Former St. Simons Post Office Toppled; Site Will House Coastal Georgia Historical Society's New Heritage Center

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Byline: Terry Dickson, The Times-Union

ST. SIMONS ISLAND -- Any chance the island's former post office had of achieving historic status ended Thursday when a backhoe bucket shattered its plate-glass windows and smashed its brick walls.

The chances were slim anyway for a 40-year-old nondescript building sitting in the shadow of a picturesque, 133-year-old lighthouse.

Members of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society and its fund-raising arm donned hard hats to watch what Merry Tipton called a historic step in the road to a new Heritage Center on the grounds.

The Historical Society took possession of the building in 1998 after the U.S. Postal Service moved its operations to a closed Food Lion grocery, a far more spacious building closer to the center of the barrier island's population.

The Historical Society dubbed the former post office the Heritage Center and tried dressing it up for storage and meeting rooms.

But as Tipton said Thursday, "An unrelentingly leaky roof forced us from the building.''

By the time Joe Robinson, owner of Full Circle Services Inc., the company that is razing the building, got his backhoe/loader into position, the leaky roof already had been torn down by hand. As society members smiled from beneath new hard hats, Robinson directed operator Charlie Yow to do some ceremonial demolition.

After watching Yow knock a huge hole in a wall, Tipton asked, "Are we going to knock down some more and have some fun or what?''

With Pat Morris, executive director of the society, in the operator's seat on the idle tractor, society members gathered for some pictures. Once they were finished, Yow began his work in earnest -- sending nearly half the building to the pavement in about half an hour. …

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