Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Readers' Questions on Sweetwater Mansion

The following are questions sent to us by readers. We have attempted to answer each one to the best of our ability...

Q. Isn't Sweetwater tax exempt, or won't it be?
A. It is not and cannot be as long as it is in private hands with no real board of directors. If the owner did use the building as a museum, it could be made tax-exempt under the educational heading. It would not qualify if converted into a bed & breakfast.

Q. How many are/were on the Sweetwater Committee?
A. Besides the director, there were 14 original members of the committee. All but the director and two members have resigned.

Q. Isn't Sweetwater run by some civic club?
A. No. Realtor Martin Dean originally stated local civic and volunteer groups would be involved, but aside from a Jaycee booth during the Sweetwater Ghost Walk tours, no civic group has ever been involved.

Q. How did the current director come into that position?
A. According to a source close to the realtor, the owner was looking for someone to clean and maintain the home at a minimal level. The realtor put owner Susan Leigh Smithson in touch with Cynthia Johnson, who then volunteered to oversee the restoration at no cost using volunteers.

Q. Is the home now secure from further damage?
A. According to several who have been in the house, no. The upstairs and the basement have ongoing water damage and problems with mold.

Q. Is the family cemetery being restored?
A. A former Sweetwater committee member has just registered the family burial ground. She and other volunteers wish to work to restore the cemetery, but it remains to be seen if an arrangement can be worked out with the owner and the director.

Q. Have the director or current/past committee members been harassed or threatened for any reason?
A. If they have, there have been no police reports filed. There have been intruders on the property, most looking for copper wiring or other items which could be easily sold.

Q. Does all money from tours/events go toward restoration?
A. No, our sources say much goes toward the utilities (alarm systems), taxes, and other continuing expenses not involved in restoration.

Q. Is the property still for sale?
A. The property is not now officially on the market, but it obviously could be sold at any time.

Q. Does anyone actually think there's a werewolf at Sweetwater or is that all for show?
A. Sadly, we've been told the director does believe in such creatures and does maintain that one lives at Sweetwater.

There, you have it--everything you've always wanted to know about Sweetwater Mansion; however, with fall fast approaching, we're sure new revelations will surface.


For additional history of Sweetwater: Ripples from Sweetwater Mansion