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Hester Store

Written by: Mike Bedenbaugh, Preservation Solutions

When we bought the church in 2020, It was in dire need of some help for sure. The property had been sitting for a few years after the split between the Pelzer Presbyterian church and the Presbyterian church in Williamston, SC. This is the only original church left standing in Pelzer, SC. We wanted to restore this church to it glory, something Pelzer heritage and community would be proud of. The church was built by Captain Smyth and Pelzer Mill in 1896.

The impact that this historic property has for the town of Pelzer community and the state of South Carolina is that so many historic buildings that were built in Pelzer have been destroyed and no longer there. The community holds on to the legacy, heritage, and importance that the Pelzer Presbyterian church stood for. A place to worship for so many that lived in the community and a place to lean on in good times and bad. And for the state to still recognize the history of the 1800's. For a small community such as Pelzer it means a lot to the town and citizens that this historic property was restored to its glory by the grace of God. Citizens can now look at this historic property as something to be proud of, to talk about and visit instead of a vacant lot where it once sat. For us it was our pleasure to bring life back into the Pelzer Presbyterian Church for all to enjoy, talk about, visit and be proud of.

 

The degree of difficulty in restoring this property: Was in the details of the building. Floors needed to be repaired, ceiling coming down and cracked, bead broad was coming apart, smells needed to be addressed, painting of the whole interior, HVAC needed to be replaced along with some electrical issues. The bathroom floors were rotten all the way through to the crawlspace, windows need to be fixed and others installed that we found in the crawlspace, separation of attic wood that invited squirrels and bats to live needed to be fixed and wildlife removed. Replacement of lighting from the 60's back to original lighting found, repair of doors, banisters, removal of trash and forgotten items, and so much more.

We use historic paint colors and trims with the same materials to repair and bring beauty back into the property. We spend many hours with furnishings that had the same feel and textures as the original period. We used everything we found in the church such as old bibles, books, pictures, toys, furniture from the upper mill as well as the lower mill to adore this property's integrity.

The most degree of difficulty of this project: Was that we did not qualify for any grants, loans, credits, or any other funding for this project. We did it all without any resources. With hard work and resources that we provided ourselves was the hardest part of this project. Our commitment to the preservation of the Pelzer Presbyterian Church lies within ourselves, our commitment to the town of Pelzer and the community.

Our degree of which the project serves as an example of outstanding commitment to historic preservation and exemplary preservation techniques: It was our willingness and love for historic property from being destroyed or turned into a property not matching it beauty and tradition of what the building was built or stands for. The town of Pelzer and the Community of Pelzer can look at this historic property and be proud to call Pelzer home.

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