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Chapin's Historic Wessinger house demolished after asbestos makes renovations unreasonable

Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – One of Chapin’s oldest homes was demolished this week after it, and the land it sat on, was purchased by adjacent Mt. Horeb Lutheran Church. The church had been in negotiations to purchase it for some time. They plan to widen an existing rear drive and use a portion of the parcel for parking. No long-term plans for the lot’s entirety have been established at this point.

The old home was constructed around 1890 by Job and Anna Seay Wessinger. Its last residents were the retired Reverend Doctor Charles Wessinger and his wife Alice. According to a lifelong member of Mt. Horeb, Rev. Wessinger died in the late 1990’s. Alice Wessinger then lived in the home until she became unable to do so around the year 2000. It had since passed to heirs who were the ones negotiating with the church regarding the sale.

The Wessinger house was a fine example of craftsman construction. It was often called the “Round Cornered House” because of the unique and beautifully crafted rounded corners on its porch. The craftsmanship that was displayed in the Wessinger house was outstanding and expert, according to a member of the church who helped negotiate its purchase. Even though there was major damage inside that would have made repairs difficult, it wasn’t impossible. It was the house’s highest point that sealed its doom.

The home had utilized raised ridge metal roofing popular in the earlier and mid parts of the last century. Over the years, the roof was coated many times by a sealant that was brushed or spread on to make it waterproof. It also was intended to reflect away the heat of the sun helping to keep the home cooler. After having the home evaluated by a house mover, renovations experts, and inspectors, it was discovered that this sealant had a great deal of asbestos in it. Although the cancer-causing material was found in other places in the home, most of it was on that roof. The cost of having the asbestos mitigated and renovating the house was exorbitant. Once an expert said the home wasn’t structurally sound enough to move if someone wanted it for remodeling, it was the end for the home with the rounded corners.

The home that was more than 100 years-old was no match for a modern-day track hoe. Within a short time this week, the home was on the ground. It is being hauled away in trucks to an approved landfill.

Several organizations are doing their best to preserve as much of the history of Chapin and the surrounding Dutch Fork as possible. Perhaps some photos of the Wessinger house and a few salvaged tidbits will help coming generations learn about the area’s history.

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