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Historical home moving to museum

The historic Chesser-Williams House is prepped to be transferred via truck to the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center.


Chesser-Williams House

Chesser-Williams House

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Chesser-Williams House move

The historic Chesser-Williams House is prepped to be transferred via truck to the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center.

The historic Chesser-Williams House is prepped to be transferred via truck to the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The foyer area of the Chesser-Williams House which predates the 1850's located off Braselton Highway in Buford. The 16 by 40 foot house is scheduled to be transferred via truck to the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center in Buford on Thursday, Nov. 29.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The original wood is still apart of the 16 by 40 foot Chesser-Williams House that predates the 1850s is scheduled to be moved to the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center in Buford on Thursday, Nov. 29.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Contractors Brian Ivie removes support blocks used for leveling while a small crew prepares for the transportation of the Chesser-Williams House in Buford on Wednesday. The 16 by 40 foot house is scheduled to be transferred via truck from its location since the 1850s off Braselton Highway to the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center in Buford on Thursday, Nov. 29.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The parlor area is believed to be painted a decorative folk art style by a German man in return for room and board during an unknown date. The decorative folk art can be found throughout the house and porch area.

DACULA -- This move was years in the making.

Jerald Williams donated the house he was born in to become a part of a county museum three years ago, but even after years of studying and planning, something kept the house right there in his front yard.

The weather, the permits, scheduling with utility companies.

On Tuesday, the threat of rain caused another delay, and on Wednesday, when a contractor arrived, the battery was dead in the truck set to haul it. Hours later, a tire deflated.

Pretty soon, it became clear that the move couldn't be completed by sundown.

So today, the historic Chesser-Williams House is expected to travel the six miles to its new home -- if all goes well.

"We realize this is an important treasure that has been given to us, and we want to make sure it is done right," said Jason West, spokesman for the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, the Buford museum where the artifact will soon sit on a new foundation. "Anytime you move a structure like that ... there's always the unexpected things."

The I-house, which leaders believe predates the 1850s, will soon become a part of the museum's cultural curriculum, along with the historic Lee Farm barn, which is being dismantled at its Five Forks Trickum location, the boards marked and rebuilt on the center's campus. The house's kitchen was moved in September to the location.

Williams watched the preparations Wednesday, along with his daughter Regina Swancey.

"I was hatched in that house," he said with a laugh. "I'm glad they are getting it before it falls apart."

Not only is the wood-frame house one of Gwinnett's oldest, but the decorative folk art on the walls and ceilings are a unique feature that adds to the appeal, West said. According to research, the paintings, completed by an itenerate German man who did the work in exchange for room and board, are one of the only remaining examples of such art in the entire state.

"It certainly is significantly historical to the county's heritage," West said.

For Regina Swancey, who lives behind the structure's Braselton Highway original location, "I just knew it as my grandparent's house."

Swancey recounted summers underneath the house, digging up doodlebugs with her sister, and snuggling up her with grandmother.

"We loved to slide down the bannister," she said. "We're glad that the county is going to do something with it."

The move could begin at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to take up to three hours. The slow-moving process could cause traffic along Braselton Highway, Gravel Springs Road, Ga. Highway 20 and Financial Center Way.

West said the center is developing programming for schools and special events and anticipates beginning tours in late fall next year.