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Ford landmark draws crowd
community house
Members of the public in a room in the Community House in Richmond Hill during an open house event Saturday morning. Photo by Jeff Whitten.

Richmond Hill Mayor Russ Carpenter called the city’s purchase last year of the Community House “the culmination of a seven-year dream.”

He called Saturday “a great day in the Hill,’ as turnout at an open house showed he and other city officials aren’t alone in having an interest in the future of the landmark building built by Henry Ford in 1936.

A steady stream of visitors wandered through the structure, which was used in Ford’s time in Richmond Hill as a gathering place for social events and for classes in cooking, home economiics, sewing, dancing and other activities.

The city announced it was purchasing the building in December from Carter Funeral Home for $904,500 in SPLOST funds earmarked for historic preservation.

Saturday’s event, held in conjunction with the Richmond Hill Historical Society’s monthly Cars & Coffee, was designed to give residents an opportunity to weigh in on what they want to see go in the building, which has fallen into disrepair and needs work before it can be used.

Carpenter, a Richmond Hill native, and others involved in the effort to acquire and save the Community House have been vague on what plans may be in store, but the mayor said the city intends for it to be a public space for the community to enjoy.

Saturday’s turnout showed the interest is there as hundreds stopped by to take a tour while city employees and local historians such as Buddy Sullivan and Christy Sherman were among those on hand to answer questions.

“It was great to see so many residents come in to see a landmark that has such a presence in our town,” Carpenter said. “Also, a lot of fond memories were shared of dances, classes, and even roller skating in the ballroom. We also gained valuable input as to what we should do with the property.”

To share your thoughts on what should be done with the structure, go to RHCommunityHouse. Answer by Monday and be entered in a drawing to win a basket of Richmond Hill items.

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