Hardemon store approved for historic preservation

Former grocery store, gas station culturally important

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MILTON, Ga. - In a 4-2 vote July 16, the Hardemon Country Store owned by developer David Chatham was made an historic site by the city's Historic Preservation Commission.

In the early 1950s, the store at the corner of Hopewell Road and Thompson Road, was at an important crossroads for trade.

As an historic building, the owner will be limited with what can be done to the building, but as a trade-off will receive some property tax benefits.

“Country stores seem to be our history,” said Commissioner Patti Silva. “It has a cultural significance.”

Indeed, such stores would act as gathering places for locals to share goods and gossip.

The original store was a square, clapboard building wood framed and typical of the time. Two gasoline pumps used to service the local community, and the store offered manufactured goods.

“It sold everything from soda, candy and tobacco to staples – hardware, food and vegetable seeds,” said City Planner Michele McIntosh-Ross.

On the same parcel of land sits a small ranch house, where the store owner and operator would have lived. This was typical of the time.

The house was not part of the consideration made by the commission.

McIntosh-Ross told the commission the building was in excellent shape, and was renovated in 2006. The renovations included adding a new roof made of metal and a porch. The original roof had shingles.

It currently sits vacant.

While the exact date the building was built is disputed – ranging from “early 1900s” by the applicant to the 1950s by other historians – it still fits the required age for historically designated buildings.

“Either way it exceeds 50 year requirement,” said Commission Chairman Travis Allen.

The city's new historic preservation ordinance allows for sites to be designated “historic.” Several reasons can be given, including if a site is an outstanding example of similar structures of the era, a site of natural or archeological importance, or be of cultural importance.

The next step for the site is to go before the mayor and council Aug. 20. They will make a final decision.