Carl Mandina has made it his life’s work to breathe new life into old buildings. When he saw the historic Henry Moyle building at 6th and State street in downtown Augusta was going up for auction he knew what his next project would be.
“It needed someone to buy it who could bring it back to where it was when it was built,” said Mandina. “It will be nice when it does come up on one hundred years if it is back in its original condition.”
Henry Moyle and his son John started constructing the Moyle building in 1916 and it was completed in 1918. It originally had five floors and the only elevator in town.
“In 1924 a tornado hit Augusta and severely damaged the building,” said Rachelle Meinecke, Director of the Augusta Historical Museum. “It was decided to just remove the top two stories.”
“That elevator is still in great working condition,” said Mandina. “It goes to all floors and the basement.”
Over the years the Moyle building has housed many businesses, offices and apartments, including the Moyle Oil Company. Meinecke says the Moyle family was integral to the history and growth of Augusta.
“John, in particular, left money to the city for the purpose of securing industries or manufacturing institutions or the general betterment of the city,” said Meinecke. “He also donated land for the swimming pool, golf course and baseball field.”
Shirley Wiles bought the building in the early 80’s. Simpson Furniture was located on the street level and Wiles rented out the 19 apartments on the upper floors. But that changed in 1995 when she opened the Pigeon’s Roost Antique Mall.
“It was purely accidental. I had a furniture refinishing business up on Ohio called Shirley’s Decorating,” said Wiles. “I was just going to use the space in this building to display my furniture.”
Wiles says that people started asking her right away if she planned on renting out space and by the time she opened, she had 16 dealers. While she has now given over ownership of the building to Mandina, the Pigeon’s Roost will remain open, right where it is. Mandina says he has already signed the lease.
“We are going to be able to save the antique mall to keep a business in downtown Augusta,” said Mandina. “I am going to do what I can to make sure that mall is a really popular spot.”
Mandina says he knows that refurbishing the building is going to take a lot of work and expects it to be about a two year project. He has a website where he will post pictures of his progress on a regular basis, www.mandinainvestments.com. He says some of his first priorities will be to replace the windows, many of which are currently boarded over. He also plans to replace the heating and air conditioning as soon as possible.
Meinecke says she is just glad to know the new owners of the Moyle building plan to renovate and restore the building to keep its historical integrity.
“It's nice to see the legacy preserved” said Meinecke. “Historic buildings bring a certain character and charm to a community and also bridge a connection to its past.”