It began with a one-line email from a viewer, "Look at 205-207 South Main Street, Winchester." One look seemed to say it all about the massive historic home now in a state of slow demolition, but things aren't always what they seem. "It's kind of sad that anybody would think it's an eyesore" said Molly Stotts, who sees the structure every time she goes to the nearby farmer's market, "because they tried really hard to be able to fix it up."
Locals will tell you about the famous Guerrant Clinic that saved countless lives in the first part of the last century. Part of it became the Bluegrass Heritage Museum, but the Guerrant family's efforts to save all of it fell short. "I'm sad for the family and the community," Stotts said.
The family of Dr. Edward Guerrant, who founded the clinic in the 1920s, brought together architects and other experts to see what it would take to save the site. The study produced a 175-page report and a $1.3 million price tag. "$1,300,000 chops us off right at the ankles," Dr. Guerrant's grandson, Wallace Guerrant said.
The heir to the grant property says no one is as heartbroken as he is to lose the building, but for those who call it an eyesore… "Either be patient or go ahead and give us $1,300,000 and we'll put it back," Wallace Guerrant said laughing.
Although he couldn't afford to restore it all, Wallace Guerrant has spent thousands of dollars to bring down the building brick by brick with plans for a tribute site. "Anything that we saw that we felt like that we could salvage and make good use of it, we did."
Beneath the old nurse's station that is now a bed and breakfast, Guerrant has carefully preserved pieces of his family history. "It was a miracle that we got this one just coming down perfectly fine," Guerrant said of a capital from one of the original columns, "We just about whooped and hollered that we could salvage that.
The plan includes restoration of seven original columns and a walkway made from the original white bricks. Guerrant hopes the public space can host special events and performances. "Sure go right ahead," Guerrant said, "We'll keep up with the property, and you come right on up, and we'd love for you to."
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