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Historic Roswell farmhouse to be preserved by sale

The front facade of the Hembree Farmhouse. (Photo by Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.)

By John Ruch

One of Fulton County’s oldest houses will be rehabilitated and permanently preserved in a sale brokered by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Hembree Farmhouse in Roswell, dating to around 1835, was recently purchased by Brandy and Jared Kirschner for the low price of $125,000 in exchange for strict preservation agreements. The Kirschners were not immediately available for comment on the sale, which was announced on Sept. 29.

The Georgia Trust partnered with the Roswell Historical Society (RHS) to offer the property for sale in July. The sale was conducted through the Georgia Trust’s Revolving Fund program, which acquires historic properties by purchase or donation and markets them to preservation-minded owners. When a buyer is selected, the Georgia Trust works with them to develop a rehabilitation and preservation plan and imposes an easement giving it permanent review powers over changes that would affect the historic character. Any money from the sale goes back into the fund for further acquisitions. For the buyer, the property can be sold like any other, but the preservation easement remains forever and is binding on any owner.

According to the Georgia Trust and RHS, Amariah Hembree came to the Roswell area from South Carolina in the early 1830s to farm the lands after the government’s forcible removal of the Native Americans. His son James built the farmhouse on what was then a 600-acre plot. Another son, Elihu, and his descendants lived on the property for eight generations. Elihu’s grave is on the property.

The property has other historic connections to the rest of the city, including the growing of cotton for the Roswell Manufacturing Company mills and serving as the site for the 1836 founding of the Lebanon Baptist Church, which continues today at a different location.

Today, the farmhouse and its outbuildings stand on the last intact acre of the old farm, virtually landlocked amid a sea of cul-de-sacs off Hembree Road near Hembree Grove Drive. The house was moved from the streetfront to its current location in 2007.

RHS acquired the property in 2008 and worked for years to preserve it before transferring it to the Revolving Fund.

“The Georgia Trust is delighted with the result of this partnership with the Roswell Historical Society,” said Georgia Trust President and CEO Mark C. McDonald in a press release. “We greatly admire the dedication and hard work of its members, who undertook the preservation of this important house and made it possible for us to convey it to Brandy and Jared Kirschner.”

For more information about the Revolving Fund, see the Georgia Trust website.

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