Florence Historical Commission looks to stop City of Florence from demolishing historic house

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Florence Historical Commission wants to stop the City of Florence from demolishing a historical building.

The Sulzbacher House sits on the corner of East Pine Street and Gaillard Street near downtown Florence.

Secretary of Florence City County Historical Commission, Mark Buyck, told News13 the City of Florence bought the property earlier this year, but the commission recently found out the city’s plan to tear it down.

“Once it’s gone it’s gone, there’s no going back and undoing a demolition,” Buyck. “If it is demolished it will be gone forever, and there will be no reconstructing it.”

Buyck said the Florence Historical Commission has 60 days to appeal the demolition, but that 60 days has already passed. He said the commission has asked the city for a 60 day extension.

“All we can do is delay the issuance of the demolition permit for 60 days if we find that a house is historically significant,” he said.

The Sulzbacher house was built in the early 1900’s, and is more than 100-years-old.

Buyck said the Sulzbacher family was well-known in Florence.

“The first Mr. Sulzbachar was an advocate for Florence County,” explained Buyck. “He was on the original committee of 50 which promoted the creation of Florence County from Darlington and Marion Counties,” he continued. “His son was also very active in early political affairs in Florence. He was on the city council, and he was very instrumental in the creation of the parks system here in Florence, including Timrod Park.”

Buyck said members of the family were jewelers, and clock-makers.

“They were in charge of the city clock that was on town hall, and they were also the official time-keepers for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad,” he said.

The house is now boarded up, and has trees growing off of it, but Buyck said he hope the City will renovate the building rather than destroy it.

“We urge the city to consider and adaptive re-use of the house with as housing, or possible as a community center,” Buyck said.

Yolanda Dixon and her family have lived in Florence for four generations, and said the house is a staple in their neighborhood.

“I want to keep it like a time capsule, like you used to do when you were in school,” Dixon said. “It’s always good to have a piece of historical artifacts in the neighborhood, anywhere, just so you can have something to study.”

Dixon said it’s important to have meaningful pieces of history in today’s society.

“I think it would be sad, you know? I mean everybody deserves to keep a piece of their history, especially with the way times are progressing now,” she told News13.

Buyck said the Sulzbacher family was one of the first Jewish families to come to Florence.

“They were instrumental in creation of the temple,” he said. “They were German immigrants.”

Buyck said the commission is waiting to hear back from the City of Florence about the extension.
“This is a unique, historical structure here in Florence,” said Buyck. “Not only the structure, but the family who lived there, and if it is demolished it will be gone forever, and there will be no reconstructing it, you cannot bring it back.”

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