The sheetrock is going up this week at 2213 Chota Road, a house that Jeff and Brandy Welshan and their three children will be calling home.
Living in a much smaller mobile home right next to the house, they can see daily progress as move-in day nears. They will go from 700 square feet to about 1,500. The three-bedroom house has an added mud room and a much-more-open floor plan than the original house they are renovating. Brandy and Jeff designed it for their living needs. But it is a second life for the house, which has sat empty since August, when Roger Tipton passed away. He is the stepdad of Sam Welshan, Jeff’s father. The house was owned by Sam and his brothers, Terry, Brian and Andy, and they have sold it to Jeff. It’s a house they know well.
In fact, Terry, Andy, Sam and Brian Welshan are the first builders of the structure. Way back in 1975, the four brothers and their mom, Mary Lynn, began construction on the house after the boys’ father, Lynn Welshan, passed away.
Terry was 16 at the time, Sam was 10, Andy was 8 and Brian only 6. There was an article that appeared in The Maryville-Alcoa Times (now The Daily Times) on June 13, 1975. There is a photo of Mary Lynn and her four boys with construction supplies in hand.
“My grandfather, Terry and my mother roofed the house,” Sam said. “I carried the shingles. I was only 9 years old so I would carry six shingles on each shoulder and climb the ladder. I didn’t carry them all, but I carried what I could.”
Kagley’s Chapel Baptist Church even held a fundraiser back in 1975 to help Mary Lynn and her boys get their house built. The family completed the house and moved in in 1981, Sam said. The floorplans came from a magazine, the brothers said. Their mother chose it and they got to work to make it happen.
The last people to live at the Chota Road residence were Mary Lynn and her husband, Roger Tipton. Sam said it was Roger’s wish for someone in the family to live there after he was gone.
The next generation
Work on the home’s second life has gone fairly smoothly. There was some termite damage to deal with and the sheetrock was held up. But Jeff said they are in the home stretch now. He said his family will be able to move in by month’s end.
The family acknowledges the help they received then and now. Sam said the Rev. Theodore Dial, a family friend, gave a lot of time and effort into building the 1975 structure. So, too, did the Rev. Clarence Evans. He was the pastor at nearby Kagley’s Chapel Baptist Church, where the Welshan family attended.
The two men have passed away, but Dial’s son, Teddy, has come along to volunteer his services as the home redo gets finished. Back in February, the home was void of furniture and demolition was set to begin.
It was a major undertaking.
“When you came through the door, five weeks ago, it was dirt,” Sam said. “We have come a long way.”
The renovations have included adding a mud room for the washer/dryer, putting in new floors, metal roof, new heat and air system, new wiring and plumbing, an added front porch and deck in the back.
Sam has worked construction his whole life and lives a stone’s throw from the site. He has worked now a second time to get the place ready for a family. First it was for himself, his mom and siblings; now the house is for Jeff and his family.
The grandfather is elated.
“I live right there in that house,” he said. “A short walk for my grandbabies.”
Jeff and Brandy’s children, Wyatt, Carter and Avery, have been at the construction site multiple times since they live right there next to it. Wyatt and Carter have written a “Boys Only” sign above what will be their bedroom.
Sam has written a prayer for Avery that will be placed somewhere in her bedroom. The Welshan brothers all still live in Blount County. Terry is a technician for the city of Maryville, while Andy is a registered gunsmith and does machine work. Brian is employed by United Parcel Service, while Sam is in construction.
Jeff is employed by the Blount County Property Assessor’s Office. He said work has gone relatively unhindered. He expressed how much this means to him and his family.
“For our little family, it will give us a chance to exhale a little bit,” he said. “We have been in tight quarters and praying for more space. This is an answer to prayers.”
The build has been made possible with bank financing and the work of many people, the family explained. Jeff said the old home built back in 1975 by his dad and uncles is getting a new start. Its support system has remained strong.
“Some of those old bones are still there,” Jeff said. “They have been good and strong and will continue to be. We have been able to extend the life. It is a legacy for this family. We are proud but not taking the glory on ourselves. God has made this possible.”