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Historic house in danger of demolition
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Editor, The historic Mills House is in danger of demolition.
The Mills House was built in 1886 by George M. Mills and his wife Flora Ellen (Fraser) Mills. George M. Mills was listed as an early educator at Taylors Creek Union Academy (founded in 1833). He was an officer in the Confederate army during the Civil War and was wounded during the Battle of Atlanta. He later joined the faculty at Bradwell Institute after it reopened following the Civil War. He served as a clerk of Liberty County Superior Court around 1903. Flora Ellen Fraser was the daughter of Simon A. and Mary William Fraser.
The property that the house was built on is thought to be on the eastern most point of a tract of land purchased in 1839 by Flora Ellen’s grandmother.
The house was built as a one-story, Victorian-style cottage with a detached kitchen, pantry and storage room that was connected to the home by a breezeway. The home was built with the best materials available. The trim and millwork were of top quality, including hand sewn heart pine sills and mantles that were fabricated in Savannah. The couple lived in the home with their son, Wallace Fraser Mills (born 1886).
Wallace attended Bradwell and went on to study law at Mercer University. He established a law practice in Hinesville around 1912. He is described as a prominent attorney and solicitor and also served as mayor of Hinesville from 1925-1926.
Upon the passing of his mother, Flora Ellen, Wallace inherited the home (deed records date back to 1915). The home was used for rental purposes until approximately 1938 when Wallace started a major renovation to the property prior to his marriage to Elizabeth Carson.
The renovation included adding the second story and a wide porch. He modernized the structure by installing heat, bathrooms and relocating the kitchen inside. The couple resided at the house until his passing in 1970. Elizabeth Mills inherited the house and lived there until 1982.
Around 1989, another renovation was made by Olin Fraser Jr. in an attempt to make the home more convenient and comfortable for Elizabeth. Her health prevented her from returning to the house and upon her death in 1990 the house was inherited by Mr. Olin Fraser Sr. In more recent years the house served as the office for the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce. Events were held here including the annual chamber Lowcountry boil and oyster roast. The house was sold through the estate in 2004.
The house is currently for sale and the future of the site is uncertain. The current owners are seeking a change to the zoning from OI (office institutional) to C2 (general commercial) which allows for the highest intensity of commercial use. The conceptual plan includes demolishing the house and clearing the property to allow for the development of three restaurants, one of which will be a drive through, and one hotel.
This zoning action will be heard at the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission meeting, open to the public, at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 18 in the courthouse annex board room.
As our community continues to grow we are faced with the challenge of preserving our culture and heritage while allowing for responsible development. Without your support, this historic heirloom could be lost forever. If you would like to offer your support and /or assistance in protecting this endangered treasure you may contact Randy Branch, Liberty County Cultural and Historic Resources Committee vice chairman, at 877-3024.
We believe that this place matters. Does it matter to you?

Donna Shive for the Liberty
County Cultural and Historic Resources Committee
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