Local News

Historic School Given New Life as a Home

Posted January 2, 2000

— There are not many people who can claim to live in a historic school. Two men in Franklin County are working on making a 96-year-old school building their home.

Almost a century of rust, rot and rain took their toll on the old Franklinton Grade School.

The cost and effort required to restore the historic landmark scared away others, but not Garland Avent and Caleb Hannah.

"Well I enjoy the old buildings, and this one showed some promise of being restored," says Avent.

Avent and Hannah are cutting costs by doing a lot of the work themselves.

This building will be their home, but traces of its public school history will stay intact, like an original pot-bellied stove used in many of the old schools.

Upstairs, a huge auditorium with a slanted theater floor will be turned into a ballroom. Hannah says five large rooms on the first floor originally served as classrooms.

Even with 15,000 square feet, virtually every room is filled with antiques waiting to be restored and displayed.

"I've collected stuff like this from all over the world, and we hope to display it here when we get everything together," says Avent.

A solid bronze chandelier will light the master suite -- anything old and ostentatious like the building itself.

It is the perfect display case for their collection, and the perfect way to keep an old Franklinton landmark gleaming.

"I think people will always say 'Well that's the old school," but at the same time I think it will look like a country house," says Avent.

The Franklinton Grade School closed in 1924. Since then, it has been used to house several businesses as well a soil conservation office.


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