Colonel Littleton is a preservationist at heart with an appetite for restoring old buildings and preserving the history and the stories so deeply woven into the crevices of their walls. It’s disheartening for him to watch these buildings fall to neglect.
Because, “Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” says Colonel.
But, when does Colonel decide to take on a restoration project?
Watch the video and read below about Colonel and the old tavern!
It was in April 2014 when Colonel’s phone rang and an opportunity presented itself.
Lee Flippo owned a local house moving company with his wife, Kathy, and they had stumbled upon something they thought the Colonel would be interested in. Their efforts have led to the salvaging of old buildings before and a call to the Colonel meant there was one they thought was worth saving.
Colonel agreed to go see this building because its story was so intriguing. What he saw made him question the viability of bringing the building back to life.
His first impression was – a lost cause.
It was a worn-out, dilapidated building covered in layers of what were attempts to modernize it through the eras. Not much was known about this building, other than it was maybe two hundred years old, and it originally stood in Old Belfast.
But . . . there was also the possibility that General Andrew Jackson spent time in this building and that got the Colonel’s attention.
As Colonel inspects it, he notices that the original chimney is gone and a makeshift one is in its place. Stepping across the dirty beige, shag carpet, while avoiding the mess that had been left by previous tenants, he pulls up a corner of the carpet and, eureka, a hardwood floor peeks through.
Stairs in the corner led to a second floor, which lacked sound flooring. There were holes in the wall and it was through one of these holes in the drywall that Colonel discovered poplar tongue and groove underlying structural elements.
Under the stairs he noticed more of the original construction, and underneath the building were hand hewn cedar beams with pegs that held them together. A hole in the ceiling revealed the original beams, and layers of tin and asphalt shingles on the roof covered original wood shingles.
As he pours over every inch of the structure, Colonel realized this building had some real authentic bones and, therefore, possibilities.
Digging a little deeper, he discovered some significant history tied to the building. It was the last remaining piece to the Adams Inn and Tavern dating back to the early 1800s, which was also known to be a stopping point for General Andrew Jackson. The building, at one point, was even referred to as the Andrew Jackson Tavern.
So, Colonel consults with Payton Hewitt, his partner and master craftsman in historic restoration. It appeared they had enough to work with to revive the structure back to its original state. If it was going to be done, it had to be done right. Colonel and Payton have a harmonious relationship when it comes to restoration and respect for craftsmanship and historic integrity. But, Payton’s time was valuable; it was nearing summer and he was also a farmer, harvesting hay from hundreds of acres.
Colonel had to decide quickly because he knew, “When the hay comes up, I’m out of luck!”
The alfalfa wasn’t up yet, and so a new restoration project was born.