††The old Kitchings Mill Library is one step closer to being preserved as a tribute to the eastern part of Aiken County.
On Tuesday, County Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the relocation of the building to Aiken County Historical Museum grounds.
“My original plan, when I first saw it, was to preserve it,” said Jerry Waters, who owned the property until recently. “Now, it will be shared by a lot of people, not just a limited few.”
The former library, which most recently was a private residence, sits on Highway 4 and was built by Della and James Kitching around the turn of the 20th century. Della, a matriarch of the Kitchings Mill community, stocked the library, set up a foundation to maintain it and dedicated it to the memory of her mother, Harriet Kitching.
After about 25 years, the foundation was no longer able to sustain the library so the property reverted to Della.
The Kitchings Mill Library building was occupied by Della’s descendants until 2012 when Waters received a call from the family of then-resident Virginia Surles.
Surles was moving into an assisted living home and wanted Waters to assist in the preservation of the home.
To that end, Elliott Levy, the executive director of the Aiken County Historical Museum, was contacted, and an effort to relocate and preserve the building has been going on since.
Aiken County is currently seeking bids on relocating the old library and on removing and reconstructing the existing border wall at the museum to accommodate the building next to the red schoolhouse.
County Administrator Clay Killian said Tuesday he expects the cost to relocate the library will be approximately $20,000 to $25,000 to be paid from a contingency fund.
Levy envisions turning the house into an exhibit with displays on Kitchings Mill, Salley, Perry, Wagener and Monetta.
“It gives the folks in the eastern part of the county something to hang their hat on,” Waters said.
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