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HES prepares for May 5 tour of restored homes
Susie W.  Ijon Webb Memas House
Above is Memas House on Mock Road, owned by Susie M. and Ijon Webb. - photo by Photo provided

Historic Effingham Society will host a "Tour of Restored Country Homes" on May 5. Historic Effingham Society will have its spring picnic meeting at 12 noon in "The Hut" adjacent to Effingham Museum. Please bring a side dish or dessert for the meal. For further information about the luncheon, contact the Effingham Museum at 754-2170.

You may get advance tickets for the tour at the Museum at 1002 N. Pine St. in Springfield, attend the lunch and meeting May 5 and purchase tickets or pay when joining the group at Effingham Museum at 2 p.m. for the tour. Tickets are $10 per person. The homes are all located on Mock Road and Stillwell Road near Springfield.

"Mema’s House" on Mock Road is owned by Ijon and Susie (Mock) Webb. It is the restored country home place of her late grandparents Lamar and Carrie (Bazemore) Mock. Beautifully restored by Eddie Browning, who has done many historical restorations in the area, including the buildings on the Effingham Living History Site, it is a typical farmhouse. It has outbuildings including the chicken house and cook house. Susie’s grandparents were natives of Screven County, and her grandfather Lamar is fondly remembered as a local barber in Springfield.

They established their home in the house in 1938, having purchased the farm from the estate of Harry Lancaster. At that time there were two dirt path roads crossing the property, different from the current Mock Road access today, explaining why the house is situated not facing the present roadway.

After the Mocks passed away, Susie’s father Cornell Mock purchased his sisters’ interests in the home and later sold it to his daughter and son-in-law Ijon Webb. The restoration was completed in 2010 and is a sentimental gathering place for family events and fellowship.

It is like stepping back in time on a typical farm when you visit this place. You can almost hear the milk hitting the bucket as Mema milked the cow and the sounds of clucking hens as the smell of biscuits baking in the oven draws you toward the kitchen.

The next house on tour is the home of the late I. Thomas and Hazel (Dean) Webb, which was completed in 1948. This home is now the residence of his daughter Linda (Webb) and husband Tom Hodgson, who moved there in 2011 following an extensive renovation.

Lominack, Kolman and Smith, known for historical architecture, were contracted for the work on the home. Linda inherited the home. This house has historical significance for being constructed of concrete blocks, or concrete bricks as some describe them, manufactured in Springfield.

Concrete Builders Supply in Springfield was owned by Linda’s grandfather Ijon Piglath Webb and his sons Henry and Tom (Linda’s father). The blocks were made at the plant located just behind the current City Hall along the railroad in Springfield. The blocks were of a nonstandard size, 3x4x16 inches. Some were hollow and some were solid. The entire home was built of the blocks and covered inside in plaster.

There was a very large cedar tree in the front yard that had to be taken down, and lumber from this tree was incorporated into the restoration. The exterior, pantry, fireplace mantel and bookcases contain wood from the old cedar. The doors and knobs are original. Hazel Webb had many unusual plants and some remain including a mulberry tree and unique crepe myrtles.

The cute two-story house on the corner of Stillwell and Longbridge roads along the railroad in Stillwell was built about 1907. It was the home of Paul and Madge (Mingledorff) Wilson. Paul operated a business in Stillwell.

It was purchased in 2006 by Heather and Joey Smith and won the 2010 Historic Effingham Award for Historical Preservation. Joey did the restoration, and the house was taken back to the original pine walls inside. There are a few unique features including an area of floor, left as a conversation piece, which illustrates fire damage to a portion of the house in the living area.

The couple has brought out the beauty in the home by refinishing the pine flooring and old wooden walls. It is a three-bedroom house and only one wall in the kitchen area has been removed from the original plan. Ask Joey about finding that the steps to the second floor were reversed to discover a quirky story about Paul Wilson. A very old letter was found behind the mantel between the wall and the fireplace and this framed document will be displayed on the tour.

Joey also rescued a 1700s house that was scheduled to be burned, from its original location on Goshen Road near Rincon. The house of mortise and peg construction, known as the Pittman House, was taken apart and moved and has been skillfully reconstructed. The old pine building is quite remarkable sitting at an angle beside the Smith home on their property.

Local World War II veteran James Sapp of Rincon tells us that his wife, the late Mary (Wendelken) Sapp, was reared in this house after her mother died during Mary’s childhood.

Further toward Clyo is the former home of Corley S. and Elizabeth (Enecks) Rahn at the intersection of Indigo, Bethany and Stillwell Roads. It was a painted wood frame home with a tin roof and now it has white vinyl siding with a red metal roof. This home was built about 1939 and has inviting wide porches.

Built by Corley himself with no real blueprint design, as was the custom of the times, he utilized local carpenters, plumbers and neighborhood people to build the house. The home was left to their daughters Joan (Rahn) Kessler and Carleen (Rahn) Fillingim.

Joan had purchased the home from her sister but did not live in it. Later on, Carleen desired a residence here and bought it back from Joan. She and husband, Dr. David W. "Bill" Fillingim, renovated it a few years ago.

Duane Deal was the local builder/craftsman who restored the farm house. Corley Rahn, Carleen’s father, loved to have company on his veranda and his favorite pastime was talking and sharing tales with visitors, especially on Sunday afternoon. His wife’s delicious cake and homemade ice cream were served often to summer guests. This beautiful Southern house now has a wonderful modern kitchen that lends itself to entertaining. Carleen, a wonderful cook and baker, enjoys hosting family and friends at gatherings in this house. The blending of old and new has a welcoming feeling and the yard is filled with seasonal flowers and beautiful shrubbery. She is adding a plant house currently to the lovely landscape. This house is truly southern living style blending then and now and beckons the visitor to come inside and visit for a while.

Rarely does Effingham have a chance to view these restored homes, so take advantage of the opportunity and join us May 5 and see how country folks lived in the past and the present.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: