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 email@example.com 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post on You're So Carterville Facebook Page please.