2003 Christmas Greetings to Friends of Historic Woodville,
St. Frances' exterior is completely restored, its interior nearly completed. Bruce Lassiter, despite Hurricane Isabel nearly demolishing his house in Colerain, has been busy putting the final touches on the church this fall. We now have a re-plastered foyer, new sheetrock, new molding, and a HVAC system (provided by a generous donor so that workers could continue their work this summer). Flooring work is scheduled early 2004. We will let you know as soon as we can estimate the completion date, as we plan to have a service there, with a celebration to follow.
Hurricane Isabel did quite a bit of damage to St. Frances Cemetery (fortunately the church was unscathed) and we lost 7 trees. Methodist volunteers, spearheaded by Reverend Jesse Staton in Durham, and the Town of Lewiston graciously helped with the cleanup. But there is just as much work to do still, and we need to hire someone to finish clearing brush, removing stumps, etc.
Bruce has also begun restoration work on the National Register listed Bazemore house on the corner of HWY 11 and River (Weeping Mary) Road, a circa 1750-90 coastal cottage that was donated to Historic Woodville last year. The house was at various times owned by Martins, Pughs, Thompsons, and Griffins. It was a tenant house for most of the 1900s, and has been unoccupied since the early 60s. We have recently received money earmarked for its restoration, and are excited about saving another piece of Lewiston-Woodville's history
We've all grown up seeing the Bazemore house occupied, abandoned, grown over, stolen from, deteriorating - with a chimney collapsing, and foundation dilapidated. We have a rare opportunity to save the oldest house in Woodville now, and not have to regret its collapse . Our parents - even some of us - well recall the beauty of the Snowfield (Bryan), Spivey , Smallwood, Noah Hinton, Joseph Pugh, and Devereux houses - and the sadness when they were abandoned and became victims of decay or fire before they could be restored. Robert Stipe wrote in Carolina Dwellings:
"All old places... give meaning to our daily lives in ways we rarely consider until they are gone - It is the shock of experiencing the voids they leave behind that raises their disappearance to a conscious level."
We are currently talking with DOT to get "Historic Woodville" highway signs on HWY 11 and Jack Branch Road to designate our district.
We ask again this year that you consider a tax deductible donation to allow us to 1)finish the flooring of St. Frances, 2) clean up the cemetery, and 3) proceed with restoration of the Bazemore House. Unique to any nonprofit, donations go directly to restoration/preservation of our history. We welcome participation from those in our generation. 98% of all private donations these last five years have come from those few of our parents' generation! Please help to preserve our rich heritage.
We hope this season and 2004 will be richly rewarding to all of you,
Vicki Paton and Molly Urquhart, co-directors