Historic Westville Announces Plans to Move to Columbus, Georgia

Dec 2, 2015

For Immediate Release


Media Contact:

Name: Leo Goodsell, Executive Director

Phone: (706) 580-6938


Name: Darby Britto, Public Relations Director

Phone: (229) 838-6310



Historic Westville Announces Plans to Move to Columbus, Georgia



December 1, 2015:  Historic Westville leaders have announced that it is engaged in a $7 million capital campaign to fund the move of the historic village to Columbus, Georgia, opening a new chapter in Historic Westville's history.  Fundraising progress is strong, with nearly three-quarters of the funds to meet the campaign goal has been gifted or pledged.


"We are fortunate to have the support of Mayor Teresa Tomlinson as well as the city of Columbus, along with a warm welcome from the Columbus community," Leo Goodsell, executive director of Historic Westville, said.  "We have received a tremendous $2.5 million challenge grant from an anonymous donor."


The city of Columbus has provided a 47-acre site in south Columbus near the National Infantry Museum and Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center.  The relocation is part of an overall reimagining of the historic village. While Historic Westville had been focused on the 1850s, it will broaden its interpretation to encompass the entire 19th century in order to address topics crucial to our understanding of southern culture today.


A bold new interpretative plan drives the master site plan, which includes four major interpretive areas: Town Center, Rural, Frontier Settlement, and Creek Indian.  At the center of each interpretive area are iconic Westville buildings such as the 1854 Chattahoochee County Courthouse, donated to the village by the county in 1975 when a new courthouse was being constructed.  Savannah Grandey, Historic Westville's director of interpretation, said, "We are looking forward to embracing different perspectives and stimulating meaningful conversations about the past."


Moving the village's 30 historic structures and the collection of more than 5,000 artifacts makes up nearly half the project's estimated cost.  Other major project components are preparation of the new site, interpretative planning and implementation, and funds to supplement the first year operating costs and increase the endowment.  


Historic Westville has been working on the planning details for well over a year.  "We have assembled a great team of professionals, all working together to complete the project within budget, in the least amount of time possible, and above all, while protecting our buildings and artifacts," Goodsell said.


Historic Westville will continue programs at its current site in Lumpkin through December 26, 2015. After that time, Westville will be closed to the public so it may continue its work for the move to Columbus.  "I am excited about the progress we have made and look forward to our getting relocated to Columbus and beginning the next era for Westville," said Jim Laycock, Historic Westville board chair. 


During this interim period, Historic Westville will make educational outreach programs available to school classrooms and will also partner with local institutions and attractions on programs and events to which it can offer a unique contribution.


Historic Westville appreciates the support of the community for more than four decades and looks forward to continued support as it moves forward with its plans for the future. Project updates and special events will be available through Historic Westville's Facebook page and website at http://www.westville.org.



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