Christ Church Looks Back: Purchase of the Building at 103 East College Street

Christ Church Looks Back: Purchase of the Building at 103 East College Street
by Joseph A. Tomberlin
Posted March 18, 2013

Joseph Tomberlin

At the end of March’s article, Jamie Carroll and Marion Tucker reported to a called Vestry meeting on September 29, 1958, about their recent conference with the Valdosta zoning committee concerning the feasibility of new construction at Christ Church. Immediately afterward, they also pointed out that “the house and lot adjoining the church property” were available at the price of $12,500.00. The house was at 103 East College, and Mr. Carroll had informed Vestry of its being on the market at $13,500.00 four months earlier, during the session on May 12, 1958. This time, after lengthy debate, vestrymen approved a Courtney Ritsch-George Twiggs motion to acquire the property at the lower price of $12,500.00. Fr. Kippenbrock added that he would telephone Bishop Albert R. Stuart the following day “to see if he has any funds available at this time.” Vestry also endorsed the creation of a committee including Jamie Carroll, Marion Tucker, and Glen Robinson to “secure an option on this property and make [an] effort to raise the money.” As the minutes observed, “The owner, Mr. Mac Odom [,] wants cash.”

Obviously, the committee contacted Odom quickly, because only five days later, he wrote a letter addressed directly to Jamie Carroll and Marion Tucker, confirming their “conversations, in which I agreed to sell to Christ Episcopal Church of Valdosta the house at 103 East College Street, Valdosta, Georgia[,] for $12,500.00.” He listed certain items, namely a fuel oil stand and tank, two natural gas heaters, and a porch swing, that would remain in his possession. And, in closing, Odom stated that his offer to sell his home would “stand open until December 1, 1958.”

Mac Odom’s stipulation noted in the preceding sentence appears to have been flexible because Christ Church did not act on his offer until after December 1, 1958. Meanwhile, Christ Church did not receive any encouragement from Bishop Stuart about the Diocese of Georgia providing any money for the proposed acquisition. Fr. Kippenbrock also made an inquiry to the Episcopal Church Foundation about a possible loan, but the response from that organization was unpromising also. Consequently, Mr. Carroll went to the local Citizens and Southern National Bank about a loan and at the Annual Parish Meeting on December 3, 1958, related what had happened.

The Minutes of the Annual Meeting noted that Mr. Carroll “explained that arrangements have been made whereby we can secure $10,000.00 from C & S Bank here to purchase house [103 East College Street] in rear of Church.” He read to the group either an updated version of Mac Odom’s original letter of October 4, 1958, or a new letter from Mr. Odom that is not in Vestry records “giving us the option to purchase this property for $12,500.00 until Jan. 1, 1959.” The terms of the proposed loan were “5 ½ per cent interest for five years with monthly payments of $191.50 or for seven years with monthly payments of $143.56.” Tot Amon, with second by David Kippenbrock, moved that Christ Church take the loan and buy the Odom property, with “the period of the loan to be determined by the Vestry.” The meeting’s minutes do not record that parishioners approved the Amon-Kippenbrock motion, but presumably they did, because Vestry proceeded with carrying out the transaction.

At the Vestry’s regular session on December 3, 1958, Jamie Carroll asserted that Christ Church should go ahead with the acquisition of 103 East College and do so before the end of the year 1958 “to avoid the payment of about $250.00 in taxes.” He reminded vestrymen of what had occurred already, to be precise, the provisions for a $10,000.00 loan from C & S Bank at 5 ½ percent interest for either five or seven years. He recommended the possibility of borrowing also from Christ Church’s Organ Fund and thereby “draw $2,500.00 from church accounts to make [the] down payment.” He also suggested that “both the new house and the rectory [115 West North Street] would be used as security on the loan.” The final note was that “[Marion] Tucker will accept responsibility for carrying through with the transaction.”

Jerome Tillman, the Senior Warden, made a motion, seconded by George Twiggs, to put Mr. Carroll’s report into effect. In concrete terms, the Vestry would pass a resolution authorizing Mr. Tillman and Mr. Twiggs, Senior Warden and Secretary, to “execute a note to C & S Bank of Valdosta in the amount of $10,000.00 to apply on purchase of the property at 103 E. College St. and that they are hereby authorized to pledge as security to this bank this property and house and lot at 115 W. North St.” The motion received approval, as did a following Blake Ellis-Noah Fry motion that empowered Mr. Fry, as Treasurer, “to borrow from the organ fund for this purchase. The motion also stipulated that this amount, i.e. $2,500.00, “to be paid by other funds by Feb. 1st [1959].”

Vestry Secretary Twiggs prepared on December 8, 1958, a letter to the Citizens and Southern National Bank of Valdosta displaying the resolution that permitted the Senior Warden and the Treasurer to borrow ten thousand dollars for buying 103 East College Street. Otherwise, Vestry records contain no information about the matter until after the fact, that is, until the Vestry meeting of January 5, 1959. When, in that session, Secretary George Twiggs was asked “for details about transaction for College Street property,” some interesting information emerged. As the Minutes relate, “Because Valdosta property has never been deeded from the Diocese to Christ Church none be used as security with local authority. . . .” The consequence of lack of security for the loan was that Jamie Carroll personally “signed an open note for $10,000.00 at 5 ½%.” The Carroll note was “for three years, payable quarterly with first payment due April 1 [1959].” The final comment was that “Mr. [Omer] Franklin [a Christ Church communicant and an attorney] has written requesting that the Valdosta property be transferred into Christ Church name.”

More to come in the May 2013 Vineyard.