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Alleged second oldest house in Statesboro to be torn down
040108 HOUSE DEMO 1
19 Bulloch Street, one of the oldest houses in Statesboro, is in the process of being disassembled by Earnest Rouse.
    Part of Statesboro's history is disappearing slowly as an old house at the intersection of South College and Bulloch Streets is being torn down plank by plank.
     First United Methodist Church owns the property, and offered the house free to anyone who wanted to move it or tear it down, said church administrator Robin Kersey.
    The house, which some think is the second oldest in Statesboro, had become uninhabitable and the church "didn't want it to become an eyesore," she said.
    While visiting his family in the area, Aiken, S.C. resident Earnest Rouse happened to read an advertisement in the Statesboro Herald, and called about the house.
    "I'm tearing it down for the materials," he said, adding the house is full of heart pine and other valuable lumber. He pointed out a room with bay windows. "Those have Depression glass," he said, showing the air-bubble-like imperfections in the antique glass.
    Built by W. H. Blitch in the early 1900s, the house originally faced the Aldred Trellis Garden Inn on South Main Street, said Smith Banks,a Statesboro historian.
    But the hotel wasn't known by that name at the time, he said. A man named J.P. Williams purchased that lot and built a mansion.  The now-destroyed home was moved back to its most recent location, likely by using logs to roll the structure, Banks said.
    The Aldred family later bought the Williams home and transformed it into a hotel, then built onto it.
    At its new location, the older home remained as a residence for various tenants over the years, he said.
    Kersey said the house was divided into four separate apartments "years ago."  As it aged further, repairs were not done and the house eventually fell into poor condition that rendered it unsuitable for living, she said.
    Banks remembers "sometime in the 60s or 70s,"  the house suffered minor damage when the Brannen Warehouse, located across from the house on South College Street, caught fire and created quite a blaze.
    Firefighters soaked the old home with water in an attempt to save it. The house survived, but "the paint was scorched," he said.
    The old house held charm with its "Victorian gingerbread embellishments," Banks said.
    Blitch was the father of the late Parrish Blitch, another local history enthusiast who passed away last year, he said. "The Blitch family were some of the earliest merchants" to occupy Statesboro, he said.
    Kersey said the church has "no exact plans" for the property at this time.
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