Preservationists Tried For Years To Help Nineteenth Century Club

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(Memphis) June West, executive director of Memphis Heritage, says for years the organization reached out to the mansion's owners to offer help.

"Quite frankly this is the very last mansion on Union Avenue that resembles itself when it was built," West said. "If an owner of a property is not willing to help themselves, its very difficult for us to come in. We aren't the rescuers. We are the educators and advocators."

The chance to help came recently when four members of the Nineteenth Century Club filed a lawsuit claiming the sale of the building was invalid.

A temporary restraining order to stop the demolition was issued after mansion supporters came up with $55,000.

"We had amazing outpouring from local businessmen," West said. "Everything from $10 to $16,000."

There's another condition to the restraining order.

The club donated part of the money from the sale to the Children's Museum in Memphis.

They now have to freeze $435,000 received from the sale, or the demolition restraining order will be lifted.

Attorney Steve Mulroy says it may take a few weeks to sort out the sale.

If a judge decides the sale is invalid, there are two buyers waiting to make an offer.

Both agreed to preserve the building.

"At the end of the day Memphis  is losing its historic treasures one by one," Mulroy said. "We don't need anymore strip malls. We do need to preserve our historic treasures."


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