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Chamber buys historic home

Will serve as Liberty Chamber and CVB offices

POSTED: March 19, 2017 5:00 a.m.
Courtesy Liberty County Chamber of Commerce/CVB/

The Bacon-Fraser house.

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After years of looking for a new home the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau found a site to suit them in the historic Bacon-Fraser House.
The home is at 208 East Court St. in Hinesville and stands on 2.5 acres of land.
The Bacon-Fraser House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a Liberty County Historical Society marker stands in front of it.
Chamber and CVB Chief Executive Officer Leah Poole said the 3,200 square feet of usable space will solve 

the logistical nightmare the organization has suffered with seven employees in rented offices at the Liberty County Development Authority building.
Poole said the volume of activities that the Chamber/CVB has become involved in during recent years had forced the Chamber to use outside storage space causing logistic difficulties whenever the organization needs stored materials to set up a booth or host an event.
Poole said the Bacon-Fraser house is perfect for the Chamber and CVB’s needs.
“It’s warm, inviting and light,” she said, “It’s what a welcome center should be; it’s a home, a home away from home.”
Poole said the large rooms on the ground floor will house the staff and that the second floor will be used for storage.
A big, impressive parlor in front of the house will be used to greet visitors and house the coordinator of first impressions, Mary Prince, as well as an administrative assistant, Claudette Schomberg. Poole’s office, the former master bedroom, is nearby.
At the rear is a kitchen and eating area that will be used for their original purpose. The formal dining room will serve as a CVB office, the den will be space for two employees and the sunroom will be used as a conference room.
“This has been a dream of ours for a number of years. Our immediate past chairman, Roger Hutchinson, made finding suitable space to meet our growing needs a priority during his two year term as chairman and while we reached the goal just after his term ended, it’s because of his leadership and that of our great board that we were able to make this happen,” Poole said.
Records at the Liberty County Clerk of Courts say the chamber paid $380,000, $360,000 of which it financed through Ameris Bank.
Poole said the organizations are grateful to the Frasers for agreeing to the sale of the home, which has housed seven generations of their family.
The closing, she said, was emotional for everyone. Fraser heirs making the sale were Olin Fraser Jr., Claire McLean, Layton Fraser and Annette Crankshaw.
The chamber plans to move into its new home during the last week of March.
Poole said the Fraser family had maintained the 1839 house and that adding additional telephone and internet lines was the only significant change needed.
“The care and love this family has for the house is evident in every corner,” Poole said.
She added that they had taken impeccable care of their family home and that the chamber will work hard to maintain everything at the same level with the same care.
According to the historical society’s marker on East Court Street, “the Bacon-Fraser House was built on a 23-acre tract situated on the eastern boundary of the town of Hinesville in 1839 by Mary Jane Bacon, widow of Major John Bacon.
“The architecture is “plantation plain style” and its workmanship reflects the work of the best craftsmen of the day.
The front and two-story section remains virtually unchanged. However, the two shed rooms and kitchen to the rear were removed and additional rooms added in 1923. The 1923 section was removed in 1979-1980 and replaced by shed rooms, porch, dining room and kitchen on the original foundation in the architectural style and interior design of the 1839 era.
“A detachment of Sherman’s army assaulted the plantation in December in 1864, pillaging, looting and burning. The house was spared the torch, but the barn and all outbuildings were burned by the Northern troops.”

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