Historic Westville hosts old-fashioned groundbreaking ceremony

Historic Westville hosts old-fashioned groundbreaking ceremony

LUMPKIN, GA (WTVM) - A multi-million dollar move from Lumpkin, GA to Columbus is one step closer to completion.

Administrators with the 1800's living museum, Historic Westville, and city officials broke ground Wednesday at their new site off South Lumpkin Road.

The new location will soon host authentic houses and buildings from the 19th century. Westville's new 35-acre property is still undeveloped, but will see a complete change in the next two years before it reopens.

Parts of the 1800's came to life once again on Wednesday in Columbus.

"I loved the outfits, the dresses the big hoop skirts, the personalities of the people wearing the costumes. They were really nice, and really welcoming. They let me take as many pictures as I wanted," said Josina Greene with the Chattahoochee Valley Community Foundation.

Historic Westville hosted an old-fashioned ground-breaking ceremony filled with mule rides and refreshments to celebrate their new location in the Fountain City.

After low attendance and economic hardships at their old location in Lumpkin Georgia, the museum decided to move. Now, administrators are gearing up to re-open near the National Infantry Museum just outside of Fort Benning.

"They draw 250,000 visitors a year. We are also just south of Oxbow Meadows, it's the environmental center," said Executive Director of Historic Westville, Leo Goodsell.

Columbus tourism officials say the area drew 1.8 million visitors last year, which generated $327 million in revenue. With a new attraction to add to an already bustling community, they expect to see even larger monetary growth.

"The three of us will be great partners and together we'll be able to generate a lot of visitors coming to Columbus, which is great economic development," said Goodsell.

In addition to bringing extra revenue to Columbus, historians are hopeful to get more people engaged in the story of the South. While filled with some troubling periods, they plan to tackle it all head on- from the treatment of Native Americans to slavery.

"We'll tell the story of slavery, we'll tell the story of share-cropping. All of that is part of the 19th-century story and we need to tell that story," said Goodsell.

This new sit is set to reopen in late 2018.

Copyright WTVM 2016. All rights reserved.