New home for free house

Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, August 6, 2008

&dquo;I didn&squo;t think anybody at all would call on it,&dquo; said Mack. &dquo;I just did it because a friend in Forest City suggested it.&dquo;

Carl Wharton, who runs Thousand Pines property management company and had managed the house as a rental, was even more doubtful. But he agreed to put up a sign, and field calls from anyone interested in the house. The old, brick house was tucked behind some trees on a corner lot on East Rutherford Street, across Ashley Drive from the Landrum Library.

&dquo;I thought you were wasting your time. The only reason I did it was because you wanted to,&dquo; Wharton told Mack recently when they met at the property. &dquo;Ain&squo;t nobody going to want to move a brick house, but turned out everybody wanted to move it.&dquo;

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Wharton says he was getting about a dozen calls a day after the sign went up, and he eventually urged Mack to take the sign down because all the calls were disrupting his business. They didn&squo;t need to take any more calls anyway. They already found the house&squo;s new owner.

Good opportunity

Truman Bostic had wasted little time calling after he drove along East Rutherford Street and spotted the sign that read &dquo;Free House ‐ You Move.&dquo;

Bostic&squo;s quick response earned him the chance to acquire the approximately 1,500-square-foot house for the cost of moving it across town. Bostic and his partner Jack Nodine already had a large lot on Kirkland Avenue that was an ideal spot for the house.

The lot was part of six acres that came with a house they purchased off N. Randolph Street, but they didn&squo;t have any immediate plans for the land until Bostic spotted the &dquo;free house&dquo; sign.

Bostic and Nodine, who now plan to sell the house at its new location, quickly prepared a building site on the lot and lined up a house moving company.

Six-hour move

America&squo;s Home Movers of Greer was hired for the job, which required one day for removing the exterior brick, one day for putting the house up on wheels and one day for moving it.

The move of nearly 5 miles, which took place on Wednesday, took the house on a route from Hwy. 14 to Redland Road to Red Bird Road, to Shamrock Avenue, and to Landrum Mill Road until reaching Hwy. 176. From there it traveled north along the highway to an area past Barnet Street where it passed through the first of three vacant lots on the way to Kirkland Avenue.

The trip took nearly six hours with stops a few times to negotiate tight areas, narrow roads and a few ditches.

Bostic says the two-bedroom, two-bath house should be ready for a new owner in a couple weeks with new vinyl siding going up in place of the brick.

What a coincidence

In a remarkable coincidence, Bostic is now the second person in his family to move a house from the corner lot at East Rutherford and Ashley Drive.

He says it wasn&squo;t until after he reached an agreement to move the house he recalled that his dad had moved a house from the very same lot more than 40 years ago.&bsp; When Bostic was about 10, he says, his dad moved a small house just slightly down the street to an area behind what&squo;s now the Raymond James office. The house that Bostic moved Wednesday was the one that replaced the house his father moved.

&dquo;I mentioned that to my mom recently and she remembers that house moving,&dquo; says Mack.

New professional building

Although the corner lot next to the library is once again vacant, it probably won&squo;t be for very long.

Mack says he plans to use the lot for a professional medical complex. He says he hopes to break ground on the new building by the beginning of next year and have it ready for use several months later. The building will be placed toward the front of the lot, he says, so it&squo;s easily visible from Hwy. 14, and a parking lot will be created in the area where the brick house once stood.

Several years ago Mack gained approval from the City of Landrum to allow commercial development on the corner lot and an adjoining lot on Hwy. 14, which were previously zoned residential.

Some Ashley Heights residents objected to Mack&squo;s request to change the zoning to commercial. Yet some city officials said the lots should be commercial since Hwy. 14 was designated a primary commercial corridor in the city&squo;s long-range land use plan. The city voted 4-3 in favor of the zoning change.

Relocation plans

Mack, a dentist who currently has a practice in Phoenix, says his goal is to eventually start a practice here. He had planned to put it in the house that sits next to the corner lot at Hwy. 14 and Ashley Drive, but that house may remain rented a couple more years. Mack says it will take some time to get his Phoenix practice ready to operate without him more each month.

He says he knows Landrum may not need another dentist, particularly since an office is opening just down the road in front of Bi-Lo. But he says he provides specialty dentistry work that would allow residents to get more complicated surgeries without having to travel outside the area.

Mack says starting a practice here also would allow him to spend more time at his property on the Green River in Polk County, which he&squo;s been visiting for the past 10 years.

&dquo;I come out to North Carolina about once a month,&dquo; he says. &dquo;I started the habit while building the house and just continued it. My heart is more there than anywhere else.&dquo;

Getting the house removed from the corner lot is another big step for Mack toward his goal. He says he&squo;s also glad it provided an opportunity to Bostick and gave &dquo;something back to the community.&dquo;

&dquo;It really was a win-win situation for both of us,&dquo; he says.