The Georgia Department of Transportation is moving to purchase and preserve the boyhood home of rock n' roll pioneer "Little Richard" Penniman in Macon, one of dozens of properties GDOT is buying up to make way for the widening of Interstate 75.
The modest two-bedroom house is not in the path of the expanded highway, but it's been on the state's radar for years. Pleasant Hill was literally cut in half by the interstate in the 1960s, and now GDOT plans to spend $10 million fixing up the neighborhood it split. Part of that is offering to buy the old Penniman house and moving it about four blocks to the other side of I-75.
The 1920 home is now a rental property and could use some work. Current owner Andre Coquerel is expecting to get an offer from GDOT within a few weeks.
"They plan to move it to a park and convert it into some sort of community center or museum for people to remember Little Richard," Coquerel said.
Coquerel had no idea of the home’s historic value when he acquired it as an investment in 2006. "When I made the offer and I was buying it I didn’t know until we were at the closing table. That’s when the seller mentioned it to me," he said.
If GDOT does buy the house, it would be moved by early 2014.