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Historic Hoschton building has bright future
Darby building moved to new location
Hoschton’s historic Darby building was relocated earlier this month to a spot behind the Hoschton Depot. - photo by KATIE DUNN

HOSCHTON — Renovations on Hoschton’s historical Darby building may begin soon.

The century-old building was moved April 14 to its new home behind the Hoschton Depot near Broad Street.

Temporary piers will support the structure until permanent brick pillars are built. When this happens, general contractor Sue Rylee and husband Randy will begin renovations.

“We can’t do any real cosmetic work to the building until they’re on the permanent piers because it racks it as you let it down,” Rylee said. “So painting, caulking, metal roof, all that needs to be done after it’s through being jostled around.”

Rylee and her husband have done restorations for more than 27 years and worked on structures at Hurricane Shoals Park in Maysville.

The duo will tackle exterior renovations first, which include painting the building and installing a new door and roof. The one-room structure will receive a green roof, but a color for its wooden facade is still being decided. Originally, the building was painted white and later green, but the back side remained unpainted when it was in city square, Rylee said. The building originally sat next to Little Hooties Dippin’ Parlor.

The Hoschton Historic Commission has supervised the Darby building project and invested $12,719 into moving and renovating the structure.

Dianne Blankenship, a committee member, said the commission hopefully has enough money to cover the exterior renovations, but will have to raise money for repairing the interior.

More than a year ago on Jan. 20, 2009, the building was moved from the Church of God of Prophecy on Ga. 332 to a piece of land near the Depot and adjacent to the playground.

Gainesville-based Loopers House Moving Inc., which originally moved the building, returned to transport it across the parking lot to its new home.

Following last year’s move, renovations were stalled when a property line dispute emerged between the city and resident Horace Johnson regarding a 5,000-square-foot tract on which the building partially sat.

Johnson told city officials he believed the property was his. On April 5, the Hoschton City Council agreed that at one time the tract was probably Johnson’s. In response, the council approved a resolution to have Mayor Erma Denney sign a 2009 plat, the first step in returning the property to Johnson. The council also voted to move the Darby building to a new location.

The building’s future use is still under consideration and proposals include transforming it into a mercantile building or into a city museum.

The building was constructed in the early 1900s and at first was a shop owned by Jim Darby, according to a written history provided by Ralph Freeman Jr. in 2008. Freeman is a lifelong Hoschton resident and commission member.

The building was later rented by B.F. Wilson and used for his insurance and bookkeeping business. Wilson, who was the city clerk, also opened the shop for city council meetings.