Sunday, March 11, 2012

Save The Hampton House

So it should be my duty, and that of the Carterville Heritage & Preservation Foundation, to let our community know when a historic treasure may be in jeopardy. That's why I am posting this, and I hope that someone, or several folks, will come up with a creative solution to keep this home.

The Hampton House is located at 403 S. Division Street, right across from First Baptist Church. It was one of the oldest houses in Carterville, built in 1889, and it was one of the very few major, two-story homes left on our main street as a welcome into our downtown's historic district.

This house was recently foreclosed and is currently owned by an out-of-town bank that is pondering what to do with this home. There is a strong rumor out there that can not be confirmed that one of those options may be to tear this house down and build a bank.

Let me say that the bank has been very nice and patient with my calls to inquire the status of this home. This house has considerable clean-up that needs to be done, as well as possible other cost issues, and for a bank that is looking for commercial, prime property in our little town, I can see why the numbers would point you to this option.

But numbers can not be put on the history of this home, and those incredible Carterville icons that lived there. In 1889, R.H.H. Hampton - owner of the famous and beloved Hampton Drug Store - built this home. It was originally built with a wrap-around porch, and later redesigned by the same architect that built the 1923 high school for Carterville which was recently torn down on Division Street. After the Hamptons, Dee and Barney Fozzard made this beautiful house their home for many years. Dee was an expert in genealogy and the town historian at the time, leaving us with incredible notes and photographs that gave us a head start when writing Carterville, Cambria, & Crainville: A Look Back At Our Towns. The Fozzards kept the home much in its original condition given Dee's passion for historic preservation. I wonder how it would have broken Dee's heart to see the house look anything but its best, and to see it torn down would have been unimaginable to her.

For me, I have always love this home. I looked at the house when it was previously for sale after the Fozzards and actually considered buying it even though I lived in Nashville at the time. I am currently not in the position to purchase this on my own and invest the money needed to renovate it back to its glory. But I sure would be willing to lead the effort or to partner with a several individuals who would.

I would love to see this home as a bed and breakfast, maybe a little shop where Dee once sold flowers, who knows. It would also be nice to seek endowments/donors to contribute to purchase this home and donate to the Carterville Heritage & Preservation Foundation, but we likely have enough need and effort required for the heritage museum that we are currently renovating.

If you are interested in purchasing the home, possibly let me know at and if we generate enough interest, maybe this would be helpful to the bank as they are considering their options.

I have said many times that if Carterville was our home where we were inviting guests, we should consider Division Street as our main hallway and first impression. What does the journey down Division Street say to our visitors? Does it immediately impress them and make them feel like they have entered a charming town? What kind of impression will be made with one of our oldest homes gone and replaced with a business?

We need more business in Carterville. But we also need preservation. I think about the nation being saddened with the tornado destruction in Harrisburg and Ridgeway, and particularly that a 140-year-old church, Ridgeway's St. Joseph Catholic Church, was destroyed. But somehow, we can consider taking a wrecking ball to a 123-year-old house that is located on the main street to our town.

Any new owner of this property in the future has that option. I am just asking what quick options we have (prior to going through paperwork to have this designated a historic property) to ensure that this house gets in the hands of preservation-minded owners.

Email your ideas to me ( or post on You're So Carterville Facebook Page please.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Carterville's "Count Me In" Volunteer Kick-Off

Well, it's been way too long since I've posted on this blog, sorry about that. I'm in the big town of Carterville and fortunate enough to have been hired by the hometown that I love to assist with downtown revitalization and marketing. Great companies, and great change, all happen with the right people on the bus - and we need a lot of them, so...we need you!

As part of Carterville’s downtown revitalization efforts, a volunteer kick-off and community forum will be held on Tuesday, October 18th at 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Carterville Community Center located in Cannon Park.

Architectural firm and Carterville chamber member Architechniques, based in Herrin, Illinois, will be on hand, seeking community input as they assist Carterville with new possibilities for downtown revitalization as well as other city ideas. Jennifer Spence, a native of Carterville and hired as a consultant to assist Carterville with downtown development and marketing, will lead a discussion, showing ideas from other towns and items to consider for Carterville.

In most cases, grants will need to be obtained for improvements, but the city hopes to hear from the community first on what is important for them, what businesses they would like to see in Carterville, what enhancements they would hope to have for the area. This input is an important step in the strategic planning process for revitalization, and ideas can be big and small, as even the minor changes make such a big difference. Maybe you would hope for upper-level housing development downtown, revised codes, more greenspace, infrastructure improvements. Possibly, you simply want to voice what kind of businesses you would like to have in town that would offer convenience for you, or ideas that you have for town improvement that you would like shared. If so, this is your opportunity.

As part of the revitalization efforts, there is a tremendous need for volunteerism among our community for downtown events, clean-up projects, a future heritage museum, and more. While it is important to voice your opinion for town improvements, it is also important to be a part of the change. Carterville’s volunteer recruitment campaign, “Count Me In” will be kicked-off during this event, with volunteer forms for distribution. Part of the presentation will discuss upcoming volunteer needs. There is a variety of talent needs, and whatever time one can provide to assist this effort will be appreciated. If you’d like to volunteer but can’t make this event, email Jennifer Spence at or call 615-210-3705. You may also contact Jan Forbes at

One of the instrumental organizations behind the volunteer recruitment program is the Carterville Heritage & Preservation Foundation. Formed in October 2010, this 501C3 charity organization was formed with the mission to preserve and restore the history of Carterville, Cambria, and Crainville. While not all of the future clean-up projects will be geared with history in mind, several will be in an effort to better preserve and present some of the area’s historic buildings.

For questions regarding this event, or if you can’t make the event and would like to share your ideas or sign up to volunteer, contact Jennifer Spence at or call 615-210-3705.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nothing Says Community Like This...

Nothing says what community spirit the towns of Carterville, Cambria and Crainville have then taking a look at these pages filled with beautiful photos and wonderful memories. Whether it's photos of parents, salutes to classes or just expressing that our towns have been a great place to live - these ads will express so much to so many people for years to come.

When we started to tackle this book project, we knew we would need to raise a lot of money to print the book and build a foundation. We had high goals that seemed far out of reach. But, we're about to meet those goals.

Sheri Hunter and I are working lots of hours right now to bring this book to you in June, if everything works out as scheduled, but we haven't been alone on contributing to the book. Many folks in the community have written their own memory for select chapters, and it is has really made the book extra special. We've also gathered memories from Facebook questions and countless photos that have been contributed by so many. Plus, our board of directors has provided leadership and the committee for ad sales has literally rocked! We're calling them the "Woo Hoo" Team as we celebrated with a "Woo Hoo" every time the community provided support by becoming a Friend of CHPF. We can't say enough how much we appreciate the community support.

So...take a look at these ads. And while the deadline has been extended a couple of times, this is it. We have six (6) ad spaces left for the "Founding Friend" level and four (4) ad spaces left for "Friend" level. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity and boy, we sure would like to fill the remaining pages with the ads and make it very clean. :)

If interested in becoming a Friend of CHPF, shoot me an email at; don't wait too late, or you might miss the chance.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"Friends" Drive Successful and Deadline Extended!

Hot off the presses, here is our latest press release, and simply put, we can't say enough how much we appreciate the support we've received from the community. And why would it be any different, after all, this is OUR TOWN!



Carterville Heritage and Preservation Foundation is extending the deadline for their first fund-raising effort, “Friends of Carterville Heritage and Preservation Foundation (CHPF)” due to the overwhelming response. The foundation’s mission is to educate the history of Carterville, Cambria and Crainville, as well as preserve and renovate historic sites within these communities. At the core of this mission is telling the communities’ story in a photo history book written by Sheri Hunter and Jennifer Spence. Within that book, as part of being a “Friend of CHPF”, an individual receives an ad that can be an “In Memory,” “In Salute,” or “In Honor” of a community person or event.

“Our community has shown its support for this book by generously supporting it with tributes to their parents, grandparents, school, you name it.,” said Sheri Hunter, co-author of the book and retired Carterville Community High School English teacher. “This has demonstrated what we already knew--people in the Carterville, Crainville, Cambria area love their towns and want to preserve their history.”

The deadline was originally set for this Friday, January 7th, but CHPF will increase its original goal, now offering this limited, rare opportunity to 200 Friends. They expect to reach this goal in just a few rather than set a date, CHPF is reminding folks that it is first come, first serve. Space is limited in the book.
According to committee co-chairs Sharon Holmes and Elaine Miskell, phone calls have been constant this week, many folks fearing they had missed the deadline.

“People are really being creative and thoughtful with this effort, such as a grade school P.E. teacher saluting his students of Crainville and Cambria, or a group of friends saluting the Class of 1965,” said Miskell. “My fear is that once the book is printed, it’s printed….and some folks will wish that they were a part of it and either didn’t know, or simply waited too late.”
There are two levels available, a “Founding Friend” and a “Friend” level. “Founding Friend” level is available with a $500 donation and receives an “In Memory,” “In Honor,” or “In Salute” ad in the upcoming Carterville, Cambria and Crainville: A Look Back At Our Towns book, four copies of the book, a life-time membership to Friends of the Carterville Heritage and Preservation Foundation and a quarterly newsletter starting in January 2011. The “Friend” level, with a $250 donation, receives an “In Memory,” “In Honor,” or “In Salute” ad, two copies of the book, a one-year membership to Friends of the Carterville Heritage and Preservation Foundation and a quarterly newsletter.

If you’d like to donate and become a Friend of Carterville Heritage and Preservation Foundation, you can contact Elaine Miskell at 618-985-3588 or email, or contact any committee member. You can also pick up a form at Kindling – Spirits, Food & Florals located on Rt. 13 at Crainville Road.

The foundation is also assisting co-authors Jennifer Spence and Sheri Hunter with sponsorship sales to businesses for the upcoming photo history book. Businesses will have the opportunity for exclusive sponsorship of chapters. Every effort is being made to produce a high-quality book packed with interesting information and images. This hard-back book will have a four-color book jacket and have 300-pages. The efforts for the book have already collected more than 1,500 photos of Carterville, Cambria and Crainville that will be available for foundation efforts and preserved for future generations. If your business is interested in sponsorship, please contact Sheri Hunter at or call 618-985-2814.

The fundraising efforts will assist with production cost for Carterville, Cambria and Crainville: A Look Back At Our Towns book. A portion of the proceeds generated with the book will be donated to the Anne West Lindsey District Library in Carterville and all remaining proceeds will be utilized for preservation efforts of the Carterville Heritage and Preservation Foundation.