Members of the fledgling Dutch Fork Historical Society are launching a last-minute effort to save a 225-year-old home that could become the museum they want to open.
The group is seeking to raise $60,000 in two weeks to move the home from Lexington to the north side of Lake Murray before it is demolished.
“It is the epitome of the Hail Mary pass,” said Kenneth Robison, an organizer of the online fund-raising effort. “If we can’t raise it fast, it’s gone.”
The offer to obtain the home came after other plans for it it fell through, he said.
It sits on a 20-acre site slated to become a retiree community in the middle of the rapidly growing town. Work on that project is set to start in mid-September.
The home was built in the 1790s in the Dutch Fork area before it was moved across the lake to its current site 33 years ago, the group says in its appeal.
It could become the museum for local history that a coalition of history and genealogy groups led by Robison hope to create.
But it also could again become a home for a family.
The important thing is to save it first and then settle on its future, Robison said.
A piece of local history is threatened with being “ripped apart and bulldozed” unless rescued, the group says in its appeal for donations.
The group is looking at possible sites for a museum but would welcome a donation for that as well, Robison said.
The Dutch Fork area stretches across northern Lexington, northwest Richland and southern Newberry counties, an area largely rural with small towns such as Chapin, Prosperity, Little Mountain, Peak and Pomaria.
Its nickname comes from German families – Deutsch in their native language – who immigrated to the tri-county area between the Broad and Saluda rivers in the early 1700s.
The home couldn’t be protected as a historic facility in Lexington because it isn’t original to the community, said Chuck Corley, chairman of the town Historic Preservation Review Board.
“That’s an integral part of their history,” he said of the Dutch Fork area. “Saving it would be sending it back home.”
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483
Go to www.gofundme.com/8q3vjsu8 to make an online donation. The deadline is Sept. 9.