'This is home,' Families Visit Gonzales Gardens One Last Time

One of the nation's oldest public apartments that's here in Columbia will be demolished next week but some families are taking a final look at the buildings.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - One of the nation's oldest public apartments that's here in Columbia will be demolished next week but some families are taking a final look at the buildings.

The complex has been standing since 1939 when it used to be a housing place for non-commissioned officers and their families that were stationed at Fort Jackson.

After 64 years, Gonzales Gardens Apartment Complex is being demolished next Wednesday and some folks decided to make their way back one final time.

Bonnie Mckelvey and Frank Shealy are brother and sister and lived here from 1949 to 1953.

"It's still hard for me to think in terms of being two or three years old standing in this little sink having my hair washed," said Shealy.

“We lived here as very small children. It was a lot of fun. Have a lot of memories here. It was a very respectable place to live,” said Mckelvey.

Ray Wilson used to live at Gonzales Gardens back in the 1960s. Friday he and his wife, Ranae, wanted to check out the complex.

"We were driving by and we saw the balloons that said that final goodbye to Gonzales Gardens. My husband wanted to stop and see where he grew up at. "He has so many memories here playing football and of running up and down this grass."" said Ranae Wilson.

“Man, it feels good you know. It’s me," said Ray Wilson.

Mckelvey says seeing it in person for the last time makes all the memories flood back.

"You don't realize how much you do remember until you come back where you can actually physically touch things and see things that you experienced as a young child," said Mckelvey.

The buildings may not stand but the memories made in them will last forever.

"Everything deteriorates over time, including me. I'm deteriorating. This will be a good thing,” laughed Shealy.

Gonzales Gardens will start being demolished on Wednesday, October 4th. A new apartment complex is expected to be built in the same place.

If you want to check out the Gonzales Gardens one last time, you can walk through on Saturday, September 30th from 10 am until 2 pm.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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