Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sparta - Baker House

The Baker House is gone. After a long battle in bankruptcy court between developers and local preservationists, the outcome is clear. I learned the news from Jim Youmans, a Sparta resident, who sent me an email with a link to some pictures he took this weekend. Located 25 miles southwest of Bill's Grocery, the Baker House and its 10.7 acres will be rezoned into commercial property to make way for a shopping center. In my opinion, Sparta, with a poverty rate of over 30%, doesn't necessarily have the ideal demographics for a new shopping center. The developers know this. My bet is they sell the lumber from the house, turn around and resell the property, and walk away with a nice profit since they bought the house for dirt cheap through a bankruptcy auction. In the mean time, the city of Sparta, which has been able to preserve most of the historic houses that once lined its city streets, loses an architecturally significant house, and another one of my pictures becomes a piece of history in a year's time.

1 comment:

Dirt Road Cowboy said...

Matt, thanks for the posting about Sparta. I went to college in Milledgeville 20 years ago (seems forever now) and my friends and I used to drive up and swim in the old Rock Quarry there. Those were some of the craziest times for me, following the Grateful Dead with friends I've long lost contact with, sneaking into Rose Hill Cemtery in Macon to hang out at Duane Allman's grave. But the coolest thing I remember, other than diving dangerously off 30 and 40 foot cliffs and splashing around the dark cool waters of the Rock Quarry, were the memorable old structures scattered all around Hancock County. You could tell even then that Sparta had to be among the poorest places in Georgia; but the old buildings represented a richer, happier time. I've gotten off course here, but I'm glad you have preserved a little of what's left of that time, since I wasn't forward-thinking enough to do so myself back then.