The three-story brick building at the corner of Amelia and Middleton streets has served many businesses in its long life: Grocery, beauty shop and dentist's office.

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Orangeburg realtor Kenneth Middleton, who bought the building almost two decades ago, is hoping it can be put to use once again.

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"The building has been redesigned (on the interior) by architects and structural engineers at the urgency of the City of Orangeburg, and we worked closely together to get the project up and running," Middleton said. "We intend to stabilize the building. It is going better than expected."

Middleton said the goal is to ultimately expand his offices into the 1,350-square-foot building.

Middleton, who is the president and CEO of the Middleton Companies, has said the building's third floor, has a "rather breathtaking" view of downtown Orangeburg.

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The building could hold about six offices.

Restoration work began in late September and early October.

"It is beginning to take shape," he said. "The framers are now working to stabilize the old walls and re-bricking up the old entry ways. The rooms are starting to take shape. There is quite a ways to go."

Middleton estimates it will take between three to four months for the project to be complete.

Orangeburg's Paragon Builders is the general contractor for the project.

He said the building is being renovated with private money though the city did provide him a $10,000 facade grant but he said he will go beyond just the facade.

"It has been 95 percent redrawn all the way from the foundation," Middleton said.

The building has been the center of legal disputes.

Middleton was first notified by the city in April 2010 about the need to renovate or demolish the building then again in September 2011, according to documents in the Court of Common Pleas.

This building has no roof and some windows are missing.

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The building was inspected by engineers in November 2013 and then again in February 2015, records show.

In June 2015, Middleton was ordered to demolish the building.

In September 2015, Middleton requested three months to have the building meet city codes.

Middleton has argued that he will be able to restore the building and requested more time from the city to do so, according to court documents.

Middleton said the case has been resolved 'a long time ago' with the understanding the building will be brought up to code.

"Getting it up to code has been a challenge," he said.

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According to the Orangeburg County Historical Society, the property was residential and considered the boundary area between the city and outlying areas until about 1900.

Maps of 1884 show single-family dwellings all along the north side of Amelia.

In 1895, the house that sat on the north side of Amelia was listed as a tenement house, as were several other adjacent houses, so they were likely converted to rooming houses around that time.

In 1901 and 1902, the property the building sits on now was sold twice, the second time being to Dr. Daniel Moorer, a black physician/druggist. Moorer was listed as the primary tenant at that location until about 1922.

Moorer built a two-story frame building, which housed his offices until about 1920.

The present brick structure replaced the frame building in about 1921. The brick structure was originally two stories but was rehabbed at some point to three stories, and likely the brick repairs in different bricks come from those changes.

Until the late 1950s, it was common to repair "unseen" areas of a building (parts not in the facade) in a utilitarian manner rather than cosmetic.

The building later housed a grocery, a real estate office and doctor's office until about 1945. In 1947, the Victoria Beauty Shop was the tenant and in 1950, another grocer, Silas Yoakum, was doing business there.

In 1953, it became the office of Dr. Harlowe E. Caldwell, a dentist, and he continued his practice there until about 1985, along with attorney Zach Townsend.

Moorer died in 1941, and the property remained in the Moorer family, being passed to his wife, Alice B. Moorer, and then to his sons and grandsons.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.


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