The Mills House, a historic home on the corner of Oglethorpe Highway and Memorial Drive, is not going to be destroyed, but it is going to be taken apart and moved. The 125-year-old property was purchased by attorneys Joel and Jay Osteen in 2004, but a request for a zoning change and a decision about what to do with the house on the property have hampered
development of the land.
The Osteens had offered to give away the home to anyone or any organization willing to pay to move it, but efforts by members of the community to raise funds to move the house near Midway Museum and restore it fell through. Fortunately, Pastor Tim and Catherine Parrish of Trinity Baptist Church recently contracted with T & T Home Moving, a home moving and construction company near Jacksonville, Fla., to move the house about 12 miles from its current location to their seven-acre lot about three miles over the county line.
“The main thing is to get the house out of town,” explained Parrish. “We were second in line to get it. My wife is tickled to death about it. We want to keep it as natural as possible, but to move it, we’ll have to cut the house into three pieces because you can’t move a two-story house that wide down the street.”
He said the three sections the house will be divided into are 24 feet by 38 feet (second floor), 38 feet by 53 feet (main body of the house) and 10 feet by 35 feet (a large section on the right face of the house). Parrish said he actively is working on getting all the moving permits while construction crews prepare the house for relocation. The first thing they did was remove all underpinning, plumbing, duct work for heating and air conditioning and electrical hookups. The top floor will be lifted off with a crane, he said. Each segment will be moved on separate platforms in one long convoy, he added.
Parrish reiterated that all three sections will be moved the same day, which, he admits, will disrupt traffic for a while. Doing it all in one day is better than three different days of disrupting traffic, he said. Parrish said everything is on schedule to complete the move by the third week of January, including permits.
“I think more than anything, most people don’t want it torn down, and they’re glad we’re moving it,” Parrish said. “We intend to renovate it and live in it. It will be also be used sometimes for church functions.”
The Mills House first was built in 1886 by George M. Mills and his wife Flora Ellen (Fraser) Mills. A second floor later was added as were modern conveniences, including attaching the kitchen to the rest of the house and adding indoor plumbing.