CUMMING, Ga. – Three generations of James Wheeler’s family were sheltered by a farmhouse built by his grandfather about 80 years ago.
Now, there’s only red dirt, weeds and scattered debris where the farmhouse once stood because a bulldozer driver accidentally razed the house for a new subdivision.
“It can never be replaced,” said Wheeler, a 57-year-old accountant in Cumming. “My grandfather built that house in the 1920s. My mother was raised in that house. My grandfather made the cabinets. I didn’t expect to lose those.”
Dallas-based Centex Homes moved or demolished about 10 structures on the 83 acres around Wheeler’s 22-acre plot to make room for about 335 homes.
“It was an unfortunate accident,” said Jay Thrower, Centex’s senior vice president. “Our property was next to his piece of property.”
After Wheeler’s grandparents died, the house went to his mother. She moved into a retirement apartment three years ago, and the house had been vacant since. Wheeler said he checked on it about once a month, the last time in mid-June.
Wheeler said money could not make up for his loss.
“I remember helping my grandfather kill hogs there,” he said. “We salted them and hung them in there.”
He said he was stunned when his sister, Janice Chumley, called in late July to say the family farmhouse had disappeared. He went to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office investigated, decided it was an accident and, therefore, a civil matter.
Thrower said the company’s “number one concern is trying to make it right for him.”