the labor is encouraged to do so.
“It’s going to be a fun day, getting back to our heritage and our roots,” said Paula Cooper, one of the volunteers helping with the project. She said that moving the house – which was recently designated as a “Mississippi Landmark” by the state Department of Archives and History – and protecting it from demolition is the latest step in a journey that began in 2009 and will continue into the foreseeable future.
“Our plans are to eventually restore the house and open it as some sort of visitors center,” she said. “We want people to be able to enter the facility and enjoy it, but as of right now we are just trying to get it re-established in its new location.”
It’s a major project that will likely take several days to complete. Because the home is so old, moving it requires a watchmaker’s care and precision. In particular, each brick of its two chimneys must be pulled away by hand, stored carefully and then reassembled one at a time, once the move is complete.
“We have to be very careful how we do this Saturday,” Cooper said, adding that volunteers will hand off the bricks in an assembly line format to ensure they don’t break. It seems like tedious work, but Cooper said it’s vital to preserving a portion of the county’s history.
“We don’t have a lot of historical landmarks in Itawamba County or Fulton. It is a beautiful home and a vital part of the founding of Fulton,” Cooper said. “We felt restoring it was kind of leaving our footprints in the community. A lot of things started in that house. Once it’s gone, you can’t ever bring it back.”