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Save This Old House?

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September 8, 2006

Cairo --  A house that sheltered two of Cairo's Mayors and stood the test of time could be demolished. It's been abandoned for the last three years. Now, it's an eyesore, and the city wants something done.

A preservation group hopes to be able to save the house.

This old house in Cairo holds more memories than Mabel VanLandingham Kral can talk about. Her grandfather and former Cairo Mayor Robert Lee VanLandingham owned the house, which was built in 1912.

Mabel's mother lived in the home until she was 100. Three years ago the family sold it to Citizen's Bank for their expansion. "This one on the left front was my bedroom," she says. "Because all of us were senior citizens and we're already established in our own homes."

Now the city wants something done. Instead of allowing it to be demolished, Thomasville Landmarks wants to preserve the house and Mabel's memories. "The parlor and the living room across the front, we'd roll up the rugs in those room and turn on the Victrola have a dance. My two older brothers would practice on the three younger sisters," says Mabel.

They've enlisted the help of This Old House magazine. "A gentleman from This Old House in New York has talked with us about it."

The magazine will put the home in their "Save This Old House" section of the December issue. "If someone could love it like we did and feel the warmth and the love and the activity that been in it, that would be great."

In hopes that this home might find a new location and new owners who will love it as much as the VanLandingham's did. Thomasville Landmarks is working to reach a tentative agreement with Citizen's Bank to move the entire house to a new location. They hope to have an agreement in the next several weeks.

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