Auburn citizens and members of the City Council met in the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Tuesday night to discuss the historic Cullars house. They were looking for ways to save the building.
Council member Steven Dixon hosted the meeting as a way to inform citizens about the situation surrounding the home and to give them a forum to express their opinions or ideas for how the city should handle it.
“One person wrote me an email suggesting having litigation documentation,” Dixon said. “This would include a historical narrative and photographs and adding that to the Alabama Historical Commission.”
Linda Dean, an Auburn resident who lived in the Cullars house for a time, explained the history of the house during the meeting to inform other Auburn residents who were unfamiliar with the home.
“The Cullars family came into this area in the 1880s to begin constructing many of the campus buildings and many of the town buildings,” Dean said. “The family itself is of great significance to the town, and the building serves as a graceful entry to the town and the campus.”
Dean went on to say that the house was built approximately in 1893, making it over 125 years old.
“It is a significant architectural structure to both the University and the town,” Dean said.
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Because of its importance to the history of the University, many citizens asked if turning to the College of Agriculture or the College of Architecture, Design and Construction was an option, suggesting the University turn the building into a museum for the schools.
Council member Brett Smith was able to share that the University counted the cost of maintenance and updating the house, and determined it was too high and not in the planned budget for the future.
“We got a resounding no from the University,” Smith said. “I’m sure there could be some push on that if someone could talk to the Board of Trustees or something.”
Smith, whose law office currently resides in the home, went on to say that it does have a significant tie to the University. He said he believes there is a chance the University will step in and help, but there will be a cost to it.
“I mean, utility-wise, there is only one bathroom, which isn’t up to code; it’s not legal,” Smith said. “You’re going to need at least two bathrooms. And if you are having events, you’d need to put in a kitchen.”
Smith also revealed that about 12 different private individuals had looked at purchasing the home for private use and moving it.
“There is one gentleman who looked at it Sunday, and that is not out of the picture,” Smith said. “Now that would be a private transaction, but it is not out of the question.”
With little more than a month to make a decision, Auburn residents seem to agree that the Council needs to make a decision fast.
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