|City/Town: • Parkdale|
|Location Class: • Residential|
|Built: • 1903 | Abandoned: • 2010s|
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places|
|Status: • Endangered|
|Photojournalist: • Ginger Beck • Briana Pennington|
Traveling through Ashley County on the way to Wilmot or Eudora, if you blink you’ll not only miss this house, but you’ll miss the entire community of Parkdale. However, despite the tiny community, this historic home has caught the eye of Highway 8 travelers for over 100 years.
The Dr. Robert George Williams House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. It was built in 1903 for Dr. Robert George Williams, a prominent medical doctor and businessman in Ashley County, and is one of the most elaborately decorated houses in Parkdale. In its beginning, it was a simple wood frame gable end house with a porch across the front, but it was extensively altered in 1917, giving it the Colonial Revival flair it has today.
Occupying a larger corner lot, the house has always had novelty siding and rests upon brick piers. The two gabled additions were added to both the side and the rear elevation. A two-story flat-roofed three-sided portico was added to the front greatly altering the exterior. Seven fluted Doric columns support the portico that extends into a porte cochere on the east elevation. The second floor of the porch has a railing of decorative slats, still decorated with large colored Christmas lights from years past.
A two story water tower with a low-pitched pyramid roof dominates the rear elevation. The second floor, on either side of the tower, is devoted to sleeping porches. The interior features an irregular plan with spacious rooms. The living room is located inside the front entrance and is dominated by the impressive stair that rises along the west wall. Four windows are positioned at different levels of the stair. The living room also features a fireplace with a striking mirrored mantel piece. Multi-paned double-doors lead from the living room to the dining room that has a beamed ceiling, its east wall devoted to a grouping of three windows.
The ancillary structures on the property included the two-story tank house connected to the house, a two room servant’s house, and a garage that was originally used as a barn. Some of the smaller structures behind the house included a cistern house, a smoke house, a canning house, a privy, and a Delco house which contained a generator that supplied the house with electricity before the community of Parkdale. The tank house and the garage are the only ancillary structures still in existence.
The home is currently privately owned by residents in Ashley County; they are greatly interested in renovation, although they have expressed interest in help with resources in order to renovate as required by historical society guidelines. Renovation plans have been stalled currently, but the owners are looking to do what they can.
This house can be saved. Volunteers are welcome to help assist in clean up of the exterior, particularly clearing the land. Any carpentry volunteers are welcome, and scaffolding is needed for some column support work. Contact Cynthia Polk if interested; small monetary compensation may be possible.
For years, many have wanted this lovely home to return to its former glory; anyone in the community who would like to assist in revitalizing this beautiful piece of history in Ashley County is encouraged to help or help spread the word.
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