“Did this place mean something to you?” a passerby asked me as the demolition began. “Well it sure meant something to me…” he answered as he walked away, shaking his head at the construction, or in this case destruction, workers.
Auburn’s landscape has seen countless transformations throughout the years. For instance, January brought great change to South College Street. Remember the Heart of Auburn Inn and Hotel? As of last month, the beloved inn came down after a half-century to make way for a new shopping center, The Shoppes at the Heart of Auburn.
Likewise, the demolition of two historic homes on South Gay Street was necessary to allow room for the parking lot of the CVS Pharmacy coming soon to the shopping center location. The two homes each have rich histories in the city of Auburn.
W.T. Plant, who also built Auburn University’s famous Samford Hall clock tower, built the 1890s Victorian-style home. Many Auburn professors have lived in the Victorian home including Foster McKissick, a center on Auburn’s first football team, according to historical preservationist Ralph Brown Draughon Jr.
I shared both Gay Street houses’ last moments with many other Auburn residents. While the last tenants watched the 120 year-old-home collapse, they reminisced on the many memories that they shared during their time lived in the Victorian house on Gay Street.
Auburn: always changing, ever growing.
Look out for the story of how “a trio of Auburn authors write a love letter to their hometown by shining a light on what’s gone” in their book Lost Auburn featured in the Spring 2013 edition of Auburn Magazine – hitting mailboxes February 20.