Christ Church Looks Back: Stuart Hall

Christ Church Looks Back: Stuart Hall
by Joseph A. Tomberlin
Posted April 20, 2013

Joseph Tomberlin

In the Vestry meeting on January 5, 1959, while discussing the recent purchase of the house at 103 East College Street, Fr. Kippenbrock “stressed [the] need to plan [the] use of this building.” At the subsequent session of February 8, 1959, Emma Wainer, one of the Sunday School teachers, presented a “plan and listed things [needed] to convert College St. house into Sunday School.” Vestry’s response was to approve a Jerome Tillman-Tot Amon motion creating a committee “to investigate actual needs and cost to put College St. house into use.” Additionally, the committee was to “check into the possibility and cost of converting . . . [the] present heating plant to natural gas.” Blake Ellis became chairman, with Tot Amon and Noah Fry as the other members.

Mr. Ellis’s committee reported at a called Vestry meeting on February 13, 1959. The recommendation was to use the house for Sunday School for students at the levels of kindergarten and lower school grades. The classes that met there would utilize “the furnishings we have [already], and we will supplement this as we use the property and actual needs become more apparent.” The necessary facts about conversion of the heating system were not yet available. At the same session, other information about 103 East College emerged, especially the point that “the porch roof leaks in many places and must be . . . [re-covered].” Further inspection of the interior had revealed that some plastering also needed to be replaced. Jerome Tillman, the Senior Warden, moved, with second by George Twiggs, that Treasurer Noah Fry “investigate ways to have repair work at 103 East College completed.” What this meant, in effect, was that Mr. Fry had to try to locate money to pay for repairs. In the next few months other complications with the house became apparent. However, with little discretionary money at hand, Vestry could not easily solve the problems.

Consequently, as winter approached and nothing had been done to improve the heating at 103 East College Street, the Minutes of the Vestry meeting of October 9, 1959, stated the obvious: “The heating of College Street house needs looking into.” Vestry resorted to the appointment of another committee to find a way to heat 103 East College properly, given that the previous committee had not succeeded. Marion Tucker chaired the new group, with Roy Newham, Jamie Carroll, and Blake Ellis as members.

In the next meeting, Mr. Tucker stated that the floor furnace at 103 East College could not be converted from oil to natural gas. He estimated that a 65,000 B.T.U. floor furnace would cost $132.00 plus $25.00 to $30.00 for installation. Even with Tucker’s modest estimates of costs for a new heating system, Vestry chose to “postpone action on this for awhile [sic].” However, the issue came up again in the same session, when Fr. Kippenbrock told vestrymen that the “heater for [the] church furnace needs repair and . . . the thermostats need replacing. The Welch Co. will take care of it.” The Rector’s statement about the church furnace led to resumption of the argument about 103 East College and to a new discussion about the Rectory at 115 West North Street. A paragraph in the Minutes of November 9, 1959, declared: “It was brought out that a great deal of work is going to be necessary on the College Street house. It needs a heating system, a lot of work on the porch and a paint job. The interior of the Rectory has not been painted for at least 6 ½ years. Father Kippenbrock has lived there that long.”

Even so, nearly another year passed before Vestry was able to address the evident repair, painting, and heating needs that had emerged in the fall of 1959. New impetus for finding solutions originated with the women of Christ Church. According to the Minutes of a regular Vestry meeting on June 8, 1960:

The ladies felt that a dangerous situation existed. For the safety of the
children the back yard should be fenced, unneeded concrete should be
removed from the play area, unsafe equipment should be removed, and
composition board should be put on the porch ceiling of the College
Street house. They furnished a drawing of how they would suggest this
fence be erected. The drawing is filed with this report. In addition they
mentioned the inadequate heating in this building.

Vestry reacted by approving a Lawrence E. Hendricks motion that was seconded by Senior Warden Omer E. Franklin. The motion declared, “we [will] remove concrete, repair equipment to the extent possible, remove unwanted equipment, and erect . . . [a jungle gym] set.” Further, the “heating problem will be taken care of and after due consideration of the more urgent needs of the Church such as this, painting and necessary maintenance, the fence could be considered.” Vestry’s final statement declared, “Better supervision in the meantime could take care of the safety of the children.”

In the August 15, 1960, Vestry meeting, Mr. Hendricks tried to address the heating situation of 103 East College by recommending the purchase from Sears of “a gas burning closet type heater” at a cost of approximately $350.00 to “install in the College Street house.” Hendricks and James Perryman volunteered to handle the installation. More importantly, however, Mr. Hendricks offered a motion, seconded by Mr. Perryman and unanimously approved, that empowered Senior Warden Omer Franklin “to borrow sufficient funds from C&S Valdosta bank for the purpose of installing heating system in Sunday School [i.e. 103 East College] and repairing Church property. . . .” The amount of money to be borrowed was not specified, but the motion did authorize Mr. Franklin “to take whatever steps . . . [are] necessary to obtain [the] loan, including signing on behalf of the Vestry and Church promissory notes, loan deeds, and any other instruments regarded necessary by said bank to make a new loan or to refinance existing loan.” In addition, Vestry appointed a committee of Blake Ellis, James Perryman, and Lawrence Hendricks that was charged to accept “what they think is the best bid for the furnace for the College Street house.”

Afterward, in the meeting of November 2, 1960, Senior Warden Omer Franklin informed Vestry that he had borrowed $1,250.00 from the local branch of the Citizens and Southern National Bank. He also had refinanced the existing note on 103 East College and had advised the bank that Vestry’s aim was to pay off the refinanced loan at the rate of one hundred dollars per month. Attached to the Minutes of November 2, 1960, was a document listing bills presented to Vestry for approval to pay. Fifth on the list was an item for payment to Davis Air Conditioning Company of $572.00 for a heating system for 103 East College Street. Additionally, on a James Perryman motion, seconded by James Garvin and approved by Vestry, Mr. Ellis was “authorized to accept bids to repair ceiling of porch on College Street house, repair ceiling in one of the back rooms of this house, and paint the outside of the Church, Parish Hall, Sunday School [Annex], and College Street house. He has up to $678.00 and is requested to do what he can with it.”

Finally, there is this last item from the Vestry Minutes of December 19, 1960: “We agreed to call the house at 103 East College ‘Stuart Hall.’ The Sunday School rooms located [in the Annex] behind the Parish Hall ‘Barnwell Hall.’”